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So, What’s The batting order?
The Twins went from having a team with 6-lead-off men, to having a team with... none! If I were Ron Gardenhire and I had to use the team I had today:
This is what my line-up would look like.
Leading Off: LF Jason Kubel (Bats: Left)
I know that Kubel hasn’t been the most consistent hitter since being called up to the majors, but he is a guy who can get on base, and unless the Twins have a veteran or young CF, this to me is the best choice in this slot. Kubel hit .273 last season, but he was hot towards the end, hitting .323 in his last 10 games and .303 after the all-star break. When Kubel came up to Minnesota, he hit leadoff a few times, and now as a LH he would fit right in.
Batting Second: 2B Brendan Harris (Bats: Right)
Harris could be a candidate for the leadoff spot, but that would put the Twins in a tough situation. With Mauer and Morneau somewhere in the line-up, you can’t put Kubel at #2, because it just puts too many LH in a row. Harris had an OBP of .343 and his 12 HR’s are much more than LNP (Little Nicky Punto) could give you. Harris also had a .994 fielding percentage at 2B last season. He should be the 2B, and his speed and OBP make him ideal to hit in front of…
Batting Third: C Joe Mauer (Bats: Left)
No need to say much. Joe has hit 3rd for two straight seasons, and also most of the year before that, after Doug Mientkiewicz (who by the way hits 9th in most lineups now) was traded to Boston. Joe hit a little in the 2nd spot last year, mostly due to injuries, but he is a fixture in the third spot, hopefully for years to come.
Cleanup: 1B Justin Morneau (Bats: Left)
I know that Ron Gardenhire does not like to bat these two lefties back to back, but Morneau just got his huge pay-day and he should not be wasted any longer hitting lower than here. That is part of the reason Kubel needs to his leadoff. I understand not wanting to have 3 lefties in a row, but 2 is ok. Morneau is your MVP. He has 30+ HR’s in two straight years, and hit .271 last year (that includes hitting an awful .243 post All-Star Game). Morneau is the future in this spot, and if other teams can hit lefties back to back…you can too.
Batting Fifth: CF/RF Michael Cuddyer (Bats: Right)
Cuddyer will bat in this spot, but he may not play CF. Of course, a veteran CF signing would shift this whole line-up around. Cuddyer has batted primarily 4th and 6th (injuries aside) over the past two seasons. He relished in the clean-up role in 2006 (when everyone had career years). We need Cuddyer to hit more like his 2006 numbers of 24/109 and less like his 2007 numbers of 16/81. Having Delmon Young behind him should help.
Batting Sixth: RF/CF Delmon Young (Bats: Right)
Delmon Young was a great pickup for the Twins. He is a young, RH power hitter. He should eventually complement Justin Morneau. If all goes well he could hit 5th this season. In his rookie year, Young hit .288 with 13 HR’s and 93 RBI’s. His numbers should only go up…we can only pray.
Batting 7th, 8th, and 9th: DH Craig Monroe (Bats: Right), 3B Mike Lamb (Bats: Left), and SS Adam Everett (Bats: Right)
The pick-ups from the NL Central will round out our line-up. Monroe has already said he wants to learn a lot from Rod Carew, and Lamb and Everett are this year's Tony Batista and Juan Castro (except better?). This is the bottom of the line-up until they are either released or benched. Matt Macri, Alexi Casilla, and Brian Buscher may be the bottom of the line-up by the end of the year.
A MUST READ: Joe Christensen wrote a great blog about how the Twins are great at stealing prospects.
Annoying: The Twins are always going to win in a ‘couple’ years. Guys like Bill Smith know that there job is pretty safe no matter how the team performs. Fortunately for the Twins there are teams like the Mets who have Omar Minaya. He may need to win NOW in order to keep his job. He may have to risk the farm system in order to keep his job now (See Steve Phillips).
Those Uniforms I promised: Below are Artist Renderings of the Uniforms the Twins are contemplating using in time for 2010.