Thursday, July 29, 2010

Going In-Depth: Jason Repko

Twins fans all over the U.S. are basking in the team's recent 6-1 road-trip which saw them light up the scoreboard in a historic fashion despite the absence of Justin Morneau. It's been an enjoyable run and I'm hoping for more of the same in this weekend's series with the floundering Mariners. One player who caught my eye on the recent road-trip was Jason Repko, a recent call-up of the Twins. I wanted to learn a little more about it him and here's what I found...

Jason Repko was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1999 amateur draft with the 37th pick in the 1st round. He was coming fresh out of high-school at the time and during his senior year he hit .581 with 18HRs and 14 SBs (wikipedia). After a couple of early career injuries (torn hamstring & broken vertebra), the Dodgers decided to switch him from the infield to the outfield. Repko performed solidly in the minors for a couple years before making his Major-League debut in 2005. Injuries ended up robbing him of more playing time in 2006 and 2007 and he spent 2008 and most of 2009 in AAA before the Dodgers released him prior to the start of spring training this year. The Twins signed Repko to a minor league deal and on June 24th, they called him up after he hit .281/.368/.412 in 60 games at AAA Rochester.

For the first month or so that he was up with the Twins, Repko wasn't used much. During the recent road-trip, however, he received some regular playing time and came through big in the last 5 games (though, to be fair, who didn't?) collecting 8 hits in 23 at-bats, driving in 3 and scoring 7 runs. Then there was that spectacular catch in center a couple of games ago, seriously, check that out, one of the better plays by a Twins outfielder this year. When given the time, Repko has come through.

At 29 years old, the ceiling on Repko is pretty limited. His professional baseball career has been marred by all sorts of injuries and his hitting line when he has been healthy hasn't been all that special. For the Twins, he's been a nice momentary improvement defensively in the outfield and a pleasant surprise at the plate, but there is a log-jam in the outfield right now and no matter how well Repko does, it's likely that he'll go back to a pinch-hitting role or be sent back to Triple-A when Justin Morneau comes back from the DL.

No new news on the Twins and the trade deadline. Next up, the Mariners in to town for a 3-game set, another winnable series, pitching matchups are:

Friday: Doug Fister (3-6; 3.56) v. Scott Baker (8-9; 5.00)

Saturday: Felix Hernandez (7-7; 2.86) v. Kevin Slowey (9-5; 4.76)

Sunday: Luke French (0-1; 6.39) v. Francisco Liriano (9-7; 3.35)

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