Jim Souhan analyzes the local sports scene and advises you to never take his betting advice. He likes old guitars and old music, never eats press box hot dogs, and can be heard on 1500ESPN at 2:05 p.m. weekdays, and Sundays from 10 a.m.-noon.
Find him on Twitter
A few observations now that I've been in Twins' camp for about a week:
-Don't believe anybody who tells you Aaron Hicks won't be the Twins' centerfielder on opening day. He's taking excellent at-bats and playing centerfield better than Denard Span ever did. He's a lock, if healthy. Joe Benson remains raw and needs to prove himself for a long stretch in the minors before he'll be considered a big-leaguer, and Darin Mastroianni is, was and ever shall be an extra outfielder.
-The pitching staff is in big trouble. Mike Pelfrey is coming back from Tommy John surgery and may struggle with command, at least early in the season. Vance Worley should be a solid starter but isn't going to improve the rotation all by himself. Scott Diamond is a fine pitcher but might not be ready until mid-April. Liam Hendriks has not impressed. Sam Deduno is talented but inefficient. Cole De Vries will open the season as the team's fourth starter simply because he has guts and knows how to execute a game plan.
The bullpen has two guys you want to see with the ball in their hands: Glen Perkins and Jared Burton. Everyone else is either unproven or having a lousy spring.
-The middle of the order could be outstanding. Joe Mauer looks as locked in as I've ever seen him at this juncture of spring training. Justin Morneau is as healthy and optimistic as I've seen him since mid-2010. Josh Willingham is an excellent slugger in his prime. If Hicks and the to-be-determined No. 2 hitter can get on base, this team could score plenty of runs.
-The team's fielding has a chance to be better than last year. Pedro Florimon has excellent range and plenty of arm, and he looks more composed than he did last year, when he made some careless errors. Brian Dozier is playing second base like he has something to prove. Eduardo Escobar is a very good fielder at several positions. Hicks is better than Span in center. He may not quite have Ben Revere's range, but he has 10 times the arm.
Having Morneau's glove at first base should help, too.
-Great to see Doug Mientkiewicz on the back fields, managing Class A Fort Myers. One of the best people I ever covered. I'll have a feature on Doug in the Sunday paper.
-Miguel Sano could be the Twins' starting third baseman on Opening Day, 2014. His bat is already big-league ready. He just needs to work on his footwork at third so he can be serviceable there.
Sano seems like a very affable kid, and he knows how to hit. Mientkiewicz said he already has a big-leaguer's approach and mentality when he steps in the box.
I'll be on Sunday Sports Talk on 1500ESPN from 10-noon on Sunday. My Twitter handle is @Souhanstrib
|Professional baseball (149)||Vikings (203)|
|Gopher coaches (48)||Gopher quarterbacks (13)|
|Gopher recruiting (2)||Gopher road games (3)|
|Gophers disciplinary action (2)||Gophers recruiting (2)|
|Gophers spring football (4)||TCF Bank Stadium (22)|
|The Big 10 (25)||NCAA: football (14)|
|Gophers coaches (60)||Gophers players (39)|
|Tubby Smith (38)||Williams Arena (16)|
|Gophers post season (6)||Gophers roster moves (4)|
|Golf (29)||Soccer (4)|
|Twins news (38)||WNBA (7)|
|Wild news (31)||AFC (9)|
|Bears (24)||Ex-Vikings (15)|
|Football on TV (77)||Lions (17)|
|NFC (69)||NFL draft (27)|
|NFL post-season (30)||Packers (52)|
|Super Bowl (47)||Vikings coaches (102)|
|Vikings defense (48)||Vikings fans (31)|
|Vikings injury report (15)||Vikings management (77)|
|Vikings off the field (28)||Vikings offense (67)|
|Vikings quarterbacks (41)||Vikings road games (14)|
|Vikings rookies (4)||Vikings roster moves (3)|
|Vikings special teams (2)||Vikings training camp (5)|
|Off the field (5)||On the road (22)|
|Quarterbacks (33)||Rookies (3)|
|Roster moves (1)||Vikings draft (41)|
|Ron Gardenhire (120)||Target Field (142)|
|Twins fans (153)||Twins management (202)|
|Twins offense (112)||Twins transactions (92)|
|NBA playoffs (40)||Wolves coaches (72)|
|Wolves draft news (28)||Wolves guards (37)|
|Wolves injury report (7)||Wolves management (77)|
|Wolves players (59)||Wolves trade talk (14)|
|Wolves training camp (11)||All-Stars and honors (84)|
|Fighting (2)||Wild coaching (25)|
|Wild management (35)||Wild off-season news (3)|
|Wild player moves (4)||Adrian Peterson (64)|
|Anthony Herrera (2)||Antoine Winfield (16)|
|Ben Leber (1)||Bernard Berrian (7)|
|Brad Childress (29)||Brett Favre (56)|
|Brian Robison (3)||Bryant McKinnie (3)|
|Cedric Griffin (5)||Chad Greenway (11)|
|Chester Taylor (5)||Chris Kluwe (2)|
|Darrell Bevell (6)||E.J. Henderson (4)|
|Jared Allen (29)||John Sullivan (6)|
|Kevin Williams (5)||Leslie Frazier (53)|
|Madieu Williams (2)||Pat Williams (3)|
|Percy Harvin (26)||Phil Loadholt (3)|
|Ray Edwards (1)||Ryan Longwell (9)|
|Sage Rosenfels (1)||Sidney Rice (10)|
|Steve Hutchinson (7)||Tarvaris Jackson (12)|
|Tyrell Johnson (2)||Visanthe Shiancoe (5)|
|Brad Childress (29)||Darrell Bevell (6)|
|Leslie Frazier (53)||NHL news (9)|
|2010 Winter Games (13)||Olympic curling (1)|
|Olympic hockey (8)||Olympic skiing (4)|
|Olympic village (11)|