5 Twins to Watch During Spring Training
With their first spring training game less than a week away, The Minnesota Twins full roster has reported to spring training in Fort Meyers. And coming off two consecutive losing seasons, expectations are tempered for what is expected to be another sub-par season. But even a team down on its luck can have plenty of players to follow during spring training. Here is a list of 5 players I will be watching during spring training as they try to state their case for a spot on the major league roster:
1. Aaron Hicks– Hicks may receive the most attention during spring training, as the heir apparent to the starting center field job. After Denard Span and Ben Revere were traded this past off-season, Hicks steps in as the next in line to start everyday. But Hicks needs to prove he is ready to handle the everyday job or he will begin the season in Rochester.
2. Justin Morneau– There will be a lot of attention on free agent to be Justin Morneau. If the Twins are not in the hunt for an AL Central title at the trade deadline, Morneau could be moved for prospects. If the Twins are in contention, he could not only be retained but could be signed to an extension. Regardless of where the Twins finish, there will be plenty of attention on Morneau to see if he can take the next step forward in his recovery from concussion issues that have haunted him in the last few years.
3. Rich Harden– Harden has always had tremendous stuff with the ability to generate swings and misses. The only problem that has faced Harden throughout his career is his extensive injury history. The Twins invited Harden to spring training to compete for a spot on the roster. While the Twins preference seems to be to have Harden compete for a spot in the rotation, he could be an interesting arm out of the bullpen. Harden has always been a power pitcher who can rack up strikeouts easily. If healthy he would be a great option out of the bullpen in the 7th inning ahead of Jared Burton and Glen Perkins.
4. Jeff Clement– Clement is a once promising prospect who has never been able to stick at the big league level. A catcher turned first baseman, Clement started out in Seattle and went to Pittsburgh with underwhelming results for both teams. At this point Clement is just trying to find his way on to a big league roster as a bench player who would get the occasional start at first. And with the current state of the Twins bench, if he impresses in spring training there is a very good chance he will make the team.
5. Chris Parmelee– Parmelee comes into spring training as the favorite to win the starting right field job. After a successful September call up in 2011, Parmelee struggled in his stints with the team last year. With the trade of Ben Revere this past off-season, and with Twins other outfield prospects at least a year away, Parmelee has no real competition for the starting spot. If he wants to prove he belongs at the major league level, Parmelee needs to wow the team with an impressive spring training.
Those are just a few of the story lines to follow during spring training. And optimism will never be higher while the team is still healthy and eager to compete with the rest of the AL Central.