TWINS: 2018 EDITION
As I hope you know, I am a Twins fanatic and an optimist. They surprised me last year in a positive way and I doubt if they will slip back to the 2016 debacle. The new front office (FO) has done many things that have gone under the radar; mainly building the organization’s player development and scouting. Some of the best baseball analysts have come on board and their presence will be noticeable for years to come.
The FO has also addressed the most important needs without spending a lot of money or giving out long-term contracts. They needed starting pitching and a much-improved bullpen. And they did well in both areas. We now have two accomplished starters and three veteran relievers. In addition, they picked up a designated hitter (Morrison) who knocked out 38 home runs last season for Tampa Bay. Ervin Santana will be ready by mid-May as will Trevor May and the Twins farm system is stacked with strong arms ready to prove themselves.
All this along with basically the same starting lineup that made the wild-card playoff spot last season.
Short: Escobar (Palonco has been suspended for fifty games-substance abuse.)
Left Field: Rosario (arm issues?)
Center Field: Buxton
Right Field: Kepler and two other options.
And Paul Molitor has become a respectable manager.
So, what to expect. I’ve been to three spring training games and been up to Ft. Myers to watch workouts twice. What impressed me the most was the positivism of players and staff. They have brought in people like Jim Kaat, Justin Morneau, Michael Cuddyer, Torri Hunter and others to help younger prospects.
The Central Division favorites again this year are the Cleveland Indians with the other four teams chasing them–that’s what the experts claim. I predict that the Twins will win the Central by five or more games this year. The Yankees will run away with the East and the Astros the West.
I’m on record. “Play Ball!”