Minnesota's in the Middle

All things Minnesota politics

Monday, February 19, 2007

It's finally here

Looks like we made it through another winter, not only are tempetures forcasted to be above freezing from here on out, but Twins pitchers and catchers have reported for spring training, add to that daylight savings time has been moved up to March 11th and were almost ready declare it beer and brats day.

All that being said we have another great Twins season to look forward, and thus it's time for the second annual Minnesota's in the Middle Twins prediction segment. Last year I was remarkably accurate with a few exceptions.

We'll start this year with pitching

Johan Santana - the debate is over, the best pitcher in baseball, at least until Fransisco Liriano is healthy again

Boof Bonser - He filled Brad Radke's shoes late last year just fine, and while their will probably be a few bumps in the road I expect him to be a reliable #2 starter 15-18 wins and an ERA well under 4.00 should be expected

Carlos Silva - last year I called him the most underated pitcher in baseball, and clearly I missed on that, he needs to get the double play ball back or he will have an ERA approaching 5 which is not good enough for the #3 spot on a playoff contender

Ramon Ortiz - he's a medioce pitcher but has experiance, really he's a typical #4 starter

Then we have the battle for the 5 spot between Matt Garza, Kevin Slowey, Glen Perkins, Scott Baker, and Sidney Ponson. Between that group we should find what will become out 3rd best starter this season. Best bet Perkins wins the spot and does not dissapoint, look for Garza to be the first to take over should someone get injured.

On to position players

Catcher - last year Joe Mauer won the major league batting title, and was just barley edged out Mike Redmond for the best hitting catcher on the Twins roster. Look for Mauer to add some more power and maintain a batting title contending average as he should be the favorite to win AL MVP this year.

1st base - AL MVP Justin Morneau, I just called Joe Mauer the favorite to win the AL MVP, but that doesn't mean I expect any less from Morneau, in fact I wouldn't be the least bit shocked if Mourneau contends for the triple crown.

2nd base - Luis Castillo, this is getting fun no good reason he can't hit over .300 again heck he is also a contender for the batting title

SS Jason Bartlett, did I say this is fun or what? Are we so sure he won't win the AL batting title? in any event if he regresses significantly we still have a great defensive SS hitting above .275 and those are hard to find.

3B -Nick Punto/Jeff Cirrilo if managed to perfection we might see production from the 3rd base spot that rivals the SS and 2B spot as it did last year with Punto's career year. But lets be honest this is our weakest offensive position and if we get .285 with 15 HR's we should consider ourselves lucky.

LF - Jason Kubel/Rondell White two good bats that need to produce this year, we could get .270 with 15 HR's out of the spot or we could get .320 with 30 HR's

CF - Torii Hunter coming off one of the most costly defensive lapses of his career in the playoffs Hunter remains a clear cut gold glove favorite, we can only hope that with Mauer and Morneau setting the table he can keep up the offensive performance of last year.

RF - Michale Cuddyer a solid year last year that he should be able to repeat. He's nothing spectacular, but he has a bat you can depend on to do something to score you a run or two every night given he should come up twice with runners in scoring position.

Bullpen - Crain, Rincon, Neshak, Nathen... as good as any in baseball. We shall see if Neshak can keep it up as more and more batters get their second and third chance against him.

Overall this team is as good as last year despite the questionable bottom half of the starting pitching. Should win the division, but I really need Liriano back to predict any major playoff run, but with baseball if you get to the postseason there's always a chance to win the world series.


Blogger Dana said...

I couldn't agree more with your assessment of the Twins! It's 2007, so GO TWINS! World Series here we come...


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