2014 Twins lineup and offensive expectation
by, 02-16-2014 at 12:41 AM (644 Views)
Pitchers and catchers report!
There are very few sweeter words in the English language. Time to roll out your Major League, Bull Durham and Field of Dreams DVD's (possibly For Love of the Game). Don't tell me I'm the only one!
I have no illusions of a World Series appearance for the TC boys this year. I think it's clear we are a year or two away. And while arguments could be made the Twins haven't done enough to address all of their short comings this offseason, there is also no doubt the Twins have invested more FA money than any time in their history to improve a pretty pathetic pitching staff. I don't think there is any doubt Nolasco, Hughes, a year removed from TJ surgery Pelfrey, Correia and whoever is short of a contending staff, but still filled with more potential and intrigue than anything we've run out to the mound ever 5th day for a few years now. And while there are no guarantees, there is definitely some potential there, with some great young arms to supplement and replace on the near horizon. And perhaps I or someone else will start a post regarding such. But for now, this post is strictly about the lineup and offense for the 2014 Twins.
There is a generalization of optimism that comes with spring training. For a time at least, everyone is improved, and everyone is a contender. Being a realist...we are probably not. Again, a year or two away. And honestly, the Twins have done very, very little to address the lineup for 2014. Almost depressingly nothing. (And this from someone who would rival Seth in the area of optimism) There could yet be a move, even a small one, that will provide at least some sense of depth and option with the lineup. But as of yet, nothing of value.
Understand, I am in NO WAY advocating, or admonishing the Twins for failing to act/sign, the likes of Cano or Ellsbury. Would you really spend that kind of money and years on 30 y.o. players with Dozier, Arcia, Rosario, Sano, Buxton, etc, already contributing or nearly ready to?
But where does that leave us lineup/offensively for 2014? Honestly, just being healthy would provide a better and more productive lineup than 2013. But where do we go from here?
I've been a Brian Dozier supporter/fan for some time now. And after a slow and disappointing start to last season, he really kicked things in to gear. Yes, his AVG and OB could have been better, but his milb numbers showed a slash of .298/.370, indicating he should show improvement in each of these areas in 2014, even if his power numbers slide somewhat. And what's really interesting is that until the 2012 debacle, Dozier had ONLY spent 2 1/2 years in the minors, and showed general improvement each season.
Joe Mauer. Do I really have to say more? If he doesn't win a gold glove the next few years at 1B it will be a huge surprise. He is the man with a career split of .323/.405/873 OPS. What will he do with a season of 150 games?
A healthy Willingham at DH, Molitor helping him in the transition, occasionally LF, has career averages of .256/.359/.830 OPS with averages of 28Dbls and 25 HR's.
Being a near rookie, it's hard to place numbers on Arcia, but I have to believe every number has to improve in his second season. I'd expect 30 doubles and 20 plus HR's roughly in 500 AB's.
Plouffe may never perform the way we wish he would. But rough calculations have him hitting .242/.305 with 25Dbls and 19 H's n 500 AB's. If he actually got 500 AB's at this point I'd hope for a bit more.
Hicks in CF hitting only in the .240 range with an OB above .300 with 30 doubles, double digit HR's and pushing 20+ SB's with excellent defense is still a big help with the potential for more.
Pinto, forgetting what he did in MLB last season, only taking his last 2 seasons of milb stats and reducing 20% to allow for a full season of rookie regression would still provide .243/.306 with 27Dbls and 13+HR's in 500 AB's.
Shortstop, Florimon, Escobar or Bartlett is certainly open to debate.
There is nothing earth shattering here, but still some optimism.
The biggest problem I see is lead off. Can Presley, even for one season, provide something acceptable? I don't know that Mastro or Hicks can provide the answer. Was hoping for a nice role player who could help/platoon. But to this point, that player/person has not been signed/identified.
What say you about the lineup for 2014 at this point?