Posted by Brady
This decade in Minnesota Twins baseball, there has not been a bigger question mark than Alexi Casilla. He has shown potential in the minors to be an absolute stud. With a .297/.370/.371 line, he has more than enough speed to make up for his lack of power, and his UZR/150 at second base and shortstop suggest he could be a great glove to have in the middle infield.
But defense has never been the issue with Casilla. Apart from a few mental errors, he has been sterling in the field. With Casilla, the problem is how notoriously streaky the man is. In 437 plate apperances in 2008, he put up a line of .280/.333/.374. He hit 7 home runs, and stole only 7 bases (even though he could easily take a lot more.) And he always seems to come up in what some people call “clutch” situations. He was worth 1.2 WAR. After 2008, he figured to be a big piece of the Twins future. Then, came 2009..
202/.280/.259. Worth -1.2 WAR. No home runs, though his stolen base total went up to 11 (would’ve been 20 plus had he walked more). There was nothing good offensively about Alexi in 2009, and when the Twins sent him to Rochester and put Nick Punto at second and got Orlando Cabrera to play shortstop, the Twin Cities let out a collective gasp of relief. His decent glove was sacrificed for Orlando Cabrera’s wretched glove. But, they won. And won a lot. Then came the 2009 one game play-0ff. Bottom of the 12th inning, with Carlos Gomez on first, and Alexi Casilla up to bat against Fernando Rodney, Alexi slapped an outside fastball to on the ground to right field, and Gomez cruised around the bases and slid head first into home, beating the throw from Ryan Raburn by several steps. Casilla won the game for the Twins, and he had once again came up when they needed him too. Every Twins fan wanted him to be traded. Myself included. Carlos Gomez was turned into JJ Hardy, and Alexi Casilla was turned into Alexi Casilla of 2008. Great glove, decent bat.
I still think what we saw from Casilla in 2009 is what we are going to see from him in the future, and I hope he gets flipped in the offseason to anyone. For just about anything. With 3rd base looking solved, and the likelyhood of the team offering Orlando Hudson a longer contract (and even if they don’t, Nick Punto will be fine)And a year to late.