Wednesday, March 15, 2017

2017 Pre-Season Profile: Minnesota Twins


The Twins had a breakout year in 2015, followed by a terrible year in 2016.  Which season is the sign of things to come?

My 2016 Predictions
3rd in AL Central
Byron Buxton will either win Rookie of the Year or play less than 81 games.

2016 Results
59-103, 5th in NL Central

There were high expectations on the Twins entering 2016, and they disappointed in just about every way possible.  They became the first team since 2013 to lose 100+ games after almost making the playoffs the year before.  There wasn't much of a difference in the roster either.  It was a very confusing turnaround.  As for my prediction, I was close.  He did not win Rookie of the Year while playing in 92 games in 2016.

Additions / Subtractions
Once again, the Twins made very little noise in the offseason.  They have a very young core they believe and want to give every opportunity to succeed.  The only significant move made was replacing veteran catching Kurt Suzuki with former-Astro Jason Castro.  The biggest news of the offseason ended up being the move they didn't make.  All Star Brian Dozier is still a Twin when most of the offseason rumors had him being traded to the Dodgers.

Most Important Hitter
Byron Buxton
For several years, we have been hearing about how Byron Buxton is league's next superstar.
He was mentioned as a can't miss prospect in the same way Mike Trout was can't miss.  Over the last few years, Buxton has mostly disappointed with injuries to blame for some of it.  However, a lot of it has just been a lack of performance.  He is only entering his age 23 season, but you get the idea that the success of the Twins rests on his shoulders this season.

Most Important Pitcher
Phil Hughes
Phil Hughes has been around so long, you would think he was pushing 40.  In fact, he is only entering his age 31 season.  He has had quite an inconsistent career, with 2016 being derailed by injury.  He has had flashes throughout his career of brilliance.  This is a make or break year for Hughes.  If he pitches well, the Twins will have success.  If he struggles or gets hurt again, the Twins will struggle and Hughes will struggle to keep his roster spot.

Player to Watch
Fernando Romero
If Hughes loses his spot in the rotation, Fernando Romero might be the player in line to take his place.  Romero is a hard-throwing right-hander whose path to the big leagues was derailed for a couple years due to an elbow injury.  2016 was his first season healthy in awhile, and he impressed.  If he stays healthy, look for him to make his debut this season and be a major part of the Twins' plans moving forward.

2017 Prediction
5th in NL Central
Looking at successful 2015 and the dreadful 2016, you get the idea that the anomaly was the former instead of the latter.  They are a young team that had a season where they played way over their heads for one year.  They came crashing back to earth in 2016, falling as far as possible.  They won't be as bad as last year in 2017, but they won't be very good either.  Their starting pitching is below average, and their lineup has a fair amount of holes and question marks.  I would be surprised if they finished anywhere but the cellar.

Fearless Prediction
Brian Dozier will be traded mid-season.
Brian Dozier was almost traded in the offseason, and honestly he should have been.  He is in the prime of his career coming of his best season to date.  His stock will not get much higher than it was over the last few months.  With that said, once the Twins realize they don't have a shot this year, they will soon realize the best thing Dozier can do for his team is help them rebuild and get even younger.  He will be a coveted target at the Trade Deadline for sure.

No comments:

Post a Comment