Parts One (Starting Pitchers) and Two (Infielders)
Part Three: Outfielders
Once again, let's begin with our probable starters.
RF Michael Cuddyer
Adorableness Quotient (AQ): I think it's becoming obvious that without Torii, Cuddy is going to be the new unofficial voice of the team. That's a good fit. He's friendly, well spoken and enthusiastic, and gosh darn it, he just seems so happy to play baseball. Bless you Cuddy. Those dimples don't hurt either. And being a magician...he's an AQ goldmine. Last year's "Sawing Johan in Half" ad pretty much sealed his adorable fate. I'm not really seeing any minuses in this guy's Adorableness department.
Final AQ Score: 10.00
The Good At Baseball Factor (GABF): Cuddy's pretty good at baseball too. Though 2007 was a little bit short of his '06 awesomeness...it was impressive. I recall Cuddyer's performances being the high points of a lot of last year's games. I predict that Cuddy is going to step up his game again this year and show the newbies how it's done. His defensive play is strong enough that I have no doubt he could step into center field and do well, if that's how things shake down.
Final GABF Score: 8.95
Total Awesomeness Rating (TAR): 18.95
I am so glad we finally locked him into a decent contract.
CF Carlos Gomez
AQ: I don't have much insight into this kid's adorableness at all. He's so new, and so young, even Wikipedia can't help me out. At the time of his debut in the bigs, he was the youngest NL player, and he held his own. I'll give him credit for that. It's not easy being 12. Mets fans swear we'll like him (of course, I say the same thing to M's fans about a different Carlos, just for giggles....so I don't know how much I trust that.)
Final AQ Score: 5.50
GABF: When Gomez got added to our roster, he officially became our #1 ranked prospect. Which is awesome...but I'm not so sure he's ready to be our starting CF. There was a lot of criticism of the Mets organization for rushing him to The Show too quickly, and he lacks a lot of discipline at the plate that could be learned better playing every day in AAA. He's super fast, and his claim to fame is that he can beat Jose Reyes in a footrace....which is impressive. I certainly agree that he is the crowning jewel in the eventual package we got for the best pitcher in baseball. And I believe he has the potential to be a truly amazing player. But I don't think that's going to happen in '08.
Final GABF Score: 6.85
Given time and seasoning, I'm sure this number will improve. Probably in time for the new ballpark.
LF Delmon Young
AQ: Delmon started out in bad shape, AQ-wise. He was the reason we lost Jason Bartlett. He threw a bat at a guy. I was pretty determined not to like him. But then he came to town for Twinsfest. And he was very vocal about how happy he is to be a part of the team, which seemed genuine. He volunteered to pick up an extra autograph session when Reyes couldn't make it. Call me a sucker, but in my book enthusiasm for this team, the fans, and a respect and appreciation of the team's history goes a long way, and makes a person much MUCH more adorable. I think I might like this kid.
Final AQ Score: 7.85
GABF: There's no arguing....Young is good at baseball. Really good. Without Torii in the line-up we were pretty desperate for another heavy hitter, and he should do the trick. He's young (young Young, heh heh) and he's still got some growing up to do, but I think he'll post some pretty good numbers this year, especially if he can get improve his judgment at the plate, and take a pitch once in a while.
Final GABF Score: 7.90
If he can keep the attitude in check, and continue to work on some plate discipline, this could be a great fit for him.
AQ: I spent a large portion of the '06 season hating the Detroit Tigers more than I have ever hated any other entity, excluding the Yankees obviously, ever. Old habits die hard...so it's difficult to put that behind me. But I honestly never really had too much against Craig Monroe. I don't know that I would call him "adorable." Handsome, certainly. He was friendly at Twinsfest, and seemed excited to be a Twin. Once again, that goes a long way. His mom's name is Marilyn Monroe, which is pretty cool.
Final AQ Score: 7.75
GABF: He had a rocky '07 after an amazing '06, but it's hard to hold that against him too much since....well....I AM a Twins fan, and that's kind of a familiar story. His recent numbers may not be the stuff of legends, but I gotta respect his ability to make big hits in clutch situations. It was infuriating when he was a Tiger, but I'm pretty excited about it with him in a Twins uniform. With him on the bench, it's entirely possible that we might have a pinch hit situation that works out in our favor occasionally. Tell me you're not excited about that possibility.
Final GABF Score: 7.25
I'm happy you play for the good guys now, Craig.
AQ: I'm sensing a theme here. When I talked to Jason Pridie at Twinsfest, he seemed VERY excited to be wearing a Twins uniform again. And this made him instantly more likable and, dare I say it....adorable. And his middle name is Orville, which is pretty much the cutest thing ever. I think he has a Tyner-esque appeal.
Final AQ Score: 7.75
GABF: Pridie's minor league stats are kind of a mixed bag. He's had some good times, he's had some craptastic times. Recently, he's been leaning more towards the good, which is encouraging. His '07 stats are kind of impressive, actually. Granted, AA and AAA are a completely different universe from the majors, but I'm hoping he'll make a good impression this spring. He shows some promise.
Final GABF Score: 6.25
AQ: Whenever I think about Denard Span (which honestly is pretty rarely) I cannot help but think about something Those Girls cooked up called The Denard Equation. The Denard Equation was born pre-'07 Twinsfest when I nonchalantly mentioned one day that "Denard Span looks like Rondell White and Francisco Liriano had a baby."
That's not really a huge positive. He didn't leave a great impression on us at the '07 Twinsfest. We didn't go through his line this year, although Jen from Lipgloss & Baseball assured us that he was personable this time around. Maybe he got a little humble after a crappy year in Rochester. But I still don't feel the love.
Final AQ Score: 4.15
GABF: A difficult season in '07 seemed to turn Span from the Golden Child he appeared to be in '05 and '06, to an also-ran. I am underwhelmed, in general. It's possible he'll have a good spring for us again, but if last year is any indication...that may not mean that much once the regular season rolls around.
Final GABF: 5.15
On a positive note, he makes me a lot more excited about Gomez than I otherwise would have been.
AQ: I once promised that if Jason Kubel got a hit in the 9th of a tight game that I would never ever say anything mean about him again. And he got a hit. We still lost the game, as I recall....but he did his part. I'll give him credit. I will say that Those Girls' main impression of Jason's AQ is that "he looks like someone we could have gone to high school with." Please know that this is not a compliment. That being said, I have developed a fondness for Mr. Kubel lately. Last season I authored his GameDay Magazine insert haiku. I think mine was chosen chiefly because no one else bothered to write haiku about Jason Kubel. Still, I think we have a certain bond now.
Final AQ Score: 6.25
GABF: Kubel had a decent '07. Blame the soft bigotry of low expectations, but I was pleasantly surprised by his offensive performance. I think he may be getting back to his old form, from when he was one of our top prospects. I can only hope that we keep seeing that improvement.
Final GABF Score: 7.00
Not fabulous, but not awful. I think this perfectly defines things.
It's so weird that Cuddyer and Kubel are our veteran players in the outfield now. It's going to be a strange year. I don't adjust to change well. Cuddyer is clearly the anchor for this crew. And what an adorable anchor he is...