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 Minnesota Twins > Players > 5 Michael Cuddyer; 3rd Base
     
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Michael Brent Cuddyer

5 Michael Cuddyer; 3rd Base

Name: Michael Brent Cuddyer
Birth date: 03/27/1979
Birthplace: Norfolk, VA
Height: 6-2
Weight: 220
School: N/A
Draft: 1997 1st round -Twins
Nickname: Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Position: 3rd Base / Outfield
Experience: 4 years
2005 Salary: 347,500
Contract Status: 1 year deal for 2005 was renewed on 3/4/2005
Service Time: 1.157

Minnesota Twin, Michael Cuddyer, was born on March 27, 1979 in Norfolk, Virginia. Michael attended Great Bridge High School in Chesapeake, Virginia where he played baseball, basketball and football. He was named to the All-State baseball team during junior and senior years. He set school records for home runs, hits, and RBI’s. Among many other awards and honors, he was selected to play on USA Today's All-Star team in 1997 along with his classmate John Curtice who was later drafted in the first round by the Red Sox. After graduating in 1997, Michael immediately began his professional baseball career playing in the minors.

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Michael made his major league debut on September 18, 2001 for the Minnesota Twins. He played sporadically as a fill-in up until 2004. Slotted to be the Twins' right fielder, he ended up playing third base when Corey Koskie was hurt, second base when Luis Rivas was hurt or slumping, first base as a defensive replacement for Justin Morneau, and the outfield or DH when needed. During 2004, it was clear that Michael had infield ability and at the beginning of the 2005 season, Michael was made the starting third baseman after the departure of veteran Corey Koskie to the Toronto Blue Jays by way of free agency.

Everyone expected Michael to develop into a 25+ homer player, but injuries, slumps and other prospects have kept him from emerging as a regular. Strong enough to hit homers to any part of the park, Michael excels at driving the ball to right-center. He has a really strong arm and is able to pick up the ball off the bat at third and get it quickly to first to make the play when needed.
Michael has had a promising career in the minors and was strong for the Twins in 2005. He was fourth in the club for doubles and homers, fifth in hits, tied for fifth in walks, sixth in total games. He established career-highs in virtually all offensive categories despite surgery to repair lateral meniscus tear in his right knee.

Despite a rough year at third base where he made 15 errors, Michael Cuddyer remains a strong prospect in the eyes of the Twins management. He will have a chance again this spring to earn a starting spot -- but not at the corner infield position he played in 2005. The outfield is the first spot he will get a chance at, but there could be another interesting move in store. If the Twins don't land a big bat to put in the designated hitter spot, the Twins might try Michael at that position. The Twins should give Michael a full-time position and see if he can be an everyday threat. He could provide an intriguing mix of power and affordability if the Twins can give him 500 at-bats.

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