Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Baseball 2010 Predictions

Final standings:


Tampa Bay Rays
Boston Red Sox
New York Yankees
Toronto Blue Jays
Baltimore Orioles

Minnesota Twins
Chicago White Sox
Detroit Tigers
Cleveland Indians
Kansas City Royals

Seattle Mariners
Texas Rangers
Los Angeles Angels
Oakland A’s


CY YOUNG: Francisco Liriano
MVP: Joe Mauer
ROY: Brian Matusz


Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves
Florida Marlins
New York Mets
Washington Nationals

St. Louis Cardinals
Chicago Cubs
Milwaukee Brewers
Cincinnati Reds
Pittsburgh Pirates
Houston Astros

Colorado Rockies
Arizona Diamondbacks
Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants
San Diego Padres

MVP: Albert Pujols
CY YOUNG: Roy Halladay
ROY: Stephen Strasburg



And some Twins predictions:

HR: Morneau 34
BA: Mauer .347
RBI: Morneau 137
SB: Span 31

Worst BA: Punto .229

Wins: Liriano 21
SO: Liriano 274
ERA: Liriano 2.39
Saves: Neshek 21

Mauer and Hardy win gold gloves
Mauer, Morneau, and Liriano make the All-Star team
Valencia is the starting 3B after the all-star break
Delmon Young finally breaks out, hitting over 20 HR
Slowey and Baker receive some Cy Young votes
Mauer, Morneau, Kubel and Cuddyer hit over 30 HR
Francisco Liriano returns close to 2006 form, wins the Cy Young, and leads the league in strikeouts
Hardy bounces back, hitting over 20 HR
Crain is the closer after April, and Pat Neshek takes over in June
Prospects Wilson Ramos and Ben Revere get some playing time in September
The Twins actually have a doubleheader at home
Twins break the franchise record for attendance
Anthony Slama finally makes his debut in the Twins bullpen
The lineup leads the AL in runs scored
The Twins don't trade for a closer
Glen Perkins is traded for a B-level prospect infielder
Pitcher Kyle Gibson makes it up to AAA, positioning himself to take over Pavano's spot in the rotation in 2011
Jim Thome, pinch-hitting for Nick Punto, hits 2 walk-off home runs

Monday, March 22, 2010


Joe Mauer signed an eight year, $184 million extension with the Minnesota Twins today. It is the fourth largest deal in MLB history, and obviously the largest in Twins’ history. Some thoughts on the huge deal:

I for one don’t think that we’ve seen the best season Mauer has to offer us. 2009 was an amazing season, but I think he can do better. This season should provide a great opportunity for Mauer to best last year. First of all, his playing time should increase by a month over last year, so his number totals such as homers, doubles, hits, etc. should increase. He also finally has a legitimate #2 hitter in front of him in Orlando Hudson. His home run power is here to stay, and I predict that he will hit over 30 homers this season.

Some are saying that Mauer likely won’t be catching in a few years. Nobody knows how his body will hold up, but if Mauer does switch positions, his offensive numbers should receive a nice boost because his body won’t be so damaged and sore from catching. Mauer’s value would diminish greatly if he played a different position other than catcher, but it would be interesting to see what kind of offensive numbers he could put up while playing a less taxing position. I still believe he has the potential to hit .400 in a season; however, it would be easier to accomplish if he wasn’t catching.

What will the Twins do with super catching prospect Wilson Ramos? When Ramos reaches the majors, could Ramos and Mauer both catch 81 games and DH 81 games? Ramos could play in the majors this year, but he will likely spend it at AAA. Ramos has had a nice spring, including a home run off Johan Santana. He would be great trade bait, but the Twins don’t like to part with their top young talent. The Twins would be crazy to trade him for a closer to replace Nathan. They definitely don’t need any more outfielders. If the Twins decide to go the trade route, hopefully they will try to trade Ramos for a stud young second baseman. The organization is so weak in the middle infield, and Hudson is signed to only a one year deal.

It looks like Twins top prospect Miguel Angel Sano will get his dream of playing with his favorite player, Mauer. Sano is only 16, but he should definitely be in the majors before Mauer’s contract expires in 2018.

Today, the ownership of the Twins made it sound like payroll will continue to increase in the next few years, even approaching $120 million. However, this doesn’t mean the Twins will be able to keep everyone. Joe Nathan and MIchael Cuddyer are among a few guys that should be gone after 2011 because they will be expensive and aging. But the Twins will have adequate replacements from their farm system. Ben Revere will be a good, young, and cheap replacement for Cuddyer, and the Twins have a lot of great young relief pitchers in the minors, including Anthony Slama, Alex Burnett, Rob Delaney, and Billy Bullock.

Did I mention that Mauer is making more money than the entire Twins team did in 1999?

