Souhan: A look at Twins in spring training before games fool everyone

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 28, 2014 - 12:47 AM
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Twins pitcher ran sprints after practice Thursday Feb 20. 2014 in Fort Myers, Florida at Lee County Sports Complex.

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– The Twins begin playing spring training games Friday, which means that we should stop paying attention to everything that happens from now until the regular season begins.

Remember, the Twins came out of spring training last year with Aaron Hicks as their hottest hitter, and Vance Worley as their Opening Day starter, so we might as well make our judgments today, before our minds are cluttered by a month of meaningless games.

So let’s make our judgments now, before we get fooled again. Here are my answers to the questions most frequently asked about the Twins:

 

Q: When will the Twins’ top prospects make it to the big leagues?

A: The short answer is that once a top prospect conquers Class AA he is, as Twins VP Rob Antony said, “a phone call away.”

Byron Buxton is 20 and has never played above Class A. He’ll probably start the year at Class AA. If he excels, he could be called up later this season, but the goal is for him to be the Twins’ starting center fielder in 2015. Buxton has followed the same career arc as Angels star Mike Trout.

Remember: Trout struggled when first called up, before becoming the best all-around player in the game during his rookie season.

If Miguel Sano takes better at-bats at Class AA and handles third base well, he could be in the majors by midsummer. If top pitching prospect Alex Meyer pitches well at the beginning of the season he could be the first starting pitcher called up.

 

Q: Does Kennys Vargas really look like David Ortiz?

A: They’re hardly twins, but Vargas has a similar build and similar raw power. Vargas hits the ball a long way from both sides of the plate. Once a project, he now is a prospect, after hitting 19 homers in 520 at-bats last year at Class A.

 

Q: After winning 66 games last year, can the Twins win this year?

A: It would be difficult for them to contend, but they could threaten .500. Look at it this way: Their Class AAA rotation this year could be better than their major-league rotation was last year.

Adding Ricky Nolasco, Phil Hughes and eventually Meyer will give them a dramatic upgrade over last year when they tried out Worley, Cole DeVries, Liam Hendricks, Andrew Albers and Pedro Hernandez.

 

Q: Any sleepers in camp?

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