The Weekday Ramble is a daily dose of sports, music, culture, and more from Rambling On founder Erik Ritland. For more information check us out on Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, or at our website.
Monday April 6, 2015
Happy Opening Day of the baseball season! Spring has sprung and my favorite sport is finally underway. I hate to rain on the parade, but here is my 2015 Twins prediction.
So many questions (part I)
This years Twins are a question mark from top to bottom. First year manager Paul Molitor, though a Hall of Fame player, is certain to experience growing pains as he adjusts to a job he’s never had. The Twins offense was a highlight last year, especially in the second half, but their lineup is filled with young players. Shortstop Danny Santana, designated hitter Kennys Vargas, and outfielder Oswaldo Arcia all still need to prove that they can make it in the big leagues.
Trevor Plouffe and Brian Dozier have each shown flashes of brilliance (and are solid pieces to add depth to a team) but they need those around them to produce to be effective. This burden will not only be on Santana, Vargas, and Arcia but also on the veterans surrounding them. Kurt Suzuki needs to perform closer to his 2014 All-Star campaign than, well, the rest of his so-so career. Joe Mauer has to bounce back after his worst year. The return of Torii Hunter, however fun, will only be worth it if we has something to add to the team as well.
For the Twins offense to be successful a lot of things have to click. But at least the talent is there. The same cannot be said of the pitching staff.
With the loss of Ervin Santana to a suspension the already shaky starting rotation looks even worse. Like Suzuki, will Phil Hughes perform closer to his dominant 2014 or will he regress to the Hughes of old? Was Ricky Nolasco’s terrible season last year due to injury or is he simply a bust? Will Kyle Gibson ever reach his potential? Can Tommy Milone and Mike Pelfrey be serviceable? Even more than their lineup, everything falling together is a lot to ask for.
The bullpen situation looks even worse. Other than closer Glen Perkins the Twins don’t have anybody that looks promising. Even workhorse Brian Duensing hasn’t looked great. Even if the offense can produce, the combination of a shaky rotation and a worse bullpen will make staying in games difficult.
What to expect
I know I’ve sounded pretty gloom and doom through this whole thing. It’s just hard to look at this team on paper and think any differently. A lot of things have to come together for them to be competitive. I feel like they’ll be lucky to win 70 games and will finish last in an unusually competitive AL Central. But I hope I’m wrong.
Regardless, let’s hope that big time prospects like Buxton, Sano, Meyer, May, and Berrios will be ready to give us some hope for 2016 and beyond.
Erik Ritland is a writer and musician from St. Paul, Minnesota. His blog and podcast Rambling On features commentary on music, sports, culture, and more. He is also a contributor for Minnesota culture blog Curious North. Support Erik's music via his Patreon account, reach him via email, or find him on Facebook and Twitter.