My First Projection of the 2014 Twins
by, 09-07-2013 at 06:02 AM (805 Views)
The Twins will finish their third straight losing season late this month. In a year where I expected they would not contend, they haven't but more to the point they have had precious few players step up and establish themselves. All true-blue Twins fans know that there is impressive talent on it's way to Minnesota, especially among the position players. What was needed this year was to have some of the current roster establish itself for the second half of the decade. With the exception of second baseman Brian Dozier, that hasn't happened.
Looking forward to 2014, the Twins will have far too many moving pieces and unproven parts to contend. I viewed 2014 as the transition season where the Twins would become a good team again with a refurbished roster. It could still happen, but too much talent is unproven and there are several holes to fill. I expect quite a bit of off-season activity for the Twins--perhaps trading a veteran (Doumit or Willingham), probably adding a starter or two, but I will project 2014 as if no significant moves are made. Here is my Opening Day projections for both starting lineup and 25-man roster.
Starting lineup: Presley CF, Dozier 2B, Mauer 1B, Willingham DH, Arcia LF, Plouffe 3B, Doumit C, Parmelee RF, Florimon SS, Correia P. 25-man roster: Starters--Correia, Gibson, Diamond, Pelfrey, Worley. Bullpen: Duensing, Thielbar, Roenicke, Fien, Swarzak, Burton, Perkins. Catchers: Doumit and Herrmann Infielders: Mauer, Dozier, Florimon, Plouffe, Escobar. Outfielders: Arcia, Presley, Parmelee, Mastroianni DH: Colabello, Willingham.
The biggest and most important moving piece is Joe Mauer. I am projecting he will be a first baseman and third catcher, playing behind the dish less than 10 times in the coming year. Mauer being a first baseman makes it possible that Josmil Pinto could start the season as the Twins regular catcher--if the Twins don't move Doumit, I think that move will wait, but barring injury or severe regression by Pinto, it would happen. I've listed Colabello and Willingham as DHs. I expect they would play in the field fairly often, with Mauer DHing some. I've penciled in Plouffe at third despite his disappointing 2013, with Escobar as the only infield backup. I am not really sure that Parmelee will open the season as a starter, but with no acquisitions he has a path to starting in the outfield. I am projecting that Presley (a better Clete Thomas) will open as the center fielder (probably platooning with Mastro), but Aaron Hicks could win back center with a good spring training and probably will reclaim center field sometime in the first half of 2014. I have also included Pelfrey in the starting rotation. He may not be back, but if he isn't I would expect the Twins would sign a similar veteran.
In summary, I am seeing a non-contender opening 2014. I expect the season to transition from subpar to something much brighter. The front office can speed the transition up by adding to the starting rotation and perhaps adding a middle of the order hitter. Many players will need to establish themselves, but I think the bottom-out phase will be reached early and that the club will be better and more competitive at the end of the summer than when they start in April.