So, it’s spring. Yes, I know it could have fooled me, too. You see, I live in the land of 10,000 lakes; in fact, I live hella high up in that land and we still have two feet of snow on the ground. I just saw a couple-dozen snowmobilers ride by on our street. People are still ice fishing. In fact, there are still pick-ups on the ice (in northern Minnesota they’re called pick-ups; not trucks; trucks have 18 wheels. Get it str8, yo).
Anywho, apparently… BASEBALL! All I can say is: pack your long johns! So, the game time temperature today is going to be in the lower 30s with a 20-odd degree wind chill… and the Twins are facing some guy named Verlander. I’m not sure what Vegas is giving on the odds of a no-hitter, but it’s gotta be about even money. No, seriously, it’s funny that the Twins revealed their opening day roster today, because nobody knows whether it’s an April Fool’s joke or not. But I had better get on to the preview, because I have a pizza in the oven and I have allotted exactly fifteen minutes of my life to analyzing what’s going to happen this year. Anything more would be, uh, unnecessary. So.. here… we… go…
Opening Day lineup (with projections R/HR/RBI/AVG/SB)
1. Aaron Hicks, CF 75/10/50/.240/18
Thank God we have Hicks out there to make things interesting. Don’t get me wrong I love me some Darin Mastroianni.. wait, no I don’t. I don’t expect a crazy good year from Hicks and he really isn’t an ideal leadoff hitter, but who the hell cares. Let’s get him a million at-bats. There is so much more upside here than with anyone else.
2. Joe Mauer, C 80/10/72/.307/5
I think we’ll get another solid Mauer season, though that 29 homer season wasn’t so much his ceiling as two floors above what we can expect from here on out.
3. Josh Willingham, LF 65/22/80/.243/4
I think we should have sold high on Willingham, just don’t see a repeat of last year. Hope I’m wrong.
4. Justin Morneau, 1B 70/22/80/.265/0
However, I see a decent bounceback for Morneau. We’re never going to see anything approaching MVP value again, but I think we will see 20 homeruns again and a solid-enough average. Even if this is a poor four-slot slash.
5. Ryan Doumit, DH 50/13/55/.252/2
Yeah, I know, this is getting very exciting…
6. Trevor Plouffe, 3B 60/24/62/.238/4
Here’s the thing with Trevor Plouffe: I don’t know what the hell to expect from Trevor Plouffe. This guy will probably either hit 30 HR or be released/optioned/designated for assignment (I’m too lazy to figure out which we can do with him) by July 1.
7. Chris Parmelee, RF 65/15/65/.260/1
I’m all-aboard the Parm-train, and it’s not just that I own him in a fantasy league and I’m irrationally excited about it. Yeah, I know, you would get excited about a 1B/OF projected to hit that line, too… wait, crap.
8. Brian Dozier, 2B 62/7/52/.245/14
I have a theory about Dozier. His name sounds like he was one of those fill-in guys on a really good squad. “Like, remember when the Yankees had Berra and Mantle and Dimaggio and Maris, was their second baseman again? Oh yeah, Dozier!” So, the Twins are clearly hoping his name elevates the rest of the lineup. That’s about the only theory I can come up with.
9. Pedro Florimon, SS 50/3/42/.225/12
See Dozier, Brian—RE: names that seem like they should be on good baseball teams. For the record, I don’t expect Florimon to play all year because I just think the average will be terrible.
Starting Pitchers (with projections W-L/ERA/WHIP/K)
1. Vance Worley, RHP 8-11/4.20/1.32/120
I like Vance. That’s all I got. Expect, wait, he’s our frickin’ opening day pitcher? Sweet Jesus, who are the remaining guys?
2. Scott Diamond, LHP 10-12/4.42/1.38/99
OK, I know this guy. So, he’s starting the year on the DL (yay!) but he should be aight.
3. Mike Pelfrey, RHP 5-11/4.85/1.48/85
It only goes downhill from here (that’s a scary thought)
4. Liam Hendriks, RHP 6-13/5.25/1.48/92
Uh yeah, the crazy thing is that Hendriks is going to get plenty of starts. I’m not kidding when I say I think he has a shot at Bonderman’s 20-loss season.
5. Kevin Correia, RHP 7-12/4.95/1.45/82
I’m actually OK with Correia as a placeholder. It’s just that he might be holding that place for a long, long time.
Kyle Gibson will be up eventually and probably serviceable, but don’t look for much this year—maybe something like 4-6/5.20/1.50/50.
Cole DeVries will get plenty of starts (cuz everybody will be hurt at some point—that’s right, everybody, not somebody). He could get 3-9/5.55/1.52/75
Bullpen (with projections ERA/WHIP/K)
Closer: Glen Perkins, LHP 35 saves, 3.20/1.18/70
Jared Burton, RHP 3.65/1.22/40, plus 28 holds
Brian Duensing, LHP 3.90/1.34/62, plus 22 holds
Also, there are guys like Casey Fien and Tyler Robertson who we will see plenty of. Honestly, you’ll get to know your bullpen like the back of your hand this year.
So, here’s the thing. Don’t expect much and you’ll be happy. This is another year of development for Buxton, Sano and company. It’s another year until we see Alex Meyer. Just enjoy watching baseball. Hopefully you aren’t 95 years old, on hospice and desperately wanting one last Twins WC. If you are, I’m sure there’s baseball in heaven. Otherwise, wait til 2016 or 2017.
Projected record: 60-102
Best case: Hicks wins rookie of the year, Morneau rediscovers his old swing and nobody in the starting staff has an ERA over 5. In that case… the Twins finish 77-85.
Worst case: Gibson gets injured, Hicks gets demoted, we trot out 17 different starting pitchers and battle the Astros and Marlins for worst record in the majors… then get a top three pick… maybe that isn’t so bad….