2016 Twins Spring Training Coverage from Fort Myers. 3/20: Santana, Sano and the Yankees

The Minnesota Twins played the New York Yankees this afternoon at Hammond Stadium, featuring a lineup that could very well be their opening day lineup. 

The starter, Ervin Santana, pitched better than what you will see when you see his line score.  He threw 69 pitches, mostly fastballs (91-94 mph; at some point right after the balk, he hit a 95, a 96 and a 97 mph in a row), sliders 82-84 mph and changeups 84-86 mph.  All of his pitches were working well and he was getting both looking and swinging strikes.   In the second inning, that he needed 21 pitches, he was squeezed badly by the home plate umpire who did not call the low strike he called in the previous evening and for Ivan Nova all night long.  Santana is in mid-season form and will be the Twins' opening day starter, as discussed here about 40 days ago.

Fernando Abad relieved Santana in the 6th inning and threw four kinds of pitches: a 90-92 mph Fastball, which did not fare well since it either was a ball or was contacted, and a couple times for hits, a 76-78 mph Curveball that was much better, a single 74 mph changeup that was taken for a strike and a single 87 mph cutter was was a ball.  Not a clean inning by any means, but it was workable.  Would Abad be better than any of the other LHRP possibilities in the Twins' pen?  I am not sure and he has not really pulled away from the competition.

Speaking of, JR Graham at this point is not a major league caliber pitcher.  In addition to 20 lbs, he lost at least 2 mph in his (straight) fastball that now tops at 94 mph.  Not a pretty picture today by any means.

On the other hand, the Rule 5 draft pick two seasons before the Twins selected Graham, Ryan Pressly, looks like he belongs to the Twins pen.  He threw a 94-96 mph fastball that had too much movement for the opposing batters to turn, a pretty nasty cutter/slider at 86-89 mph, and a solid 81-83 mph curve.  He will definitely be an upgrade to the Twins pen, but will he be enough if he is the only one?

On errors:  Miguel Sano "booted" a ball in the Right Field when he moved to his left to get in the right trajectory of a line drive, he did, but it hit the base of his glove.  E9.   On the other hand, Brain Dozier "booted" a ball earlier in that evening, when he decided to dive for a ball that was totally catchable without a dive.  Botched dive,  scored as a hit.

Carlos Quentin might be the stiffest baseball player I have seen play, and this includes such notables as Brian Buscher and Joshua Willingham.  He came in to play first relieving Joe Mauer in the late innings and made a fairly comical play.  When the ball touches a bat, Quentin puts his head down without looking at the ball and heads to first base to receive the ball potentially.   In one of those instances the ball hit less than a foot in front of him, without him being either away or interested.  Tailor made 3-6-3 double play, it just did not happen, and it is a shame.   I just cannot see how the Twins can bring this guy up North, because what he brings is close to what Park brings to the table but will less glove and bat.  Sorry Carlos, nice knowing you.

Speaking of Byung Ho Park:  Great adjustment in his first plate appearance:  Ivan Nova definitely schooled not to throw anything but stuff outside the zone, started with 2 curveballs in the dirt, that Park took for balls.  Then he threw a couple of chin low fastballs that Park missed swinging, but however adjusted and took the next 2 fastballs in the same location for balls and a walk.   Great to see this from Park. 

Good double for Byron Buxton in the base of the wall and over the outfielders' head in the 5th.  However there was a problem:  JR Murphy who was on first, did not even attempt to score, a thing that he would have done easily and Buxton was robbed by a triple, a thing he would have done easily.  There were zero outs, but the Twins have to be more aggressive in the bases this season, and really there is nothing much to lose, esp. in the Spring Training, being so...

Tomorrow the Twins are hosting the Pirates at Hammond Stadium, with Kyle Gibson getting the starting node.


C Dontheroad said...

Carlos Quentin brings us power and is hitting better than any of our other outfielders and is making less than all of them. we already have 3 first basemen in camp. I'd like to think his experience can be a benefit with all the youth on the team, I'd like to see him stick around.

thrylos98 said...

The problem is that he is a DH and there is already RH power in this team with Sano, Park, Dozier and Plouffe. If here were LH, there might be a discussion point here, but just he does not fit the needs of this club.