Minnesota Twins Preview
Baseball is nearly back! Opening Day is always one of my most anticipated days of the year, regardless of how bleak the Twins’ chances look. And this year, I think things look very, very bleak. Just how bad? Wait until you see my prediction for their final record.
Last year’s team featured historically bad hitting and historically bad pitching. The front office addressed one of those two areas, upgrading the starting pitching. Offensively, they will need virtually every single player to either a) bounce back after a down year (Plouffe, among others), b) have a break-out season (Hicks, Arcia, etc.), or c) not get injured (Mauer, Willingham, etc.).
I just participated in two fantasy drafts and of the 250 or so players drafted, really only Mauer and Glen Perkins provide any useful fantasy value. Maybe Dozier in a deep league. That’s where it ends. Roughly 1% of the players drafted are Twins.
Here’s my absolute best-case scenario for 2014.
The pitching is improved and is keeping the opponents off the board in the early innings, allowing the bats to relax a little and possibly jump out to a few early leads before turning it over to a great bullpen. Maybe a lot of 3-2 or 4-3 wins. Mauer is healthy and thriving at first base, not missing substantial time. Byron Buxton and Alex Meyer make their debuts and suddenly fielding a competitive team in 2015 seems very realistic. The team goes 81-81, finishing third in the division.
But here’s the likelier scenario as I see things playing out.
The offense is shut out often in April, thereby adding stress to the pitching staff which feels it needs to be perfect in order to win a game. Lots of ugly 9-1, 7-0 types of losses early on, burying the team in the standings. The injury bug bites key veterans and a carrousel of AAA players are forced into the lineup, striking out at a historic pace. Players with marginal value such as Kevin Correia, Mike Pelfrey, Brian Duensing, and Jared Burton are traded off for prospects. The team at least earns the #1 pick in the 2015 draft.
I am really worried that this team is going to set some records for offensive futility this year. I think they’ll rank last in the AL in runs scored and home runs, and first in strikeouts. Last year’s team scored the second-fewest runs in team history, and then they proceeded to trade away Justin Morneau and Ryan Doumit (2nd and 5th on the team in OPS in ’13), and essentially replaced them with even more inferior hitters.
My Twins prediction for 2014… 57-105.
And now for my overall predictions…
|AL East||W||L||GB||NL East||W||L||GB|
|NY Yankees*||91||71||8||NY Mets||80||82||12|
|AL Central||W||L||GB||NL Central||W||L||GB|
|AL West||W||L||GB||NL West||W||L||GB|
AL Wild Card: Tampa Bay def. NY Yankees
NL Wild Card: Arizona def. Atlanta
ALDS: Boston def. Tampa Bay, Texas def. Detroit
NLDS: St Louis def. Arizona, LA Dodgers def. Washington
ALCS: Boston def. Texas
NLCS: St Louis def. LA Dodgers
World Series: St. Louis def. Boston
AL MVP: Mike Trout, LAA
NL MVP: Paul Goldschmidt, ARI
AL CY: Chris Sale, CHW
NL CY: Jose Fernandez, MIA
AL MGR: Joe Maddon, TB
NL MGR: Mike Matheny, STL
AL ROY: Yordano Ventura, KC
NL ROY: Billy Hamilton, CIN