The Savior?

Prior to the 2010 season, the Twins signed Jim Thome with the original intent of him being a pinch-hitter and occasional starter for the team. However, once Justin Morneau suffered his concussion in Toronto, it created an opening for Thome to become the full-time designated hitter. All Thome did with this opportunity was turn in his best offensive season (in terms of AVG/OBP/SLG and wOBA*) since 2002 when he was still a member of the Cleveland Indians, as he hit .283/.412/.627 with 25 home runs in only 340 plate appearances. Extrapolating those 25 home runs over 600 plate appearances, Thome could have theoretically hit 40+ homers last season.

* “Weighted on-base average, ” an all-encompassing offensive statistic on the same scale as OBP. Thome’s wOBA was .437, which was by far much better than the league average .321 wOBA.

This year, we have a similar situation as Thome was re-signed to again man the same role he was supposed to have last season. However, Tsuyoshi Nishioka broke his leg in the first full week of the season and Justin Morneau has been working himself back into game shape, and these issues have created openings for Michael Cuddyer to move to second and first base, creating the domino effect again with Jason Kubel to get Thome into the lineup as the DH.

Thome has yet to catch fire this season (like the majority of the offense) but if he does, he could be the savior to a hurting offense for the second consecutive year.


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