Monday, February 8, 2010

Twins offseason blog-2/8

We are a couple of weeks away from spring training now so I thought I'd take a look at the Twins projected lineup and pitching staff for the upcoming season. I am pleased to see the Twins add Jim Thome as a bat off the bench and Orlando Hudson to play second and bat second. They have given Joe Mauer all the indications that they want to win the World Series. So here you go I now dive into the lineup...

Projected Batting Order with 2009 Stats
1. Denard Span-CF .311 AVG, 180 H, 68 RBI, 23 SB
2. Orlando Hudson-2B .283 AVG, 35 2B, 62 RBI
3. Joe Mauer-C .365 AVG, 28 HR, 96 RBI, .587 SLG
4. Justin Morneau-1B .274 AVG, 30 HR, 100 RBI, .516 SLG
5. Jason Kubel-DH .300 AVG, 28 HR, 103 RBI, .539 SLG
6. Michael Cuddyer-RF .276 AVG, 32 HR, 94 RBI, 520 SLG
7. Delmon Young-LF .284 AVG, 12 HR, 60 RBI (108 games)
8. J.J. Hardy-SS .229 AVG, 11 HR, 47 RBI (115 games)
9. Nick Punto-3B .228 AVG, .337 OBP, 16 SB
Bench with 2009 stats
Brendan Harris-2B/SS/3B .261 AVG, 22 2B, 37 RBI (123 games)
Alexi Casilla-2B/SS .202 AVG, 46 H, 11 SB (80 games)*
Jim Thome-1B/DH .249 AVG, 23 HR, 77 RBI (124 games)
Jose Morales-C .311 AVG, 37 H, 7 RBI (54 games)

*I have put Casilla on the bench for now because he is out of Minor League options and Matt Tolbert does have some options left so I'm gonna assume that they are gonna give Casilla a shot off the bench to start the season.
This is the most potent lineup in quite sometime. The Twins are solid from 1-6 and the bottom three in the order appear they will have bounceback years in 2010. Orlando Hudson fills a position that the Twins ranked dead last in most major offensive categories for second base. The addition of Jim Thome adds a big bat off the bench and he can be used for days when Kubel needs a day off or he fills in for a corner outfielder. If Mauer, Morneau, and Cuddyer can stay healthy for a full season the Twins should be towards the top of every offensive category in baseball and now stacks up against anyone out there.

Projected Rotation with 2009 stats
1. Scott Baker-RHP 15-9, 4.37 ERA, 162 K, 200 IP
2. Nick Blackburn-RHP 11-11, 4.03 ERA, 205.2 IP, 41 BB
3. Carl Pavano-RHP 14-12, 5.10 ERA, 199.1 IP, 147 K, 39 BB
4. Kevin Slowey-RHP 10-3, 4.86 ERA, 90.2 IP, 75 K (16 Starts)
5. Francisco Liriano-LHP 5-13, 5.80 ERA, 136.2 IP, 122 K*
Bullpen with 2009 stats
Clay Condrey-RHP 45 G, 6-2 3.00 ERA, 42 IP, .233 OPP AVG (With PHI)
Jesse Crain-RHP 56 G, 7-4, 4.70 ERA, 51.2 IP, .250 OPP AVG
Jon Rauch-RHP 75 G, 7-3, 3.60 ERA, 70 IP, .262 OPP AVG
Pat Neshek-RHP DNP 2009 Season (Elbow)
Jose Mijares-LHP 71 G, 2-2, 2.34 ERA, 61.2 IP, .224 OPP AVG
Matt Guerrier-RHP 79 G, 5-1, 2.36 ERA, 76.1 IP, .207 OPP AVG
Joe Nathan-RHP 70 G, 2-2, 2.10 ERA, 47 SV/52 SVO, .171 OPP AVG
*I have projected Liriano in the starting rotation given the reports from his winter ball play, but he would be on a short leash considering the Twins depth in the minor leagues for pitching. Glen Perkins, Brian Duensing, Anthony Swarzak, and Jeff Manship are the options the Twins could go if Liriano falters again.
The Twins bullpen looks to be rock solid with the Twins mid '09 addition of Rauch, the offseason addition of Condrey, and Pat Neshek returning from Tommy John surgery. Add the reliable services of Crain, Mijares, Guerrier, and Nathan who all had exceptional years and the Twins should be in line foe the win if the rotation gets them the ball with the lead. The rotation is the question mark. The Twins lack a clear ace, but they have 4 young guys in there who anyone could step up in that role. They made the smart move and brought back Pavano the veteran who became very valuable down the stretch and in the postseason in 2009. My only concern is the starters going deep into the games which could wear the bullpen out. If they can go deep into games and hand the pen the lead the Twins should be in good shape.

This might be my last Twins blog until players have reported and I will be writing more frequently then.


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