In yet another lost season for the Minnesota Twins, who currently sit at an “impressive” 64 wins and are destined for 90+ losses once again, two players have shown promise in their debuts: young shortstop-turned-center-fielder-turned-back-to-shortstop Danny Santana and powerful first baseman/designated hitter Kennys Vargas.
Danny Santana has played 91 games for the Twins this season (or 20 less than Joe Mauer). He's hitting .320 with an OPS of .830. His seven home runs and 37 RBIs have propelled a leadoff spot that has been lacking since the trade of Denard Span.
He has also shown important versatility, capably handling play the outfield as well as his natural position of shortstop. This is especially vital considering the lackluster start of Aaron Hicks' career and the recent concussion of highly-regarded prospect Byron Buxton.
Santana can also get on base and steal one when needed (17 of 21). His on-base percentage of .357 shows promise considering that it's the first season he's faced big league pitching. I expect this to raise over the next few years as he gets more and more comfortable in the box.
Kennys Vargas was first introduced to Twins fans at the Rising Stars Game held during All-Star Weekend at Target Field last July. His power was on display during batting practice. He followed up a home run that cleared the batters-eye in center field with another shot over the right field seats and comically into the windshield of a truck parked on the plaza. In the game Vargas hit a screaming line drive off the wall in right for a double. Evidently Target Field can be a hitters park if you have the power.
In July the Twins called Kennys up from Double-A. In 180 at bats in the majors he is hitting .294 with eight home runs and 36 RBI in 43 games. His OPS is an impressive .799. Not as impressive, but expected for a power hitter, he has struck out 50 times in 180 at-bats while only walking 4 times.
If these two young players (both are 24) are a sign of the talent in the Twins' farm system the next few years could get interesting. If Oswaldo Arcia and Aaron Hicks can find their footing and become consistent producers offensively this team could be a good sleeper pick for next season.
After all Twins fans have gone though recently, we can only hope.
Peter Ripka is the co-host of the Rambling On podcast. He's a blogger and analyst who specializes in sports, particularly hockey and baseball. Reach him via email or find him on Facebook and Twitter.