April 3, 2006

Open Chat: Twins Opening Day & Predictions

I made my overall predictions for the 2006 season here yesterday, but since the Twins didn't actually play on Opening Day I saved my Twins-related predictions for today. Before I get to that, here's a link to my official (and Gleeman-length) preview of the 2006 Twins, over at The Hardball Times:


Five Questions: Minnesota Twins

Assuming that you'll all do me the favor of heading over to THT at some point today to read that -- I worked very hard on it and would hate to see 2,300 words go unread -- here are 20 random Twins predictions for this season ...

  • Justin Morneau will become the first Twins hitter with 30 or more homers since 1987 and will lead the team in RBIs, but won't bat above .275.
  • Joe Mauer will hit over .300 while topping last year's totals in homers, RBIs, and runs scored, and will make his first All-Star team.
  • Jason Bartlett will hit over .300 at Triple-A for the third straight season and make the International League All-Star team.
  • Twins shortstops will rank dead last among AL teams in OPS for the second straight season, yet most fans and media members will blame the team's lack of offense on something else.
  • Luis Castillo will steal fewer than 25 bases and spend at least one stint on the disabled list.
  • Kyle Lohse will be traded or sent to the bullpen before he makes his 20th start.
  • Jason Kubel will be platooned way more often than Jacque Jones was.
  • Tony Batista will hit at least 20 homers, but he'll have the worst on-base percentage in the league and lead the team in errors, strikeouts, and double plays hit into.
  • Nick Punto will start far too many games.
  • Shannon Stewart will be among the worst offensive left fielders in the league.
  • Lew Ford and/or Michael Cuddyer will be traded.
  • Juan Rincon will struggle early, but end up with a sub-3.50 ERA.
  • Jesse Crain will see his ERA rise by at least 50 percent from last season.
  • Francisco Liriano will have a better ERA than Brad Radke, Carlos Silva, Scott Baker, and Lohse, but won't throw more than 100 innings.
  • Johan Santana will lead the league in ERA and strikeouts, but will be robbed of the Cy Young Award for the second straight season because the Twins don't score him enough runs to win 20 games.
  • At some point, in some game, Radke will get out of the first inning without allowing a run.
  • If the team sticks with him through early struggles, Willie Eyre will be the Twins' third-best reliever.
  • Just prior to the trading deadline, Terry Ryan will give up too much pitching in a deal for a hitter who is either overrated or a pending free agent (or both).
  • Only two AL teams will allow fewer runs than the Twins, but only two AL teams will score less often.
  • The Twins will start out slow due to a very rough early schedule, but will rebound enough to stay in the division race all season before eventually falling out of contention in the final week.
  • * * * * * * * * * *

    Bat-Girl has organized a little get-together for Twins fans to watch Johan Santana square off against Roy Halladay tonight, and since it's only about 15 minutes from my house I'm thinking of attending. Plus, even if I'm not able to make it you'll surely have a great time hanging out with Bat-Girl and a few dozen other Twins fans. After all, she's far more exciting to meet than I am.

    If you're interested, the get-together is at The Park Tavern in St. Louis Park and begins at five tonight. For more information, click here. And if you're going, drop me a note in the comments section or an e-mail, so I can look for you if I do stop by.


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