As the Twins open their season with a new-look middle infield of Tsuyoshi Nishioka and Alexi Casilla, I got to thinking about the off-season again. Losing Orlando Hudson seemed inevitable but was disappointing nevertheless. When the Twins traded J.J. Hardy for a couple of minor league relievers I was furious. I have expressed my doubts about Nishioka all off-season long and Casilla, well, he doesn’t exactly inspire a whole lot of confidence from an offensive-standpoint. When I was thinking about it today, however, I realized that much of my disappointment and concern about this middle-infield duo comes from the potential I perceived Hudson and Hardy to have. What if we judged last year’s middle-infield based on the actual results (objective) rather than what we perceive their potential to be (subjective)? Would that change how I feel about a Nishioka/Casilla duo?
Last year, the Twins had a number of different guys play either Shortstop or 2nd base. Of the guys who played shortstop for more than a couple of starts, the list includes J.J. Hardy (95 starts), Nick Punto (31), Alexi Casilla (20) and Brendan Harris (9). The list of 2nd basemen used includes Orlando Hudson (123 starts), Alexi Casilla (16), Matt Tolbert (14), and Nick Punto (8). In other words, both Opening Day starters were injured for fairly substantial periods of time last year, causing the Twins to use backups on a number of occasions. Going even further, here is the specific offensive output for each position (irrespective of which player was starting):