The 2010 season starts for the Minnesota Twins starts in just three or four days, depending on when I actually get this stupid thing finished and published (internet connection being funky tonight). Josh Johnson, last week, challenged Twins Bloggers to make a series of predictions about the season. He also provided a suggested list of predictions. However, because I am contrary, I will do his, and also some of my own. So… (drumroll, please), your 2010 Minnesota Twins Season Predictions!
My first, gut instinct was to say that the Twins MVP will be the obvious answer: The 23-million-dollar man. However, on further thought (and further beverages), I’m tempted to say the MVP will be Drew Butera, just to be horribly contrary. This is a tougher decision than I originally thought. I think that it will be a close battle, but I think that in the end ORLANDO HUDSON‘s ability to make us forget about the sinkhole that had been second base and the 2-hole in the lineup will make him the most valuable player of the year, especially given that we pretty much expect great seasons from Mauer, Morneau, Span, Cuddyer, etc. If I had to pic a runner-up, it would be Denard Span.
Twins’ Top Pitcher:
Again, I was sorely tempted to pick the contrarian pick: Clay Condrey. However, that isn’t my ‘onest answer, and my bangers and mash wouldn’t sit quite right having left a whopper like that standing. I think it will be close indeed, but SCOTT BAKER will emerge from the pack as the most valuable Twins pitcher.
Twins’ Best Rookie:
Interestingly enough, the only true rookie breaking camp with the Twins this season is Drew Butera, and he won’t be with the Twins for more than a month or two. Therefore, it’ll be a midseason call-up. I think the Twins rookie of the year will be ANTHONY SLAMA, who will break into the majors after one of the current bullpen members forgets how to throw strikes. That said, he won’t have much competition, as Danny Valencia won’t arrive until August or September, and we won’t see any other rookies without a rash of injuries.
Twins’ Most improved Player:
As much as I dump on him from day to day, DELMON YOUNG is the clear choice for most improved. I think this is the year that Delmon finds his swing and his power, and though he won’t get any more selective, more of those first-pitch fouls will end up in play, and more will land in the left-field stands than in any of his past seasons. Runner up: Francisco Liriano.
Bold Twins Predictions:
- Pat Neshek either ends the season with the most saves or gets injured by June and never really comes back.
- Delmon Young receives more than 50 walks and hits more than 20 home runs.
- Clay Condrey finds a steady role in the middle innings and excels, while Guerrier struggles after being initially forced into a closer role he isn’t suited for, until he returns to being a very good set-up man.
- We learn that Chris Cates, pocket-sized second baseman, was abducted and eaten by Jose Mijares; his leprechaun nature caused Mijares’ blurry vision.
- At least three Twins players adopt the Great Gazoo helmet:
Twins Keys to Success:
1. Liriano and Slowey need to have strong, bounce-back years from their injury/ineffectiveness-shortened years last year. If these two can’t make it happen, there’s trouble ahead.
2. The starters need to go deep into the games. This is a pretty good ‘Pen on paper (like what I did there?), but remember that Jose Mijares has battled ineffectiveness, Pat Neshek and Jesse Crain are just one or fewer seasons removed from surgery, and Jon Rauch has more intimidation factor than raw stuff. The ‘Pen will be solid, but it WILL break down if it averages more than 16 or so innings a week.
3. Mauer and Morneau need to chill the …. out. Mauer has shown that he is injury prone, and Morneau is just one more end-of-season injury/collapse from me wanting considerably less ‘neau.
Predicted Standings and Playoff Berths:
- Boston Red Sox (division winner)
- New York Yankees (WC)
- Tampa Bay Rays
- Baltimore Orioles
- Toronto Blue Jays
- Minnesota Twins (division winner)
- Chicago White Sox
- Detroit Tigers
- Kansas City Royals
- Cleveland Indians
- California Angels (division winner) (I refuse to call them Anaheim or Los Angeles)
- Texas Rangers
- Seattle Mariners
- Oakland Athletics
- Twins def. Yankees, 3-2
- Red Sox def. Angels, 3-0
- Red Sox Def. Twins 4-3
N.L. East (I won’t give numbers for the National League)
- Atlanta Braves (division winner)
- Philadelphia Phillies
- Florida/Miami Marlins
- Washington Nationals
- New York Mets
- St. Louis Cardinals (Division Winner)
- Milwaukee Brewers (Wild Card)
- Cincinnati Reds
- Pittsburgh Pirates
- Chicago Cubs
- Houston Astros
- Colorado Rockies (division winner)
- San Francisco Giants
- Arizona Diamondbacks
- Los Angeles Dodgers
- San Diego Padres
- Colorado def. St. Louis (3-1)
- Atlanta def. Milwaukee (3-2)
- Atlanta def. Colorado (4-2)
- Atlanta def. Red Sox (4-2)
Other MLB Predictions:
- AL MVP: Joe Mauer – the voters just can’t quit him.
- NL MVP: Hanley Ramirez – If not for Pujols’ unfortunate injury…
- AL Cy Young: Felix Hernandez – The King has returned.
- NL Cy Young: Doc Halladay – The NL worked out better for him than the AL did for Peavy.
- A.L. Rookie of the Year: Brian Matusz – this will be popular, but people still won’t say his name right.
- NL Rookie of the Year: Jason Heyward – Almost too easy.
- AL Comeback Player of the Year: Pat Neshek
- NL Comeback Player of the Year: David Wright