Tuesday, March 10, 2015

No Offense, But Offense Isn't A Concern

Through five Spring Training games, the Minnesota Twins have compiled a record of 2-2-1 and have failed to score more than two runs in all but one of those games. With a nine run outburst in their Grapefruit League Opener against the Boston Red Sox, the Twins offense showed up for the lone time thus far down in Florida. While that may seem somewhat concerning, caution is best implemented in this situation.

Maybe most importantly, pitchers and catchers reported to Spring Training roughly a week ahead of hitters. While it may seem like a nominal amount of time, factoring in that offense has already been down across Major League Baseball due to the strength of pitching, only compounds the issue. Then, a quick look across the diamond also should give reason for pause. Although the Twins have scored more than two runs only once in five games, their opponents have done so only twice in that time span.

For a Twins team that largely outperformed expectations when it came to offense a season ago, a slow start is an understandable reason for concern. That being said, Spring Training should continue to be largely representative of process moreso than results. You could just as easily assume that Twins pitching has been vastly improved based upon the early returns, but such a conclusion would likely be shortsighted as well.

A season ago, the Twins found unexpected offense in the form of Kurt Suzuki and Danny Santana. Both players largely outproduced their expectations, and shouldn't be relied upon to repeat the performance. However, that doesn't spell doom for the Twins. One of the best hitters in the last month of the season was Oswaldo Arcia. Working with hitting coach Tom Brunansky, Arcia seems to have found a new approach at the plate, on that is conducive of much more positive results.

On top of Arcia adding some excitement to the lineup, the Twins primed for aggression in 2015. There's no doubt that Torii Hunter was brought in with mentorship of Aaron Hicks and Byron Buxton in mind. On a $10.5 million you can bet the Twins are expecting Hunter to produce, and if his recent seasons are any indication (.295/.327/.456 slash line since 2013), he should do just that. Along with Hunter, if the Twins can get Hicks to show even a glimmer of the offensive promise he proved after his demotion a season ago, they should be in a great place.

At this point in time, it's fair to have some reason for caution when it comes to the Twins lineup. the offensive output was above where it should have been, and probably will regress in 2015. Knowing the pitching staff is in a better place, and that the Twins have added other pieces, makes that an ok thing however. For now, just enjoy the Miguel Sano longballs and know that the run production will come.

The Twins are scheduled to take on the Blue Jays today in Dunedin, Florida at 12:05 pm CT.