Splitsville: Denard Span v2.1

"Splitsville" is a series of articles on the Minnesota Twins' prospects that we'll be doing throughout their minor league careers. In version two/chapter one (v2.1) of Denard Span, we'll look how he's doing against righties and lefties, what he is doing at home and on the road, and more in his second season in New Britain.

Home Sweet Home: Span has hit considerably better at home this season, posting a .303 batting average in 23 games. If you compare that to his .256 road average, it is clear to see that he enjoys the home cooking. He is going to have to hit on the road if he is going to keep his overall average above .300, which he should start doing very soon.

He has played two less games on the road this season, but his statistics are no even close. He has eight more home hits, has hit his only home run, and has scored eight more times. The only difference is he is a better run producer on the road, posting nine ribbies as opposed to five at home.

May Day: At the beginning of the season, Span was one of the hottest hitters in the Eastern League. He and Matthew Moses had formed the best one-two punch in the EL, and they were both giving the opposing pitchers fits. May has been a different story for Span, who is mired in one of his worst months of his professional career.

In May, Span is batting only .238, and has seen his batting average drop from .338 to .281. He also is not getting on base, as he has drawn only five walks in 26 games, while striking out 13 times. Though he has stolen six bases, Span needs to get a little more patient at the plate as the season wears on, or else he is going to find himself in New Britain for the entire year.

All Right: Span bats from the left side, so it is only natural that he is going to have a tough time against left-handed pitching. However, the splits show that he is having more than just a hard time this season, as he is batting only .233 against southpaws in 43 at-bats. Hitting left-handed pitching is something he is going to have to get better at if he is going to continue to progress through the farm system.

Against righties, it is a different story, as Span has always shown the ability to hit them, and hit them hard. He is batting a respectable .296 against them this season, and all of his four extra-base hits have come against righties. He also has shown the prowess to steal off right handers more, swiping seven of his nine stolen bases when there is a righty on the mound.

Starting It Up: If there is one thing that Span does better than anybody else in the Twins' farm system, it is his ability to start a rally. He is once again showing that ability in 2006, as he is batting .303 with the bases empty this season. In 122 at-bats in that situation, Span has stroked 37 base hits, and has hit his only home run of the season.

On the opposite side of the spectrum is his inability to drive in runs, as he is currently batting only .238 with runners on. Still, this is not the part of the game that is going to bring Span to Minnesota, so most of the Twins' brass is not worried about how he hits with runners on base. If he continues to set the table, he is going to be just fine.

Beyond The Numbers: Span is the kind of prospect who most consider to be can't-miss, so the Twins are not going to worry about his statistics. Of course they want him to show he can produce at every level of the farm system, but as long as he can set the table and move runners over, they are going to continue to promote him. The only thing they are worried about is his inability to hit left-handed pitching, which is something that he has been working on everyday.

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