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High Octane Twins offense?

By Jake Lunemann

Every Minnesota Twins fan knew who to watch in the Twins lineup this year, Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau. Then throw in peppered expectations for Jason Kubel and Michael Cuddyer, not to mention offseason acquisition Joe Crede. We all thought this team would have one of the most feared lineups that the Twins have had in the past 15 years. I am here to tell you that our teams playoff hopes hang on the shoulders of one man who you may not expect. Denard Span.

While Span was on the DL we got to "enjoy" a man who we have not seen much of this year, Delmon Young. While I have not given up on Young completely, it is fast approaching that level. Young hits for a very empty batting average and even if you were getting good production from him it would not be worth having to see him run around the outfield. Young's defensive numbers (UZR/150=-23.2 and Range=-5.2) are similar to Washington National's outfielder Adam Dunn (UZR/150=-22.4 and Range= -8.7) who regularly stars on ESPN Sportscenter's Not top 10. Span on the other hand has amazing range which only seems mundane because of who patrols center field for the Twins. On top of this he is seemingly on base constantly (current OBP .388), steals bases (12), and draws walks almost as often as striking out (31:37).

So far this season Kubel has had a breakout year and Crede and Cuddyer have played as well as we could have hoped. Mauer and Morneau are each having MVP type seasons (and sadly, will probably split votes so neither will win) so really we are only missing a productive speed guy. While I think Brendan Harris and Matt Tolbert will be moderately successful given full time at bats they are not going to be the catalyst that makes or breaks a team. Denard Span is this guy. To make a comparison to another Twin, think of Cristian Guzman with more patience at the plate and better defense. A guy with the ability to spark a rally, drive in runs, and make game saving defensive plays. So there we have it, with Span at the top of the lineup, a top 10 offense in the major leagues. Without Span, we are the Chicago White Sox. Gross.

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