Hi there baseball fans, my name is Troy Kocur, I believe I am the only Canadian writer for mlbdirt.com, I will be previewing different teams during Spring Training and giving you the readers where I think certain teams will finish in the standings, and how certain players will perform. I hope that you enjoy the articles that I put on here. The reason I started with the Twins is that they are a team that is due to do better but with so much uncertainty around the ball club it makes for an interesting topic to talk about! So here we go.
I believe that the Minnesota Twins will finish 4th in the American League Central. My reasoning for me saying that is……Which Joe Mauer will show up for the Twins this year? Will Justin Morneau get over the 2 year concussion problems? Is Matt Capps the right answer for the closer role? Will Alexi Casilla be the primary SS all year for the Twinkies? The answer to all of these questions will be answered over the season, but like I said there is a lot of uncertainty in the ball club. I believe the race between 3rd and 4th place in the division will be within 2 games. I project that the Minnesota Twins have a record of 71W-91L. Let’s have a look at what the Twins did this off-season.
Aaron Thompson (RP/PIT), J.R. Towles (C/HOU), Jamey Carroll (SS/LAD), Jared Burton (RP/CIN), Jason Bulger (RP/LAA), Jason Marquis (SP/ARZ), Jeff Gray (RP/SEA), Josh Willingham (OF/OAK), Matt Maloney (RP/CIN), Ryan Doumit (C/PIT), Sean Burroughs (3B/ARZ), Steven Pearce (1B/PIT)
So as it looks like the Twins added a lot of players, how many of them are going to be a factor on the team? They lost 3 big players from last year in Nathan, Kubel and Cuddyer, that will hurt on and off the field. Bringing in Willingham was a nice move, he will probably be the offensive leader for the twins this year unless for some reason Mauer or Morneau do something they haven’t done in years, and that’s put up great numbers! If you are a Twins fan sit back and enjoy when the Detroit Tigers come to Target Field other than that its going to be a long season. I wanna preview a couple players in Josh Willingham, Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau and Matt Capps, so lets get started!
Josh Willingham is a fun player to watch, he goes about his business like its another day at the office. He is very quiet around the media, quiet in the locker room, but his bat does all his talking! Willingham had a nice season in the tough hitting confines of the Oakland Coliseum last year with a line of 29HR/98RBI/4SB/.246AVG. Despite the drop in AVG it was a really nice year. Willingham is a career .260 hitter and should put up very similar numbers even on a not so good offensive team, but hey…he played in OAK last year!
Joe Mauer is apparently back and ready for action behind home plate, he says that he is fine and feeling better than ever….well I hope he is, but who knows what could happen to him this season. The Twins organization said that he is their catcher and will be their catcher. In the last 3 seasons the most games he has played is 138, which in turn means there will be a DL stint at some point even if he is so called “healthy”. Will Mauer’s numbers from 2009 ever come back? Highly doubtful, I wish they would but if you add his HR totals from 2010 and 2011 (12), that’s not even half of what he hit in 2009 (28). Here is what I think we can expect from Joe Mauer this year.
O’ Canada…..well being a fellow Canadian I thought I’d preview the one time amazing 1B Morneau. He is now 30 years old and played only 150 games in his last two seasons. I’m sure Morneau and baseball fans didn’t see this coming and it’s very unfortunate for a player of Justin Morneau’s stature. Morneau recently told the media, teammates, family and coaches that if his concussion symptoms flare up like they have the previous 2 years that he would do the right thing and hang up his cleats and retire from baseball. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen. Doctors have cleared Morneau for everyday activities and he has even played in a couple of Spring Training games already, which is a great sign. So with fingers crossed here is what I believe Justin Morneau’s numbers will look like.
Well after Joe Nathan went south and became the new closer of the Texas Rangers, the Minnesota Twins decided to save a few bucks and give the 9th inning duties to Matt Capps again. This is a good move for the Twins seeing that they will not be making a playoff push this year. Matt Capps is only 28 years old and after 1 bad year people around the league say that he is a 8th inning guy at best, if you look at his numbers when he was in Pittsburgh, they’re pretty damn good. In 2010 he had 42 saves and a 2.47 ERA. Minnesota does have insurance if Capps falters again this year in Glen Perkins. Capps will have numbers in my opinion, something like this.
The Twins will have a rough year in the American League Central this year but will be oh so close to finishing 3rd in the division. Like I said earlier, if Mauer, Morneau and Capps all rebound they could easily finish 3rd, but its only Spring Training and too early too tell. Stay tuned for a preview of another American League team….Coming soon!!!!
Be sure to follow Troy Kocur on twitter: @YORT_KO