10 Optimistic Predictions for 2014
by, 02-22-2014 at 09:41 PM (502 Views)
Even amidst the 10-plus inches of snow (cue meat sauce) the Twin Cites area received in the past week, the promise of girls in bikinis and a clean-slate for baseball teams are soon approaching. Soon we will be trading in our winter hats, gloves, jackets and ice scrapers for baseball gloves, sun glasses and tans. So, for my first blog, I figured it would be apropos to begin thinking optimistically about our favorite major league ball team.
10) Target Field will sell-out 15 games this season.
- Ticket sales were down over 10% from 2012, and the Twins only recorded 6 sellouts last year. We know that just having a beautiful stadium doesn't automatically put people in the stands ex. PNC Park pre-2013. Obviously the product on the field hasn't made people want to buy tickets in recent years, but hopefully the ASG and prospect hype for the Twins helps create a better home field advantage.
9) Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes will combine for over 30 wins.
-Nolasco throughout his career as been pretty consistently around the 15 win mark and a shade over 4.00 ERA (4.37 ERA in 23 career games against AL). He throws the type of game that should fit in well with Target Field. Phil Hughes is coming off of a terrible year at Yankee stadium where the home run ratio is comparable to that in a beer-league softball game. Hopefully we get the Hughes of 2010 (18-8). Nolasco finishes with 17 wins and Hughes finishes with 14.
8) Alex Meyer makes the opening day staff.
- Why not? The kid is 6'9" and throws high 90's heat and has a wicked slider. He is by far the best pitcher in our system and everyone knows the key to a successful team is strong starting pitching.
7) Oswaldo Arcia will hit 25 home runs.
- He still needs to improve his decision making at the plate, but there is no denying that he has the power to put the ball into the seats. Last year he had 14 home runs in 97 games, so extrapolation puts him around 25 HR in a full season.
6) Terry Ryan will make some moves at the trading deadline.
- With the best farm system in the bigs, the future is bright for the Twins. Look for Ryan to trade for a starting pitcher at the deadline.
5) We won't lose 90 games this year.
4) Minnesota will be in the playoff race in August.
- With an improved (on paper) pitching staff and a line-up that can hopefully knock in a few runs, we will be within 5 games of a wild card spot into August. However, I don't see this team making the playoffs unless we get career years from multiple players.
3) Joe Mauer will win his 4th batting title.
- This is an extremely difficult task with studs like Miguel Cabrera, Mike Trout, Robinson Cano and Manny Machado in the same league, but Mauer seems to always be near the top of the league in average. I think the move to first will benefit Mauer as a hitter, as his body won't be taking an absolute beating. He's a career .323 batter who has hit .365 before...I put him at .340 this year.
2) Miguel Sano will be in the Major League this year.
- Minnesota has been starving for a bona-fide power bat in the middle of the line-up since Justin Morneau got hurt. Sano has tons of power and can drive in base runners better than any prospect in baseball. His .280/.610/.992 in the minors compares well with Jose Bautista (granted it was in the minor league).
1) Byron Buxton's play will force the Twins to call him up this year.
- One of the highest touted prospects of the decade, if not any decade. A true 5 tool (if not more) player. I'm extremely excited to see this kid's progress this season. Look for him to tear up the minors again this year, get called up in September, and win the AL rookie of the year in 2015.