Tuesday, March 25, 2014
I have no confidence in the Minnesota Twins having any better season then they have had the last three years. I think the starting pitching is improved and the bullpen remains solid, but the team lacks hitting will hurt it more than the improved starting pitching will help it. I do feel though there are some things worth watching this season which if they turn out positively could lead to better things for the Twins and their fans in the future.
Oswaldo Arica and Aaron Hicks are highly touted prospects who have taken different routes to the majors. Arica was not a prospect from the get go, but has put up great numbers at each minor league level he played at. Arica had decent numbers in his first year in the majors, and is being counted on to provide power in the middle of the Twins lineup this year. Hicks was a prospect from the get go, but has never really justified his high prospect ranking with great minor league seasons. Hicks struggled mightily last season as a rookie, but the Twins need him to secure the center field job while batting lead off this season. Arica, a favorite of mine, is under no threat of replacement, but Hicks has to be looking over his shoulder as mega prospect Byron Buxton is not that far away from taking over the center field job.
Phil Hughes could be a very good starting pitcher for the Twins. Once top prospect Alex Meyer gets here, Meyer, Ricky Nolasco, Hughes, and Kyle Gibson could be the anchors for a good pitching staff for the next 3-5 years. Hughes has the ability to be the #2 starter behind the highly talented Meyer. Having meet Hughes at Twinsfest, I like him and have decided I am making him one of my favorite players on the Twins. Meyer is a favorite of mine as well in part because how many professional baseball players spend their off-season as a substitute teacher as Meyer did this off-season? I think not many.
Brian Dozier is another nice guy, and I want to root for his success. If Dozier can improve his offense and keep up his elite defensive play, the Twins will have something they have not had since Chuck Knoblauch after the 1997 season - stability at 2nd base.
Josmil Pinto is another guy I want to root for. With Joe Mauer now at 1st base, we need a catcher who not only can defend, but hit. Pinto is the best option, though I believe the Twins will start the season with veteran Kurt Suzuki as the starter.
Minor leaguers Byron Buxton, Alex Meyer, Miguel Sano, Kohl Stewart, Danny Santana, Michael Tonkin, Kennys Vargas, Trevor May, Eddie Rosario, Felix Jorge, Jorge Polanco, Max Kepler, Joe Berrios, Lewis Thrope, and Fernando Romero have star potential. How many will actually make it to the majors and become stars? No one can know for sure, but for the sake of the Twins and their fans hope a good number make it.
As it is the Twins will be lucky to develop enough players to make the team a contender for the division title in 2016. For now it is more the same for the Twins and their fans. Still I look forward to seeing players like Arcia, Hicks, Hughes, Meyer, Dozier, and Pinto develop hopefully into better player; so here’s to a great 2014 Twins baseball season!