A lot of things are clearly working so far this season for the 40-18 Twins, but one thing that has helped them survive a few significant short-term injuries is the versatility of the depth among their position players.
They can afford, for instance, to carry three catchers because Willians Astudillo (11 starts there) can slide over to third base (six starts), first base (four starts) and even the outfield (two starts). When Mitch Garver missed time, the Twins barely missed a beat because Astudillo was already on the roster and shifted to more starts at catcher.
Part of the value of Marwin Gonzalez (two years, $21 million) in free agency was his positional versatility. He's made starts at five different positions: third base (31), first base (six), right field (five), left field (three) and shortstop (one).
With Miguel Sano back and getting a lot of work at third base, Gonzalez's versatility is even more important as he rotates through all his spots. It will be even more important with Nelson Cruz returning and presumably reclaiming most of the designated hitter at bats.
Ehire Adrianza, too, has split his time almost evenly between third, second and short — and can play the outfield or first base in a pinch.
These sorts of interchangeable parts might leave a team at risk of having a subpar defense since plenty of players who are useful at multiple positions are masters of none.
The Twins, though, entered Tuesday No. 1 in the majors in defensive runs above average, according to FanGraphs. Some of that, not surprisingly, is because of defensive runs above average team-leader Byron Buxton and his work in center field.
But Astudillo, Gonzalez and Adrianza are each net positive defensive players when factoring in all the numbers from every position they've played, contributing to the Twins' overall good number and suggesting they are far from liabilities even when moved around.
Batting order versatility is probably less important because roles in the order are less defined than they used to be. But it's worth noting that the Twins have used one lineup seven times and another six times. All other 1-9 combinations they've put out there have been used just once.
Some guys have typical slots. Max Kepler usually bats leadoff; Jorge Polanco is usually second; when healthy, Cruz, Eddie Rosario and C.J. Cron might typically follow. But it's been very mix-and-match based on rest and matchups.
Some players might balk at that, but the Twins have thrived using that approach.
And incredibly: Astudillo, in his 25 starts this season, has batted in all nine spots in the order. He's hit leadoff, cleanup, eighth and ninth one time apiece, with multiple appearances in the other five spots.
All of that gives Rocco Baldelli a lot to juggle — but a lot of good options, when managed well, can't be a bad thing.
And the Twins as of Monday led the major leagues in home runs, runs scored, batting average and slugging percentage.
Whether Baldelli is pushing all the right buttons or simply has a lot of great buttons to push is probably best answered with "both."