Naturally everyone at the stadium except for the obnoxious group of Braves fans sitting in front of me thought this was a little ridiculous, and as it turns out, it was. In the 8th inning or so, my Summits began to take effect and because the game wasn't really in the balance I decided to get my first look at the Target Field men's room. It was there in line, in that athenaeum of baseball knowledge which is a ballpark's mens room, that I heard a comment that's been nagging at me for awhile.
A man in a grey Cuddyer throwback jersey (beer in hand in the restroom...) was cursing to his friend about the misfortune of the game they were watching and said: "It's just not acceptable. They've got no excuse. They really need to just call somebody up who can actually hit the ball and help them out because this is ridiculous!"
I like that thought. It's admirable. That's a lot of faith in our minor league system that a lot of people likely don't have. In fact, it's probably coming from the standpoint that everyone in the minor's is just sitting there banging on the door and the only reason they aren't on the major league team is that our roster is just packed to the brim with people who really deserve to be there.
That is ridiculous.
Not to go off on a drunk Twins fan who probably doesn't spend a whole lot of time reading up on his team, but look around the major leagues and find a 25 man roster without a hole on it. It's pretty hard to find 25 guys in your system firing on all cylinders in a way that doesn't give a fan cause to gripe.
I don't want to let the Twins off the hook here. They've definitely got some dead weight. on the team.
But do they have answers in the minors? Their biggest question marks are in the middle infield and we've already called up our top prospects there in Valencia and Plouffe (Tolbert not a top prospect but easily the most major league experience of the bunch...).
Brian Dinkleman has an awesome name and is doing OK in AAA right now but he's not on the 40 man roster and to bring him up would raise even bigger questions, like who do you outright? Likewise Matt Macri isn't doing that bad in AAA right now but also isn't on the 40 man roster and his limited experience in the big leagues wasn't that miraculous. I don't think either of them are a solution. Luke Hughes is the obvious choice but is currently on the DL and not even playing in Rochester.
Unfortunately many casual fans are probably of the mindset that we have answers stockpiled away and that's probably because our minor league system has produced so well for us in the likes of Denard Span, Jose Morales and others coming up recently and playing well during their immediate stints in the big leagues. But the reality is that it usually takes even the top prospects some time to adjust to the new level of competition and chances are Plouffe and Valencia could be very solid major league contributors if given enough time. Hudson and Hardy were supposed to be our answers this year, and Harris and Punto should be playing at least at replacement level status. The fact that our two starters are injured (along with Casilla our primary backup) and our two fringe infielders are struggling so mightily is tough but it's the situation we're in. Valencia and Plouffe should just be icing on the cake, and when they do contribute -- and they have -- we shouldn't take it for granted that we've got more like them stockpiled away.
Sorry to go on a rant about a guy in the men's bathroom, but I think we're doing OK for now. If only Hardy and Hudson would come back soon...