RandBall: Five pleasant Twins surprises

  • Blog Post by: Michael Rand
  • June 4, 2013 - 9:26 AM

With the Twins at the one-third mark in their season, here's a look at five pleasant surprises so far during an up-and-down year:

1) Chris Parmelee’s defense: La Velle wrote about this in today’s paper, but Parmelee’s play in right field certainly qualifies as a pleasant surprise. While acknowledging his range is limited, it is also important to point out how – as La Velle does – how well he plays balls off the wall, which has contributed to his five outfield assists. He’s not a Gold Glove threat, but Parmelee is far from being a liability out there, which is what many people envisioned.

2) Kevin Correia: Our dad compared Correia to Carl Pavano recently. This was shortly after singing the praises of Nick Punto, so we were a bit distracted. But yes, so far, Correia is at least filling the Pavano role: eating innings and generally giving the Twins a chance to win. He has gone at least seven innings in six of his 11 starts, while getting in at least six innings in two more starts. While he has regressed since his hot April, Correia is still on pace for 200-plus innings and to fulfill his role in the rotation.

3) The bullpen: Twins relievers have a combined 2.87 ERA despite often being asked to get more outs than they should have to get in games due to the failures of starting pitchers. Time will tell if the unit, as a whole, can keep it up. For now, though, it is definitely a bright spot.

4) Middle infield stability. Brian Dozier (2B) and Pedro Florimon (SS) are both on pace to start roughly 125 games this season at those positions. If they both at least reach the century mark, it will mark the first time since 2003 that the Twins had one second baseman AND one shortstop each start 100 games in a season (which is really ludicrous). In many cases, the Twins didn’t have a 100-game starter at either position. Luis Rivas and Cristian Guzman were the tandem in 2003; in fact, all four infielders (Corey Koskie and Doug Mientkiewicz were the others) started at least 130 games that year. Dozier and Florimon aren't All-Stars, but stability is crucial to infield defense and is part of the reason Minnesota has made just 22 errors this season.

5) Aaron Hicks’ power. Let’s pretend the month of April never happened. Hicks certainly wishes that were true because in that month he was pressing, slumping, whatever you want to call it. He was a mess at the plate. Since May 1, his .216 batting average isn’t lighting the world on fire, either, but some of the numbers inside of it at least hint at the player he could become. He has six homers and 13 total extra base hits in that span, numbers that would project over the course of a 162-game season to 34 dingers and 74 extra base hits. For a guy whose minor league-high in home runs was 13 last season at Class AA, he has shown more power than we could have imagined.

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