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For this Twins edition, Minnesota Sports Ramble god-king Erik Ritland and Twins/Wild analyst Peter Ripka discuss the Twins lineup, Kepler as leadoff man, and overall impressions two weeks in.
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It's early in the season, but what are your impressions of the Twins lineup after a handful of games?
Peter: I have been pleased with them, outside of Rosario, who finally got his first hit of the season Tuesday in KC.
Erik: It's such a small sample size, but they have easily exceeded my expectations on basically every level. I mean, for a team that could barely score runs for the first couple games against the Tribe. But with that rotation it's easier not to be as hard on them for those games at least.
Do you like Max Kepler as a leadoff guy?
Peter: I'm not sure who else you would have in the spot. I've always liked Kepler and I think he could embrace the role of a lead off hitter.
Erik: He has basically all that you need in a leadoff hitter: he can get on base. As long as he's able to, and has good speed, he'll thrive in the position. He might become one of the best leadoff hitters the Twins have had in recent memory, at least as far as utility goes since he gets on base so well and can at least occasionally hit in the clutch.
Byron Buxton has missed a few games after smashing into the center field wall a couple of times. Will this always be a concern with Buxton? Do you like his reckless style of outfield play, or is it too dangerous?
Peter: Reckless isn't quite the way I'd describe it. I'd say he's over-aggressive. As long as he plays that way, injuries will always be an issue of his. It is a very entertaining style of play, though. He needs to find more of a happy middle ground, remaining aggressive but being more aware of his placement on the field.
Erik: I do think that this style of play is too dangerous. He doesn't have to put his body on the line to be one of the best center fielders in the game. He can just get to the balls that nobody else can get to due to his speed. The way he throws around his body is a problem that I fear will continue to rear its ugly head, and might end up costing the Twins some games.
Erik Ritland is a writer and musician from St. Paul, Minnesota. Founder of Rambling On, he has written hundreds of articles and hosted almost a hundred podcasts. He began his career as Lead Staff Writer for Minnesota culture blogs Hometown Hustle and Curious North. He directs all of the content on Rambling On, created and maintains the website, and is social media content director. He is also copy editor and writer for Music in Minnesota. Support Erik's music on his music site or BandCamp, reach him via email, or find him on Facebook and Twitter.
Peter Ripka is the original Rambling On podcast co-host and has been a contributor since its inception. He’s currently the Wild analyst, a position he’s held for several years. A Wild and Twins season ticket holder, his writing combines the passion of a fan and the insight of a beat writer.