With analysts and fans alike having written off the defending AL Central Champion Minnesota Twins this season due to a poor start—which has seen a number of key players land on the disabled list including Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Francisco Liriano, Glen Perkins, Kevin Slowey, Joe Nathan, Denard Span and Jason Kubel.
The Twins, however, keep proving doubters wrong and with a lineup currently fielding a number of players from Triple-A Rochester, they keep doing one thing: winning.
The Twins, while still being in dead last in the AL Central, have gone from 20 games out of first place to a stunning 9.5 as of today.
Another reason for optimism is the Twins recently began a stretch in which 3/4 of their next 40 games are at home.
One player that has seemingly made an impact with the big league club is their 2007 first-round draft pick Ben Revere.
I remember the day when Minnesota drafted Revere and were bashed by the media for picking a tiny (5' 9") high school outfielder in the first round.
Revere has rewarded Minnesota though, and holds a .326 career average in the minors. He is also a threat on the bases (44 steals in 2008 and 45 steals in 2009.)
While Revere possesses a weak throwing arm, his speed is his biggest weapon as evidenced by his highlight-reel catches in the past couple of weeks.
With Span sidelined on the seven-day DL, Revere has taken over his spot in the lineup and held his own in center field.
Minnesota is one of the worst offensive teams in baseball, and since they do not have many power threats in their lineup they need to get back to their ways of small ball.
With Revere in the lineup, opposing teams have to be wary of his speed on the basepaths.
Due to the fact he doesn't strike out a lot and is a contact hitter, the infield also always has to be ready in case Revere starts charging down the base line.
The 5' 9" speedster has rewarded Minnesota this season while providing stability and batting .272 in 26 games so far.
With Span and fellow outfielder Jason Kubel expected back later this week, the Twins need to do what they can to keep Revere in the lineup.
Delmon Young has struggled ever since he came to Minnesota and appears lackadaisical in the outfield. Kubel also is a below-average defensive outfielder.
If Minnesota were able to move Young or Kubel, as well as releasing Jason Repko—who really doesn't offer anything to the Twins that Revere doesn't already do better—they could keep their table setters in the lineup and get back to the days of the "Piranhas," as White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen named the top and bottom hitters of the Twins lineup.
There are reasons players such as Peter Bourjos, Elvis Andrus and others are continually in the lineups of their respective teams. Though they might not always hit, they provide instant speed on the basepaths and are exceptional defenders.
Revere has the same potential with Minnesota.
With Joe Mauer expected to return to Minnesota later this week, as well as other key contributors for the Twins, management would be wise to keep Revere, the tiny dynamo in the lineup who has captured the heart of many fans.