3B: The Platoon
During spring 2008, the Minnesota Twins were counting on Mike Lamb (like Adam Everett, also acquired from the Houston Astros) to man the hot corner and, more importantly, provide some pop to the offense with his seasoned bat. Neither occurred (Lamb played below-average defense and hit just .233), and within a few months the platoon of Brian Buscher and Brendan Harris took over the third stop.
Buscher (a lefty) hit .294 in just 218 at-bats and proved to be an RBI machine (47 in 70 games). His defense was a bit shaky earlier one, but tightened up as the season progressed into September.
Harris (a righty) moved to third after being exiled from both second and short on a starting basis. Harris played against lefties (and a good share of righties), hitting .265 in 434 at-bats. Harris tended to be a streaky player, going through stretches where he seemed to get all the key hits, followed by slumps that would find Buscher even starting against left-handers.
Personally, I would like to see the Busch Man installed as the everyday third baseman. I feel that he gives the lineup more pop, and his defense will only get better. The key, though, is how Buscher progresses in his development. At the end of 2008, Buscher struggled for the most part, so perhaps pitchers are figuring him out and now he needs to make the adjustment. Thus, Harris is very much worth keeping. If Buscher fails to produce up to expectations, Harris is still a prospect to keep an eye on, as he is still pretty young.
Fan response to the 2008 Twins may lean towards signing a third baseman with a little more pop in his bat than the unproven Harris or the youngster Buscher, but knowing the Twins’ budget a move will almost certainly not be made. We’ll have to rely on one (or both) of those two players to improve on their ’08 campaign.
-Boy, the Rays sure surprised me by thumping the Red Sox today 9-1. I never thought I’d see the day when the Tampa Bay baseball organization would make a World Series appearance, but now the world is just two more victories away from that exact feat.
-Right now, the Phillies and Dodgers are just winding down a crazy contest that I believe has featured a lead change every time a run has been scored! It is currently 7-5 Philly in the top of the ninth, but in a game like this nothing is over until the final at-bat.