Thursday, March 27, 2008

Minnesota Twins 2008 Preview

Its been a rough sports year in the land of 10,000 lakes. Sports icons Kevin Garnett and Johan Santana left town and all that seems to be left are clueless buffoons like Kevin McHale and Carl Pohlad. At least the Vikes have All Diggity Day Peterson, but he'll probably leave soon too, thats just how it goes up in North Star country. But before my Minnesota buddies Woogie Boogie, Huge Batls and Free the Lee jump off a cliff, lets see if the Twins have a chance to be better than what most people think they will be.

2007 Record: 79-83

Key Additions: Carlos Gomez CF, Delmon Young LF, Livan Hernandez SP, Phillip Humber SP

Key Losses: Johan Santana SP, Torii Hunter CF, Carlos Silva SP, Jason Bartlett SS

Projected Lineup:
1 Carlos Gomez CF
2 Joe Mauer C
3 Michael Cuddyer RF
4 Justin Morneau 1b
5 Delmon Young LF
6 Jason Kubel DH
7 Mike Lamb 3b
8 Brendan Harris 2b
9 Adam Everett SS

Lineup Grade: C+. The Twins still have some very good offensive players, but will be hurt by the loss of top run producer Torii Hunter. If Joe Mauer is healthy, he will hit above .300 and form a dynamic 2-3-4 along with Cuddyer and Morneau. Carlos Gomez and Delmon Young are two top young players who if they play up to their ability will make this lineup dangerous. The problem is there is no pop from 6 on down and overall there is not enough talent to match up with the top offenses in the AL.

Projected Rotation:

1 Scott Baker

2 Livan Hernandez

3 Francisco Liriano

4 Boof Bonser

5 Kevin Slowey

CL - Joe Nathan

Rotation Grade: B. The Twins lost the best starting pitcher in baseball, but they are hoping they have the most exciting pitching prospect back healthy in Francisco Liriano. If he can come back healthy and be anything like how he looked 2 years ago, this rotation becomes very strong. Livan Hernandez is no spring chicken, but he will give them lots of innings. Behind him are young pitchers high on promise, but short on results. If they back up their hype this order becomes very respectable. With all the Twins losses, they can be thankful that they still boast the best bullpen in all of baseball. Joe Nathan was just re-signed, and the Twins have 4 other excellent options in their pen, which will help them keep games close and hold onto close leads.

2008 Prediction: The Twins lost as much as any team in baseball, and look to be entering a rebuilding mode. The good news is that the young players they have moved into their everyday lineup have talent and will be given plenty of opportunity to succeed. The bad news is that they play in a tough division and will have to score runs to compete. If the Twins can do that and their young pitchers emerge, they could be a surprise in the AL. More likely is a season around .500 while a foundation for success is built with the results probably another 2 seasons off

Predicted Finish: 77-85, 3rd or 4th in the division

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