By Joe Christensen
First of all, there’s no help coming from the minors. Aaron Gleeman summed it up best with his Tuesday post, which profiled 18 of the team’s best hitting prospects at the two-month mark of the season. He divided the reports into “Good News” and “Bad News,” and there was a whole heck of a lot more bad than good.
A quick warning for those with weak stomachs: The vast majority of the hitting numbers you’re about to see below are extremely ugly. In part because of pitcher-friendly leagues and in part because of an almost complete absence of good hitting prospects through the organization, the Twins’ four full-season minor-league affiliates have combined for a .683 OPS. To put that in some context, Nick Punto has a .661 career OPS.
I know the Angels’ pitching is tough, but in two games, the Twins have had two meaningful swings – both by Torii Hunter. This team’s offense has been completely exposed on this road trip. Good pitching slows a lot of teams, but the Twins can get ground to a halt. It’ll be fun watching Kevin Slowey today, but unless the reverse-lock theory applies, how much run support can he expect with the Twins facing Cy Young candidate John Lackey (9-3, 2.37 ERA)?
The Twins are 28-29. That’s disappointing, no matter what injuries they’ve had. So it’s time for a poll. Give me your vote on the biggest disappointment and most pleasant surprise through 57 games. You’ll note a whole lot more candidates for disappointment than surprise:
A) Joe Mauer’s injury
B) Nick Punto’s offense
C) Sidney Ponson — All that sweat for nothing.
D) Ramon Ortiz — “Unbelievable,” as he likes to say.
E) Terry Ryan — Remains patient. To a fault?
F) Ron Gardenhire — Surprises me to have to list him, but judging from your venom on yesterday’s thread, he’s a candidate.
G) Jason Bartlett — Struggles have been overshadowed by Punto.
H) Rondell White — Remember him?
I) Jason Kubel — La Velle’s 2007 pick to click.
J) Matt Garza — Remember him?
K) Losing Batgirl — Remember her?
MOST PLEASANT SURPRISE
A) Mike Redmond — Joe who?
B) Luis Castillo — Cool note about his singles-hitting prowess from ESPN’s Jayson Stark yesterday. (subscription required).
C) Torii Hunter — Yeah, Twins won’t miss him next year or anything.
D) Matt Guerrier — Gets a front page photo in the Strib, and it’s the silly one from Milwaukee with the Mohawk.
E) Carlos Silva — Twins have been shut out five times, four with this guy on the mound.
F) Kevin Slowey — Maybe this is Radke’s career reincarnated.