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Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Twins' Span recalls Class A days

The ever-diligent David Laurila recently got Denard Span on tape, and Span had some interesting things to say about his early tutelage by the Twins:

I've written a fair amount about Span, largely because his career path has been so odd. I've seen other explanations for that oddness, and they seemed a little too neat.

So does this one.

"Isolated power" is a power metric figured by simply subtracting batting average from slugging percentage.

Here's the procession of Span's isolated power, beginning with his season-opening stint in Class A in 2005:

2005 Class A - .062
2005 Class AA - .060
2006 Class AA - .064
2007 Class AAA - .088
2008 Class AAA - .141
2008 Major Lg. - .138
2009 Major Lg. - .104
2010 Major Lg. - .109

If Span says the Twins tried to turn him into a slap hitter, I believe him. In 2003 and 2004, his first two professional seasons, he showed even less power than in 2005 and 2006, but it's worth mentioning that early on he struggled with leg injuries and a broken wrist bone.

Was there some magical transformation after that ex-scout saw Span slapping the ball in Double-A? If so, it's not apparent here, as his power didn't pick up until his first season in Triple-A and didn't really pick up until his second season at that level (and that was only 40 games).

Like I said, I believe Span. I also believe that when we see a career as unlikely as his -- really, the only thing that makes sense is that a first-round draft pick eventually became a pretty good major leaguer -- we can only begin to understand all the twists and turns therein.