Saturday, February 2, 2008

2008 Minnesota Twins

Presenting your 2008 Minnesota Twins

CF Carlos Gomez
This speedy Dominican was acquired from the Mets in the Johan Santana trade. He could eventually be the first player to steal 100+ bases in a season since Rickey Henderson. Faster than Jose Reyes. 5-tool player.

DH Jason Kubel
This should be Kubel’s breakout season. He was once a very highly ranked prospect like Morneau and Mauer before a serious knee injury. He showed lots of potential last season.

C Joe Mauer
2007 was a down year for him. He might not win the batting title this year like in 2006 but look for his power and home run numbers to go up exponentially this year.

LF Delmon Young
The best new member of the Twins is about the best young hitter in the game. The Twins acquired him in the Garza trade. He might put up just as good of numbers as Torii Hunter did last year. This is his second year in the majors.

1B Justin Morneau
He slumped big time in the second half of last year. Before that he was 2nd in the league in most offensive stats. Cracking the 40 home run mark isn’t out of the question for this slugger. He needs to have a big year after signing the biggest contract ever given to a Minnesota Twin.

RF Michael Cuddyer
The best outfield arm in the majors should look to put up solid numbers again this year. Signed an extension with the Twins in the offseason.

3B Mike Lamb
The Twins first REAL 3B sine Corey Koskie. Thank goodness the Twins signed him so we don’t have to put up with another season of Nick Punto. He should surprise a lot of people with his bat, has 20 HR potential although the glove isn’t great.

2B Brendan Harris
Acquired for Jason Bartlett during the offseason. Has better bat than Bartlett and should put up 12 - 15 HR and have one of the best seasons with the bat for the Twins since Knoblauch.

SS Adam Everett
The top defensive player in the majors. His bat is not great, Punto-esque, but he more than makes up for it with his glove.

LHP Francisco Liriano
If he returns to his 2006 form, he will make Twins fans forget Johan Santana quicker. He was pitching better than Santana when he was healthy, but after Tommy-John surgery he is not a guarantee to pitch like before. The closest thing to a Santana clone in the majors.

RHP Scott Baker
Had a great last year topped by a perfect game going into the 9th inning vs the Royals. Should be a solid #2 starter.

RHP Boof Bonser
The Twins need him to step up big. They won’t be as patient as they were with him in 2007. He did lose 20 pounds in the off season and could rebound to be a solid pitcher like he was for much of 2006.

RHP Kevin Slowey
Led the AAA league in ERA and it wasn’t even close. This guy has ridiculous control, he is frequently compared to Brad Radke.

RHP Glen Perkins
Perkins was injured for most of last year. This spot could be taken by Brian Duensing, Nick Blackburn, Phil Humber, or Kevin Mulvey. The Twins also might sign a veteran pitcher to help guide the young pitching staff along.


Closer Joe Nathan
Set-up Pat Neshek
Matt Guerrier
Jesse Crain
Juan Rincon
Dennys Reyes

The Twins return their formidable bullpen from the year before with a healthy Jesse Crain. Nathan might be traded but he still remains the top closer in the game. Neshek and Guerrier are fantastic in the 7th and 8th innings. Reyes could rebound to be unhittable like he was in 2006, and Rincon is pitching better after having a couple of down years. The Twins should once again have one of the top bullpens in the league.

Players Lost

Johan Santana
Torii Hunter
Carlos Silva
Jason Bartlett
Matt Garza
Jason Tyner
Lew Ford
Luis Rodriguez
Matt LeCroy

Players gained
Craig Monroe
Adam Everett
Mike Lamb
Deolis Guerra
Kevin Mulvey
Phil Humber
Delmon Young
Carlos Gomez
Brendan Harris
Zach Day
Livan Hernandez

So what does 2008 hold for the Minnesota Twins? 2007 was a huge disappointment after having one of the most talented Twins teams ever finish third place in the division. Then the Twins lost key players such as Santana, Hunter, Garza, Silva, and Bartlett in the offseason. They did improve their offense with such players as Young, Gomez, Harris, and Lamb. Adding Liriano back to the rotation is huge for the Twins but he is a big question mark after coming off of surgery and missing all of 2007. It is tough to say how the Twins will do in 2008. My guess is that they will score more runs with the new offense, but give up more runs with the loss of Santana, Silva, and Garza.

5 things that will make the Twins still revelant this year:

1. They have the best outfield arms in the majors. Cuddyer was #1 last year and Young was #2. Gomez also has a cannon arm. Teams won’t be trying to take that extra base.

2. Mauer, Morneau, and Young are three of the best young hitters in baseball. Kubel could join that group this year and Cuddyer is solid as well.

3. Their pitching rotation is full of great young pitchers. It could be one of the better young staffs in baseball led by Francisco Liriano who is a potential ace.

4. Joe Nathan leads one of the best bullpens in baseball. If the Twins have the lead going into the 7th inning stretch, they’ll likely keep it.

5. Nick Punto and the piranas are no more. Punto will be sitting on the bench, and Tyner is no longer on the team. Brendan Harris and Mike Lamb are two new infielders who should hit 30 home runs between the two of them. And Kubel should finally be a good DH for the Twins.

5 big problems:

1. The Twins have been a sub .500 team when Santana was not pitching over the past few years. His loss is going to sting.

2. They lost their best hitter from 2007 in Torii Hunter. And his leadership/charisma will be missed as well.

3. Detroit might have the best team in baseball right now and Cleveland isn’t too shabby either. It is a long shot at best to make the playoffs.

4. The Twins didn’t get lots of immediate help from the Santana trade. Carlos Gomez could be very good, or he might his .220 and not be on base enough to steal 40 bases.

5. If the offense continues to fail no help can be found in the minors. Most of the Twins prospects are pitchers and practically all the good hitters are at least down at single A ball. There is not another young Morneau to call up if some people are struggling.

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