Overall, this is a great day for the Minnesota Twins. They ensured that the best player in baseball, who will likely end up as the best catcher ever, will be playing for them for the next nine years. With a new ballpark, an amazing lineup, new uniforms, Liriano in ’06 form, and now Joe Mauer’s new contract, 2010 should be a great year for the Twins, and the future looks extremely bright, promising, and exciting as well.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

DSL Twins Prospects: Pedro Guerra

Pedro Guerra

Age: 19
Throws: Right
ETA: 2015
2010 outlook: GCL rotation

Pedro Guerra was born in Cagua, Venezuela in 1990. He is 6’0” and weighs 180 pounds. He pitched for the Twins Dominican Summer League team in 2008 and 2009. In 2008 he started in 14 games, and threw 84.1 innings. He had a 2.45 ERA, struck out 75, walked 12, and gave up 4 homers. So his K/9 ratio was 8.0, his BB/9 was 1.3, and his WHIP was 1.03.

He had a fantastic year in 2009. He pitched in 14 games and threw 71 innings. His win-loss was 7-0. He had an ERA of 0.38. He struck out 75 batters, and gave up 0 homers. So he had a 9.5 K/9, 1.5 BB/9, and a 0.79 WHIP. His K/BB for both years was 6.25. Those are some absolutely fantastic numbers.

Having posted two great years in the Dominican, along with the fact that he will turn 20 next month, I’d be very surprised if Guerra doesn’t play for the GCL Twins in Fort Myers, Florida. Don’t write Guerra’s name in ink for the Twins rotation in 5-6 years because he’s got a long way to go. It will be very interesting to see how he performs against tougher competition.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

DSL Twins Prospects: Cesar Ciurcina

Cesar Ciurcina

Age: 19
Throws: Right
ETA: 2015
2010 outlook: GCL rotation

Cesar Ciurcina is from Caracas, Venezuela, and he is 5’11” and weighs 192 pounds. He was a starting pitcher for the Twins Dominican Summer League team in 2008 and 2009. In 2008, he pitched in 11 games and threw 44 innings. He had a 3.68 ERA, a 3.50 K/BB ratio and a 1.227 WHIP. His BB/9 was also 2.0. He followed up a fine 2008 with a fantastic 2009. His 2009 numbers remind me of Adrian Salcedo.

In 2009, Ciurcina pitched in 15 games, and started in 13 of those. He was able to log 84 innings. During that time, he only gave up 13 earned runs (18 total), good enough for a 1.39 ERA. He also struck out 72 while only walking eight. That gives him a 7.71 SO/9 ratio with a 0.86 BB/9 ratio, a 9.00 K/BB ratio and a WHIP of 0.69, which was the league’s best.

Ciurcina will likely pitch in America for the GCL Twins next year. I see him as next year’s Adrian Salcedo.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

DSL Twins Prospects: Wander Guillen

Wander Guillen

Third Base
Age: 17
Bats: Right
ETA: 2016
Potential: Solid third baseman
2010 outlook: GCL Twins infield

Wander Guillen played for the Twins Dominican Summer League team this year. I didn’t include any DSL Twins in my top 50 prospects because the Twins Dominican academy is so far removed from Target Field. It is just really difficult to predict how the players there will perform in the other minor league levels, and if they will ever even reach the big leagues. I know my rankings included players like Jean, Kepler, Polanco, and Gibson who haven’t even played in the minors yet, but I had to draw the line somewhere. However, I still feel that there are a few players that were on the DSL Twins that are worthy of mention. I’ll start with Guillen.

Guillen is 5’11” and weighs 170 pounds. He still has time to grow bigger as he just turned 17 this August. Guillen could have played more had he started to play before the July 2nd international signing date. Guillen played in 31 games, and had 110 at-bats. In those 110 at-bats, he hit one homer, one triple, and three doubles. He walked 19 times compared to 23 strikeouts. He stole two bases. His triple slash line was .336/.443/.409. He had the team’s top batting average, and tied as the team leader of on-base percentage. Again it is hard to judge a 17 year old on 110 at-bats at such a low level.

I expect to see Guillen in the GCL Twins’ infield next season. That might end up being the Twins’ most interesting minor league infield in 2010 with Miguel Jean, Jorge Polanco, and Wander Guillen all playing there.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Other Twins prospects of note: Estarlin De Los Santos

Estarlin De Los Santos


Age: 22

ETA: 2012

Potential: Backup infielder

2010 outlook: New Britain shortstop

The Twins organization surprised many when they placed Estarlin De Los Santos on the 40 man roster recently. The move was unexpected because De Los Santos has not stayed healthy over the past two years, and has not posted good numbers. In 2008, he only played in 66 games at low-A ball and this year he played in only 70 games, and he's never really put together a great season.

The Twins obviously see something in De Los Santos that they like, and they apparently thought he could be selected in the Rule V draft. I doubt he would have been drafted, and even if he was selected, I don't see how a team could stash him on a big league roster for a whole year.

Here are some positives about De Los Santos. I've heard he has a good glove. The Baseball Cube rates his speed as a 95 out of 100. He did have 7 triples in 262 at-bats this year. For those wondering, his triple slash line was .290/.330/.397 at Fort Myers. Nothing spectacular.

