July 11, 2007

At the Break (Lineup)

With the starting pitchers and bullpen being covered in the first two editions of the "At the Break" series, all pitching positions have now been covered. Now it's time to focus on the hitting side, and we'll begin with what the lineup was able to accomplish in the first half of the season.

The next edition in this series will look over what the bench players did in the first half of the season. In this post, the nine starters will be covered, and they'll be listed in their batting order. If you don't see a player in this edition, they'll be included in the next edition of bench players.

The Lineup:
Luis Castillo
First Half Grade: B
Luis Castillo has played very well so far in the first half of the season, and a big reason has been his healthy knees. I gave him this grade because he has slumped a little lately, but before that, was on fire and even a candidate for the All-Star Game. If Luis can stay healthy and heat back up, he'll be a huge key to making a second half run.

2007 Season Stats
SPLITGABRH2B3BHRRBISBBAOBPSLG
Season712954890810137.305.352.339
Projected1456029818416202714.305.352.339

Jason Bartlett
First Half Grade: B-
Jason Bartlett was a huge reason the Twins made a second half run last season, and could be again this season as well. Bartlett started the season very slow, but turned it on in June and and has continued that so far in July. I gave Bartlett a B- because he started very slow, but he managed to stay out of the C's because of a hot June.

2007 Season Stats
SPLITGABRH2B3BHRRBISBBAOBPSLG
Season78268396812022317.254.334.321
Projected1525227613323044533.254.334.321
* Has played well lately, should out-play projected stats.

Joe Mauer
First Half Grade: B+
Joe Mauer has started to show some of his power over the last month, and has been a big part of the offense since his return. I gave Joe this grade because has played so well since his return from the disabled list, but his injury did keep him from getting a higher grade.

2007 Season Stats
SPLITGABRH2B3BHRRBISBBAOBPSLG
Season5621741671624375.309.401.456
Projected1305049515637598612.309.401.456
* Missed time with injury (should play more than 130 gms.)

Michael Cuddyer
First Half Grade: A-
Last season Michael really showed what he could do when given a chance to play everyday. So far this season, although his numbers are down just a bit (mainly power), he has put up very good numbers. The main reason for this grade was because he has played pretty consistently so far, but also because he has helped the Twins tremendously with is arm (fielding).

2007 Season Stats
SPLITGABRH2B3BHRRBISBBAOBPSLG
Season83321608815310533.274.360.433
Projected157607113166286191006.274.360.433

Justin Morneau
First Half Grade: A
Last season, Justin won the AL MVP, and even with the pressure of winning the award, he's managed to put up great numbers. Justin has hit 24 homeruns, and is currently on pace to hit near 40. I gave him this grade for three main reasons, he's put up great numbers, he's been a key on defense and finally, he's been tough and played through a couple of different injuries.

2007 Season Stats
SPLITGABRH2B3BHRRBISBBAOBPSLG
Season83322579516224740.295.364.581
Projected157609108180304451400.295.364.581

Torii Hunter
First Half Grade: A
Well, Torii is in his contract year, and has definitely played like it so far this season. Torii is currently on pace for career highs, and hopefully the Twins will be able to retain him. Anyways, I gave him this grade because he has out-performed his expectations and because his defense is still top notch.

2007 Season Stats
SPLITGABRH2B3BHRRBISBBAOBPSLG
Season863265598251196911.301.342.558
Projected1606071021824723512820.301.342.558

Jason Kubel
First Half Grade: B-
This grade may be high to some, and low to others. However, I gave it to Jason because he has really turned it on in the last couple of month. I feel like the reason for his inconsistency has been his inconsistent playing time. If Kubel gets to play everyday in the second half instead of in streak, I expect him to be a huge key to the team and put up great numbers.

2007 Season Stats
SPLITGABRH2B3BHRRBISBBAOBPSLG
Season7224024601607372.250.302.404
Projected1464874912232014754.250

.302

.404

Mike Redmond
First Half Grade: B+
Well, I didn't know who to put in the designated hitter role because so many Twins have played the position this year. However, I went with Redmond because he did get a lot of time at catcher an has been in the designated hitter spot as well. I gave Redmond this grade because he filled in for Mauer very well, and has put up great number on the season, making him arguably the best backup catcher.

2007 Season Stats
SPLITGABRH2B3BHRRBISBBAOBPSLG
Season531881454901230.287.332.351
Projected127450341292202550.287.332.351
* Filled in for Mauer, might not play in projected games.

Nick Punto
First Half Grade: D+
Nick Punto, much like Bartlett, played a huge part in the Twins second half success last season. So far this season however, he has been downright horrible on offense. I gave him this grade because he has been so bad on offense, but he didn't get a lower grade simply because he did play better this last week, and mainly because he didn't let the poor offense affect his fielding. I don't expect Punto to be a key to a second half run this season, because I see him losing his starting role (trade).

2007 Season Stats
SPLITGABRH2B3BHRRBISBBAOBPSLG
Season81279335910211513.211.313.272
Projected1555346311319422925.211.313.272
* Shouldn't play in projected number of games.

Well, this edition wraps up the first part of the offense, and as I mentioned at the beginning, the bench will be the next part showcased in the "At the Break" series.

As you can see above, Redmond was listed in the number eight spot which would be the designated hitter. I know I mentioned why a little bit, but I want to go into more detail. I simply didn't know who to put there, and felt Redmond was the best candidate. I thought about Tyner, but I hate calling him a DH.

As always, I encourage you to leave your comments on these grade, stats or players in general in the comments section below.

The stats and projection have all come from ESPN.com