March 5, 2017

Will the real Twins please stand up?

I was prepared to sit down at my computer tonight and rip the Twins for lackluster play so far this spring, especially after they lost 19-0 to the Tampa Bay Rays.

But then the Twins won on Friday and Saturday and it was a reminder that they have the talent to succeed — and it was the same potential they showed a number of times last year during the worst season in franchise history. But when will they finally put it all together?

Some takeaways from Friday and Saturday:

-Ervin Santana: Santana won again on Saturday to improve to 2-0. He has yet to surrender a run this spring and it appears that he and free agent catcher Jason Castro will work well together.

-Miguel Sano: The new permanent third baseman, and the one player that everyone agrees has all the tools to become a star, finally had two hits on Saturday, including his first home run.

-Max Kepler: The outfielder may have cooled off late last season, but he still hit 17 home runs, including a memorable performance in which he hit three in one game. Kid Kepler, as some like to call him, hit two doubles on Saturday.

-Jose Berrios: If Sano is the agreed upon star-in-the-making, then Berrios is the pitcher we’re all rooting for to become a star. In the minors and rookie ball, Berrios was 49-32 with a 3.38 ERA and 638 strikeouts in 610 innings pitched. He has nothing to prove in the minors; it’s all about whether he can succeed at the next level. He struggled last season with the Twins, but on Friday he struck out four over two innings with two walks. He has the talent to make it with the Twins. New catcher Castro, who was signed by the team because of his pitch-framing skills, just might be the person who helps Berrios turn a corner.

-Defense: The Twins had the worst defense in the American League last year and it showed again Saturday after they committed three errors, including a throwing error from error-prone Sano. However, the infield turned a double play on Friday and two more Saturday.

COMMENTS

Hi, I’m Rolf Boone and I love the Twins.

I became a fan of the Minnesota Twins after a friendly wager in the early 1980s. I survived Ron Davis, the meltdown in Cleveland, Phil Bradley at the Kingdome and then marveled at a rising generation of stars and two World Series wins in 1987 and 1991. Brad Radke made the 1990s bearable, while Kirby Puckett’s eye injury, exit from the game and eventual death made it almost too much to bear. The new century ushered in more talent — Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau — and consecutive seasons of playoff baseball, followed by consecutive seasons of losing baseball. A winning season returned in 2015. So here we are. Go Twins.