Since Spring Training results/individual performances generally mean very little (until they do), here is a look at some of what we know (and don’t) as Spring Training draws to a close and we approach the season…
Pretty confident that:
- Ervin Santana will be Ervin Santana (thank goodness). The “Ace”of the staff will give the team a chance to win most times out
- Brian Dozier will have another terrific year (he doesn’t need to hit 42 homers-a .275 batting avg and 25 HR will be his baseline. If he hits .285-.290 and his HR TOTAL “drops” to 30 It will be a monster year–and the Twins would be suddenly relevant.
Don’t know for sure, but leaning positive:
- Buxton has a breakout year (please be yes). He may or may not break from the gate and never look back, but come Oct 1 it will have been a big year. Twins’ 2017 success is dependent on Dozier being Dozier and Buxton and Sano breaking out. This will be the first year of the Buxton show.
- Gibson gets it together. Again, based on Spring Training ( which means nothing), the young man with winning stuff finds a consistent delivery. If he pitches just 5 games differently than the last two seasons we’re looking at 16-10.
- Adalberto Mejia becomes a valuable starter. (It looks like) he has velocity, can throw strikes, has 3 pitches, has poise and is lefthanded. Will take some lumps, but becomes a ” gives ’em a chance to win” starter in his first year.
- Taylor Rogers has a big year as a late inning lefty. He has the stuff and the delivery to be fantastic against lh hitters. This year he learns to command both sides of the plate vs rh hitters.
- Brandon Kintzler may not make us forget Mariano Rivera, but is solid as a closer ( again, please be yes).
- Jorge Polanco will hit a lot–enough to allow him to grow into ss.
- Kepler and Rosario will have big years
Don’t know for sure, but worried:
- Miguel Sano. Mainly because the Twins desperately need the big man to be a big man-like this year, please. Have I said Spring Training doesn’t mean anything? Okay, true, but at some point the manager really wants to see one of his most potent and important offensive pieces just tear up the Grapefruit League. Even if it means nothing it would make him-and the rest of us-feel so much better. Really hoping he, like many sluggers, is a way better hitter when the bell rings. AND…will he work hard enough on his defense at 3b?
- Joe Mauer. Joe is still an integral part of this offense. Can he get back to some semblance of the high OBP and avg. with RISP? It would be huge because he can hit in so many spots in the lineup-a lineup that I believe Mgr. Molitor will have to juggle around all year depending on who’s hot and who’s not-and a good Joe would be a great stabilizer.
Don’t know what to think:
- Phil Hughes. Worked on his change up all spring which is good–he needs that pitch. Did he/can he master it enough? Velocity not back yet. Will he find it?
- Hector Santiago. Twins need him to be consistent–just don’t know.
- Bullpen as a whole–just don’t know
Coming Sunday: I give you the bottom line for 2017…. or as one of the Roy Smalley’s Chin Music listeners asked: “Is there any reason to watch the Twins this year?”