To me, it seems like having the Dominican De Los Santos on the 40 man roster is a waste of a roster space. Trevor Plouffe is a level or two higher than him and has more potential than De Los Santos. Plus the Twins just traded for JJ Hardy, who hopefully will ably man the shortstop position for a few years. And a few levels behind De Los Santos are Jorge Polanco and Miguel Jean. So it will be interesting to see how Estarlin performs this season, but maybe he will show us why the Twins believe in him.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Top 50 Twins Prospects: #1 Miguel Sano

1. Miguel Sano


Age: 16

ETA: 2014

Potential: Superstar, middle-of-the-order bat, gold glove

2010 outlook: GCL Twins infield

Miguel Sano was signed by the Twins this September in the Dominican Republic. Sano was considered to be the best international prospect this year, and one of the best bats to ever come out of the Dominican Republic. The Twins gave him 3.15 million dollars for signing, the second-highest figure ever given to a Latin American prospect, and easily the most the Twins have ever spent on an international player.

Sano is 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds, and he will surely get bigger, so it remains to be seen if he will stay at shortstop or be moved to a different position. His bat and his defense are said to be amazing. Some people have already compared him to superstars like Hanley Ramirez or A-Rod, or Miguel Cabrera. The Twins are very lucky to have signed this young Dominican and while the majors are a long ways away, the sky is the limit for Miguel Sano.

Top 50 Twins Prospects: #2 Aaron Hicks

2. Aaron Hicks


Bats: Switch

ETA: 2013

Potential: Superstar OF, middle-of-the-order bat, gold glove

2010 outlook: Fort Myers outfield

Aaron Hicks was the Twins first round pick in the 2008 draft. He had a great year at rookie ball in ’08. In 173 at-bats he had 10 doubles, 4 triples, and 4 homers, to go along with 12 stolen bases and a .318/.409/.491 triple slash line. He had 28 walks compared to 32 strikeouts.

He spend some time in extended spring training this year, and then he joined class low A Beloit. He struggled a little, but he hit .251/.353/.382, with 4 homers, 3 triples, and 15 doubles. He did steal 10 bases, and he walked 40 times compared to 55 strikeouts. But he is still a little raw.

Hicks will be a 5-tool player. He plays great defense due to his considerable speed, and his powerful arm. It should be noted that teams wanted to draft Hicks to be a pitcher because of his high-90’s fastball. He is already showing considerable patience and a good batting eye at the plate. His power isn’t bad either, and will only get better.

Hicks should be in the Twins outfield in 3 or 4 years, and when he gets there, he should be batting in the middle of the order with 30-35 homer power to go along with lots of stolen bases, a great batting eye, and gold glove defense.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Top 50 Twins Prospects: #3 Kyle Gibson

3. Kyle Gibson

Starting Pitcher

Throws: Right

Age: 22

ETA: 2011

Potential: #1/2 starter

2010 outlook: Will start at class A Fort Myers, but will fly through the system

Kyle Gibson was the Twins first round pick in the 2009 draft. He was expected to be one of the first 5 players drafted, but a minor injury scared many teams away. So the Twins got the steal of the draft and quickly snatched up Gibson. He pitched at the University of Missouri for three years. His last year there, he threw 107 innings and struck out 131, while walking only 19. He had a WHIP of 1.07. Those are outstanding numbers. He didn’t pitch in the minors this season because he was finishing recovering from an injury.

The Baseball Cube rates his control as an 84, his K-rating as a 90, his efficiency as an 89, and his vsPower as a 93. So you can see that he is amazing all-around. He’s listed at 6 feet 6 inches, 208 lbs., so he’s got a great pitcher’s body.

When the Twins signed Gibson, most thought that he instantly became the top Twins pitching prospect. The Twins have said that Gibson will start pitching at class A Fort Myers next season. He should move quickly through the upper three levels of the minors, and while I wouldn’t expect to see him in 2010, he should be there shortly thereafter.

Top 50 Twins Prospects: #4 David Bromberg

4. David Bromberg

Starting Pitcher

Throws: Right

Age: 22

ETA: 2011

Potential: #1/2 starter

2010 outlook: Class AA New Britain, could be promoted to class AAA Rochester

David Bromberg was the Twins 32nd round pick in the 2005 draft. Bromberg led all of the minors with 177 strikeouts in 2008, while posting a 4.44 ERA. This year he led the league in strikeouts with 148 in 153 inning. He was also named the Twins minor league pitcher of the year. His ERA was great, fourth best in the league, at 2.70.

It’s a lot easier to have success in the big leagues if you can strikeout a lot of batters, and Bromberg has shown that he can do that, posting a 9.5 K/9 strikeout rate in the minors. 2010 should be his last full year in the minors, and sometime during the 2nd half of 2011 he should get called up to Minnesota, where I expect him to become one of the best 2 or 3 pitchers in the rotation.