Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Five Twins Predictions

Five random predictions for the 2010-2011 season, just cause I REALLY want to go to bed. I suspect you have your own – throw them in the comment section below.

1. A lot of outfielders are going to have really big years.

Delmon is turning 27. Span gets past last year’s sophomore slump. Cuddyer’s contract year adds a little “F U” to his attitude. And Kubel progresses to the “mean”, as in “not Mr. Nice Guy anymore.” There might be some problems with this offense, but it ain’t coming from those guys.

2. Neither Joe Nathan or Matt Capps is the closer for this team in September.

This will be the major source of rending of garments and gnashing of teeth. I don’t know who will be the closer in September, and he may not even be in the organization yet. But I think this is going to be THE topic of the summer. And I’m really, really, REALLY not looking forward to that.

3. Alexi Casilla is fine.

By fine, I mean he grades out slightly above average defensively and puts up an OPS around 700. Which will earn him lavish praise given how low our expectations are about shortstops.

4. Someone who is not in the starting rotation right now wins 10 games this year.

There are just too many arms – Kevin Slowey, Kyle Gibson, Glen Perkins and even Scott Diamond - waiting their turn. And, to be brutally honest, there aren’t any sure things in the starting rotation.

5. Twins win the AL Central.

I’m not sure how they win 90 games given prediction #2, but this still looks like a good team. The biggest question marks in my mind are:

a) Can they stay healthy? I think so. Health has been such a focal point this offseason, I think everyone is paying special attention to it. My biggest concern on that front is Joe Mauer.

b) Can the bullpen do the job? I think so. I like a lot of the guys that are going to be given middle inning jobs. And I trust the coaching staff to eventually solve the gaps that might develop at the end of games.

c) Can Tsuyoshi Nishioka replace Orlando Hudson? I think so. I’m mostly concerned about whether or not he can get on base batting from the second spot in the order. From what he’s shown this spring, I’m optimistic.

If those questions are answered correctly, this team isn’t much different than last year’s division winner. It may be a rocky start to the year, but Gardenhire’s teams seem to thrive once they have shed expectations. The Twins make another strong second-half charge and edge out the Tigers and White Sox.


Ryan said...

Can they stay healthy is the No. 1 variable without question. I'm looking at you Justin.

Anonymous said...

I didn't know Kirk could pitch. But if we need a gimped out left-handed pinch hitter/bench coach who can carouse with the Dazzle Man, he's our guy.

Josh J. said...

Last year wasn't Denard Span's "sophomore" year. He played 93 games in '08. But regardless, Span hitting like he did in '08 & '09 would be huge for our lineup.

Great post!

John said...

Sorry about the Kirk/Kyle thing. Going too fast, too tired. FIxed.

Matt said...

Wow no capps or nathan closing? John can you explain?

Not sure about that. I like a bold predictions. (there is never enough of them.) It would be a shocker. What like $18MM tied up in these two this year?
I've been telling people for a while to really watch Capps' fastball, it is dead flat. The will figure him out in the AL soon.

Josh said...

1. Seems reasonable. I especially think Span will bounce back.

2. Disagree. By Sept, Nathan will be the closer, even if he has a blip at the start of the season. I just don't see Gardy running through 3 guys at closer.

3. Hope this is true. I have real fear that Gardy starts yanking him in and out of the lineup every time he boots one, regardless of the rest of his play. I think your assessment of his hitting is about right, which I can live with in the 9-hole.

4. Could happen. Especially since one of the reliever could end up as a vulture...

5. Agreed. They actually have the least question marks of any team in the ALC

a) health is a concern for every team; the Twins will have issues if hitters start going down, but have plenty of reinforcements for the pitching staff (which most teams don't).

b) Bullpens are the most easily replaceable/cobbled together. I think the pen will be fine.

c) Nishioka looks perfect so far, but Spring Training doesn't mean anything. But I think he'll be a very good replacement for Hudson. Defensively he looks great, and he should fit nicely in the 2-spot.

Jesse said...

1) The Bullpen will be fine
The Twins have enough of a track record that I am taking it for granted that the bullpen will work out this year.
2) Casilla will fail at shortstop
Casilla will continue to make stupid lack of concentration plays out in the field and his .650-.700 OPS will not make up for it.
3) Twins will win the AL Central
We will win 90-95 games while the White Sox fall just short and the Tigers implode in the second half.
4) Twins will lose in the first round of the playoffs again
This streak is in their heads and the “Never too high, never too low” approach that works in the season doesn’t work in the playoffs.
5) Gardenhire will not receive significant blame from the media for this
Gardy will go out with his Golly-Ge-Whilikers attitude and praise his guys for busting their rears out there and in general the media will not hold him accountable for his continued failure in the playoffs. No serious columnist or blogger will call for his firing.

Anonymous said...

Delmon was born September 14, 1985--doesn't he turn 26 this year?

Dan said...

Kevin Slowey for closer!