Well, I'll try my best, okay?
Will a player on Minnesota hit more than 15 home runs this year? Their top home run hitters last year were Michael Cuddyer (20, gone), Danny Valencia (15), Jim Thome (12, gone), and Jason Kubel (12, gone.) Nobody else was in double-digits. It's easy to forget that just two years ago Morneau was one of the best hitters in the American League (.345/.437/.618 in 81 games) but it's forgettable because he's not even close to being the same player that he once was. Injuries have hit him hard and he's still not back yet.
Joe Mauer and Denard Span also played half-a-season or less and neither was much of a hitter when he was healthy. The only starter to post an ERA under 4.00 was Scott Baker and he's hurting too. Seriously is Target Field located next to a medical waste dump? Do we need to hire Erin Brockovich?
Let's see if we can get some corporate compensation for this medical disaster:
Best Hitter: Joe Mauer
If healthy, Mauer can still provide hits and walks from a scarce position. I won't count on health from Morneau, the only other fantasy threat as of now. Josh Willingham is kind of interesting?
I don't know, they won't score many runs in Minnesota. (Name of my Blues Traveler cover band)
Best Pitcher: Carl Pavano?
Because Scott Baker only managed 21 starts in 2011 and may start the year on the DL. Because Francisco Liriano saw his K/9 drop to 7.50 last year and his BB/9 go to 5.02 and he only made 24 starts.
Pavano pitched 222 decent innings and though he doesn't strike anyone out, he could post an ERA of 4.00 and win 10 games or something.... The pitching ain't much better than the hitting, folks. If Glen Perkins picks up the saves and not Matt Capps, it will be more interesting.
Potential Breakout: Joe Benson, OF
Why? What other choices do I have? Benson is the #99 prospect in the game per BA and has decent power and a good eye at the plate (.284/.387/.491 in AA last season) and is 24 so there's little keeping him from getting called up this season.
Other candidates? I think we've seen the best of Danny Valencia already.
Potential Disappointment: Any Twin
Seriously, this whole team was a disappointment last year. Pretty much every player on the roster. You can't count on any of them to stay healthy. You might get good bargain basement value on Morneau, Mauer, Liriano, Baker, or Perkins but you could whiff on any Twin this year. They need to hope for some good starts from some of their players and then hope to be able to wheel and deal because the farm system is bad too.
Prospect Watch: Per BA
Sano is the Obi-Wan Kenobi of the Twins. The only hope. He just needs to stick at 3B or SS and his bat could outplay anyone else at his position someday. That day might still be four or more years away however. He hit 20 HR in only 66 games at age 18 in 2011. He could rise up to the #1 position in baseball rankings or he could pull a "Twins"
Benson at #2 tells you all you need to know. He's not a bad prospect but he's not a premier one either.
Rosario hit 21 HR and stole 17 bases in only 67 games last year. He'll be 20 and he'll need to hit somewhere besides short-season ball. Aaron Hicks is the "project tools prospect" that has yet to live up to his tools.
Hendricks could be a key player for the Twins this year. He doesn't have exceptional strikeout numbers but he posts "Kevin Slowey-like" walk numbers for back when Slowey posted ridiculously low walk rates. Hendricks walked 21 batters in 139.1 innings last year and he already looks good enough to be the Twins #4 starter if not better.
You know when a player is an "injury risk" at draft time and so he falls and so the fans of that team get all excited because he's great if he can just stay healthy so he's a great pick? Yeah, that was Kyle Gibson. Yeah, he's recovering from Tommy John surgery now.
Parmalee was the #94 prospect in baseball. In 2007.
The Tigers are a team that seems to rush all of it's prospects so that they're in the majors when they're 20? Somehow the Twins still keep their players in low-A until they can rent a car. They need to get moving faster because the team needs help now.
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