Monday, March 2, 2009

2008 Minnesota Twins Prediction Preview

Well, the 2009 baseball season is upon us, and there is around a month until opening day. I always love the beginning of the season, just like I do with the NFL kickoff, because everyone is starting with a clean slate. I think this year will be a VERY entertaining year, as there are a lot of old faces in new places, as well as some teams coming back that are hungry for a repeat of 2008.

Of course, the most important team for me is the Twins, who have taken a few chances during the off season on some free agents that may net them some improvement over 2008. I think they have as much of a chance to win the division as they did at the beginning of last year, but this time things are a bit different. First off, everyone is a year older, and that will be huge for the Twins' young rotation and outfield corps. They are one of the youngest teams in those respects and I think the years worth of experience will prove to be important. The other thing that will be intrinsic to the Twins success or failure is the other teams in the division, as the Royals and Indians both got somewhat better, and the Tigers only need to put it together to be a perennial contender. Last year the Tigers epically fell apart, and ended up in a race for second to last with the Royals. I doubt it will be the same this year, but the Tigers are on the losing end of age with both Sheffield, Ordonez, and a few others decending down the peak of their careers in my opinion. Although, with Granderson and Cabrera, they have a young core that could make them the team to beat in the central. Add Verlander, who is coming off an awful 2008 campaign, and you could be more than just division champs. Of course, that is all if they can convert their talent on paper to success in the win column.

The Twins nucleus is the same as last year with a new face peppered here and there in the line up. I expect that if they perform at the same level they did last year, we can probably be near or at the top of the central.

Joe Mauer

Mr. Mauer is my favorite player as I have well documented on this site, and I will say that he should have been the MVP last year. I don’t have a talent for Sabremetrics, but it has been shown on numerous sites, that his season should have been the one. Of course, because baseball writers are about as smart and connected as Beckett is to the card industry, Pedroia got the nod.
This year should be a little different as off season kidney surgery has the Twins taking it slow this spring with Joe. This means he will have to work on his timing and swing as he can, but it probably wont develop until a week or two into the season at best. Joe is one of the most competitive guys on the team, which means he will work harder than anyone to come back strong, but that can only offer so much.

My prediction: .310 avg, 70 rbi, 10 HR - yes I know that this is a prediction for the last things you can use to measure a player, but as said before, if I could use sabres more to my advantage I would. Plus, these stats are more universal and people will get a better measure of my prediction.

Justin Morneau

Morneau had his third amazing season in a row and finished second in the MVP voting. He has immesurable power and improved his hitting skills so that his OPS, his SLG % and all the stuff like that went up. Last year, I thought he would have a humungous year and I was good to have that inclination. The guy is a monster.

I expect that Morneau will be as good or better than he was last year because of his futher experience, and lack of any injuries coming in. I think he has a good shot at being at the top of the MVP voting again if the Twins have a good season, but who knows with them. Morneau has had horrible second halves for the last few years, and I hope he doesn’t tail off like he did before. That would doom us to another playoff-less season.

My prediction: .301 avg, 135 rbi, 35 HR

Fransisco Liriano

The F-bomb came back with a vengence last year after being sent down to the minors due to being sucky during the beginning of the season. I cant tell you how good that made me feel, especially when he looked like he wouldn’t ever be back like he was before his injury.

This year should be more of the same from last year, as I expect that with a few new pitches and a better arm, he should be back to his old self. He wont ever have that nasty slider that he used to, but he should manage with what he has.

My Prediction: 3.50 era, 150+ strikeouts, 1.1 WHIP - yes, I know, Wins and losses are not included here. Its because they suck as a stat. The others arent much better, but its better than fucking wins and losses.

The Rest of the Rotation

2008 was a great year for Scott Baker, Nick Blackburn, and Kevin Slowey. All are young guys who have really nasty stuff. The only thing is that they didn’t have the experience to make that nasty stuff work as it should for them. They went deep into counts and gave up a TON of HRs, and it was tough to watch them at times.

This year, I guarantee will be a different story. There is nothing more valuable to a pitcher than experience, and I think that with good coaching, they will be one of the better rotations out there in a year or two. Only time will tell if they can put some of those pieces together early so the Twins can have a chance.

Joe Crede

Crede spent most of 2008 dealing with his aching back. He hasn’t played a full injury free season since 2006. Despite those obvious deterrants, he is still an upgrade over last year, as long as he can stay in playing shape. He should have a good bat, and a great glove, but I don’t see him lasting the year. That means that Brian Buscher, Alexi Casilla and Brendan Harris will need to step up.

My Prediction: .275 avg, 48 rbi, 10 HR (115 games)

Overall, I think the Twins have a real shot if they can duplicate the things that made them successful in 2008. If they can improve in the field and even a little at the plate, they can be great. If they drop in any category, you can expect them near the bottom in the division.

My Prediction: 85-77, 2nd place.


  1. Joe Mauer is awesome. I can't wait for him to be a member of the Boston Red Sox in 2011. :)

  2. I think their division will be the most competitive. I can easily see the Twins, Tigers, and Indians fighting until the last weekend of the year. I can't figure the White Sox out, but they could be in the mix too.

    I'd like to see Carlos Gomez cut down on K's and improve his OBP... he's fun to watch.

    The Twins were so awesome in 1 run games last year - hopefully that trend continues for them, but that will be hard to duplicate.