UPDATE: I would have written a congratulatory article about the Twins clinching last night but I think enough voices out there have a better handle on that than me. It was great to watch though, and it's kind of surreal to not have to worry about the hunt for October when there's actually still baseball left to be played. Over at Baseballism, my buddy Francisco lends his congratulations to our squad for their clinch last night and reflects on what a great year the Twins have put together. He's one of the most lucid and intelligent baseball afficionados I get to interact with on a regular basis so be sure to add his blog to your daily reads!
There's been plenty of speculation around our blogosphere about who will and who won't make the post-season roster. Questions remain about who exactly will be cut to whittle down to the stated 11-man pitching staff. The biggest elephant in the room is obviously the health of Justin Morneau and whether he will be around as a potent bench threat for us in October.
The general assumption though is that if Morneau isn't back that Jose Morales comes off our bench as a pinch-hitting/3rd catcher option. I'm a little skeptical.
Morales has been on the backburner all year and except for Mauer's recent tweaked knee he's barely seen the light of day in a game. In the microcosm of the postseason there's no reason to waste a roster spot on someone who will never get in a game and a 3rd catcher who can occasionally get a single really doesn't do any good for us. Besides, as Seth Stohs pointed out on his Twins Centric column -- who in our lineup do you plan on pinch-hitting for anyway?
So who is the final bench spot going to?
***I'll excuse you while you laugh and disagree with me***
Think about it though -- our bench will not be made of pinch-hitters. It will be made up of defensive replacements and speedsters who will all come in late in the game pinch-running for our slow-plodding starters.
Look at that! Even the shutter can't keep up to him!
This isn't a new concept. In fact, the 2002 World Champion Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim followed the same formula with their fresh-faced rookie: Chone Figgins.
Figgins was a "September" call-up (end of August really) who was used in all of 15 games the last few weeks of the season and was almost unilaterally implemented as a late-inning speedster/defensive replacement. It didn't matter that his batting average was a miniscule .167 that season because he was simply there to wreak havoc on the basepaths.
In fact, the minor league slash line of '02 Figgins is almost identical to Revere's minor league slash from this year, except Figgins had a little bit more power.
Figgins: .305/.364/.466 with 39 SBs
Revere: .305/.371/.363 with 36 SBs
Revere is really the best pure threat on the basepaths that we have on our roster. We all know Span's baserunning gaffes and penchant for getting picked off. Punto is coming off a tweaked hamstring injury (and I'm sure we remember his baserunning blunders from last postseason as well...). And for how fast Casilla is he only has 5 SBs all season.
It was a nice story to call Revere up this September, something for people to get excited about certainly. But there had to be more of a reason to bring him up then just getting him a little playing time with the Major League club. We didn't need to exercise an option year yet or throw Matt Fox on waivers for someone we weren't planning on implementing.
September has been and continues to be an audition for Ben Revere's postseason debut. He is our dark horse and our secret weapon in October.