When long time Twin Torii Hunter left Minnesota via free agency, Denard Span thought his time to grace center field finally arrived. That is until Johan Santana left via trade bringing over a player in Carlos Gomez who was expected to start in center. Span was set for another year in the minors. Or was he?
Denard Span lost a heated battle to young speedster Carlos Gomez in spring training. Span was sent to triple-A Rochester, however, he did not stay very long as Twins' right fielder Michael Cuddyer landed on the 15-day disabled list. Span was called up to the majors for the first time in his career on April 5. Span played well until getting sent back down to Rochester.
Again on June 29, Span was recalled and once again took over right field and Span has not looked back since. Span has hit .301 with three home runs and 34 RBI so far during his rookie campaign. Not over whelming stats but there is more than meets the eye.
When clubhouse leader Cuddyer went down with two injuries within a short time, many doubted that the very young Twins team could survive without the offensive presence of Cuddyer. Span was given the chance to prove why he was always considered the heir apparent of Torii Hunter.
Span played well throughout the year. He got key hits when the Twins needed them, he patrolled right field with great speed and a good glove, and ran the bases as if he was a ten year veteran.
So why is Span so deserving of the AL Rookie of the Year? He along with Casilla are the main reason the Twins are just a half game out of the AL Central lead.
Span has filled Cuddyer's shoes while he was injured and then proceeded to take Cuddyer's right field job. In my eyes, the rookie of the year, much like the MVP award, should be someone who has helped their team immensely, and who has done that better than Span? With out Span, the Twins could have been a lost cause.
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