|A little thinner? Yes. Perhaps playing with a bit of trepidation |
about his future? Yes. On pace for 29 home runs? Yes.
* If someone told you back in March, 2012, that Justin Morneau would be on pace for a 29 home run, 81 RBI season, would you be fine with that? How about if that production in 50 overall team games occurred for Morneau in only 33 games due to time spent on the disabled list? With 9 home runs and 25 RBIs, that's Morneau's pace.
* If someone told you back in March, 2012, that Joe Mauer would have played in 48 of the Twins' 50 games, and would be 1 seeing-eye single (my guess is a grounder just to the left of the second baseman) away from a .301 batting average, would you be fine with that? How about if they told you that, although the home run power was still largely absent, Mauer would be on pace for 39 doubles and 172 hits, as well as 107 walks. With 12 doubles, 53 hits in 179 at-bats, and 33 walks, that's Mauer's pace.
* If someone told you back in March, 2012, that Josh Willingham would be on pace for 113 RBIs and 32 home runs despite playing 52 percent of his games in cavernous Target Field, my guess is that would be fine with you.
* If someone told you back in March, 2012, that Denard Span would be on pace for 45 doubles (which would almost double his career best of 24 from 2010), would you be all right with that?
Sure, numbers are easy to spin. And we all know that Morneau was on pace for an historic 2010 season when he suffered a concussion in July. But the point for each of these players is the same: if someone had asked me, in a "take it or leave it" scenario, would I be happy with this production from each player, I would say "yes" in a heartbeat.
There are a lot of negative things going on in Twins Territory right now. We're talking about trading away several players this summer, we're hoping that the front office doesn't screw up the amateur draft in June, and preparing for the possibility -- maybe even probability -- that the Twins will have a very high selection in the 2013 draft. Very few things have gone right this year for the Twins. I try not to be overly optimistic, and struggle not to be too pessimistic. These 4 players I just highlighted all have deficiencies: Morneau's health; Mauer's health and lack of power; Willingham's hot-cold nature and low career batting average; and Span's health and inconsistent performance over the past 3 seasons. Although it's important to take notice of those shortcomings, I think, as fans, it's just as important to acknowledge when something is going right. For each of these guys -- especially Mauer and Morneau with the gigantic question marks hovering over their heads -- multiple things are going right this year, even the results in the win-loss column are not representative.