Random thoughts from the Twins' intrasquad game today

Today the Minnesota Twins unofficially had their first game of the Spring Training, which was an intrasquad contest.  Here are some of my thoughts from what happened in this game:

  • Pitchers seem to be well ahead of hitters:
    • Phil Hughes pitched 2 scoreless innings throwing 21 out of 27 strikes, striking out 4 (including Buxton and Sano) and his FB was 91/92 mph
    • Kevin Correia also pitched 2 run-free innings with 14/26 strikes, a K and a BB.
    • Kyle Gibson hit 94 mph on the gun and also pitched 2 scoreless innings  (18/25 strikes)
  • Phil Hughes said that he will not throw the slider (a pitch he primarily threw in 2013 and a lot, 21.3% of his pitches were sliders; but with not much success, resulting in -0.8 runs per 100 pitches) and will replace it with a slow curve (9% of his pitches last season with about average success) and a cutter, a pitch he did not throw consistently since 2011.  The cutter was very good in 2009 and 2010 but not as good in 2011 and he abandoned it.  A curve is a pitcher that he will throw primarily against LHBs and the cutter (and slider) against RHBs.
  • I am not convinced that Kevin Correia will be with the Twins for a long time.  I can see Gibson pushing him to the trading block during Spring Training
  • Eduardo Escobar played 3B (replacing Sano) which is his worst fielding position, instead of Shortstop (his best fielding position; he won the Gold Glove for the Venezuela Winter League this off-season).  I feel that Escobar can replace Florimon as the Twins' starting shortstop, if given a chance and it is frustrating to see Gardenhire playing him out of position.
  • The big boys did really well defensively
    • Miquel Sano had several good plays at third base including several strong throws, which is good news for the shape of his elbow
    • Kennys Vargas maybe made the defensive play of the game with a diving stop and throw to the pitcher (Worley) who was covering first.  Both of these guys' defense is better than certain people might want you to believe
  • I hope that Byron Buxton's performance today (0-3, 3K, 1BB late in the game) will land on earth the fans who think he should be the Twins' starting Centerfielder in 2014.  He has a great future, but patience is needed.
  • Josmil Pinto played today, which is good news meaning that his back is better, but Rob Antony said on the radio that the Twins think that he came to Spring Training "a bit heavy", which is bad news, because it sounds like the Twins' brass is preparing the ground for a demotion and going with Suzuki as the starter, a non-optimal situation.