Friday, March 16, 2007

The infield corners: preview.

Justin Morneau is the reigning MVP so firstbase is obviously a strong position for the Twins. Justin had a breakout season last year. It seemed to come out of nowhere. We all expected him to be a good hitter after taking over for Doug M. But he did not do so well taking over for him.

Justin’s defense was better than advertised, though he doesn’t seem to pick ‘em as well as Douggie did. His offense struggled. He only batted .208 last April and his offense picked up slowly until June & July when he had an OPS over 1.100!!! His power cooled off the last 2 months but he still was hitting well.

I expect another great year out of him. His defense is improving and he is now a legitimate threat to hit a homerun any time is at the plate. No Twin could claim that since the late ‘80s.

Third is manned by the spunky Punto. Some claim that to play 3rd he needs to hit for power. But I don’t agree. I just want the thirdbaseman to play good defense and add something to the team offensively, either with power or by getting on base.

And for most of the season Nick did a great job of providing offense by getting on base at a .400 clip. But he faltered badly in September with a line of .252/.266/.294. Those are Jaun Castro type numbers. Punto ended up with an OBP of .352. That is not that good for a player with no power.

Hopefully he won’t wear down this year. I think the signing of Cirillo should help. Cirillo will probably be DH much of the time vs lefties but he should get some time spelling Punto.

It would be a great platoon since Punto had an AVG and OBP 50 points higher against righthanders and Cirillo has hit over .400 against lefthanders the last couple years.

Punto could probably use more rest this year and Cirillo should fill in that position but I have a feeling that Cirillo will be DH more than playing third.


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