I'm looking forward to the beginning of the Twins' season this weekend and I thought now would be the perfect time to make some predictions. Because what's the point of having a blog if you don't make wild guesses about things with very little evidence to back you up?
The team seems to have put together the best club in recent memory this year and I think the Central is theirs for the taking. Perhaps I'm too optimistic but I think this is going to be a great year! These are my predictions for the coming year, feel free to list yours in the comments, I'd like to see if others are as positive about their chances as I am.
Twins MVP: Joe Mauer
This is easy. We all know he's the best catcher in baseball and it's not even close. He's one of the best all around hitters as well. He's worth every penny in that new contract
Rookie of the Year: Ben Revere
I just can't see the Twins playing this whole season without getting a second true centerfielder on the roster. Right now their outfield defense is looking pretty terrible and that's with Span (a pretty good fielder) on the field. On Span's days off they want to put Cuddyer in center? That has to be easily the worst defensive outfield in baseball with three far below average defensive players.
Revere looks to be a good player and I expect him to be on the team sooner rather than later.
3 Keys for the Twins:
1. Denard Span
As I said above, the biggest weak spot for the team this year is the outfield defense which is painful. An injury to Span would be catastrophic to the team. He's not their best player but he is playing an important position and one that the Twins are remarkably thin at. Span had a very good year last year and I think he is due for a breakout year, fresh off signing a new contract and at 26 years old he should be entering his prime right about now.
2. The New Guys
We need Hardy and Hudson to perform up to the levels that are expected. A second bad season in a row (which I don't expect) from Hardy or a big dropoff from Hudson would be tough to work through.
3. Francisco Liriano
He needs to be at least an average MLB pitcher and I think the Twins will be in good shape. If he gets anywhere near where he was his rookie season the could easily be one of the best teams in the AL.
Twins Record/Standings: I'm going with 91-71 for first place in the division. I think (hope?) they will have a solid, if not prohibitive, grip on the Central for most of the season and leave the White Sox and Tigers fighting it out for second.
That's all I've got. What do you think?