Thursday, March 25, 2010

Spring Training Surprises

(Kevin Slowey, Ben Revere, Juan Portes)

With Spring Training winding down and the Twins roster starting to take shape for Opening Day, there were some Twins players who opened some eyes and showed a glimpse of the future for the Minnesota Twins. When you think Spring Training 2010, the people that come to mind right away are likely Joe Mauer and Joe Nathan.

With the Mauer contraction situation coming to an end over the last few days, all Twins fans can finally take it easy and let their worrying turn to whether Nathan will be able to be the same pitcher once he returns from Tommy John surgery next year. But that is for another day. The names I want to talk about briefly today are Kevin Slowey, Ben Revere, and Juan Portes.

You may be wondering why Kevin Slowey is part of this small group and the fact that we all know how he did last year before injuring his wrist, which required some screws to be put in. That is the very reason he is part of this group. The fact that he had surgery that required some screws to be put in his wrist. Most people would expect him to take a little bit to get back into the groove of things and that it would be a while before he was the pitcher that we saw go 10-3. So far this spring, Slowey has made 4 starts going 3-0 with an astonishing 0.56 ERA with only three walks and 15 strikeouts. To come off wrist surgery and put those kind of numbers on the table is amazing. Now, yes it is only spring training, but it’s still a very good sign of what is to come from Kevin Slowey in 2010.

If Ben Revere is a sign of things to come for the Twins, then our outfield could be one of the fastest and most fun to watch in a year or two. No one expected Ben to play the way he has this Spring. He has actually had the most at bats of any Twins player this spring, appearing at the plate 40 times. With about a week left of Spring Training, he is batting .325 with four runs batted in and an on base percentage of .450. He is regarded as one of, if not, the Twins best prospect by many Twins fans and baseball analysts.

Last year playing with the Ft. Myers Miracle, the twins High-A affiliate, he hit .311 with 2 HR, 48 RBI. He had an OBP of .372 and stole 45 bases. So he appears to be a potential lead-off man or even a solid #2 hitter when he arrives in the Twin Cities. I expect him to start in New Britain (Double-A) and possibly even reach Rochester later in the season. But the fact he is still with the MLB club at Spring Training is a very good sign. He is a prospect you will want to keep an eye on all season.

The other player that caught my eye this spring was 24-year-old Juan Portes. Not many people are familiar with Juan. He is already at the Double-A level and is doing very well there. In 2009 he hit .297 with 6 HR and 40 RBI while having an on-base percentage of .366. He will probably start in the outfield for New Britain, but can also play third base, which is here he will likely end up this season.

He has had a very impressive spring training batting .346 with a team leading three home runs and eight runs batted in. To make it to this point of spring training as a up and coming prospect is a very good sign. He will likely start the season in New Britain and if he gets off to a fast start, he could very well find himself on the way to Rochester (Triple-A affiliate).

If these three players can continue to their current play throughout the 2010 season in the respective leagues, then the future for the Minnesota Twins looks to be very bright and bring lots of successful seasons for Twins fans.