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First Quarter Look at the Twins

In the aftermath of a stunning three-game sweep of the Minnesota by the upstart Toronto Blue Jays, several reporters took the time to size up the Twins’ performance this season, now officially one-fourth over.

Errant base running in the final game of the Toronto series eventually cost the Twins, losers by a 3-2 score in the 11th inning. The Twins finished the first quarter with a 20-20 record, no particular surprise.

It is then with 20-20 hindsight that we analyze the Twins, a team that apparently is destined to abandon the long ball and score runs through a combination of walks, stolen bases, sacrifices, and duck snorts.

Minnesota humorist Garrison Keillor enjoys the nation that the state’s children are “above average,” even though we know today that this isn’t so. Nevertheless, it’s interesting to look at individual members of the 2008 Twins’roster through with Keillor’s standards in mind. In other words, there are the “above average,” the “average,” and the “below average.”

Above Average
Joe Nathan. Money pitcher. Best closer in baseball.
Joe Mauer. Ironman.
Justin Morneau. Kent Hrbek minus the weight problem.
Carlos Gomez. Carlos the Jackal, faster than a speeding gazelle.
Livan Hernandez. Crafty Cuban cat.
The quartet of Dennys Reyes, Matt Guerrier, Juan Rincon, and Jesse Crain. Great niche pitchers when properly used.

Michael Cuddyer. Good old Cuddie, always a gamer, never an all-star.
Delmon Young. A riddle wrapped in a mystery wrapped in an enigma.
Mike Redmond. Old reliable. Loyal as the faithful family dog.
Craig Monroe. A streamlined Rondell White.
Glen Perkins. It never hurts to be left-handed. Jury is out on starter status.

Below Average
Jason Kubel. 2008 version of Mathew LeCroy.
Brendan Harris. Can’t be counted on to turn double play.
Adam Everett. Weighs 210. Will he hit his weight?
Mike Lamb. At third base, Twins need a lion, not a Lamb.
Boof Bonser. Boof-ta.
The trio of Scott Baker, Nick Blackburn, and Kevin Slowey. Maybe a quality start here and there among them.
Pat Neshek. Masterful, then his arm fell off.
The trio of Nick Punto, Matt Tolbert, and Brian Buscher. Not everyday players here. Maybe in Pittsburgh.
Bobby Korecky. With any luck, he could be another Jesse Crain.
Brian Bass. Just along for the ride.

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