5 Twins Over/Unders in Shortened Season
Image courtesy of © Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports1. Byron Buxton games played: 60.5
As has been pointed out all offseason, the Twins are simply better when Buxton is in the lineup. He was getting close to returning from labrum surgery as the league shut down in March, and he should be close to 100% by early July.
In a normal 162-game schedule, manager Rocco Baldelli likely would’ve eased Buxton back into play with routine off-days throughout the year. In what is now a sprint, I expect him to play more regularly. Still, the injury risk remains. Are you taking the over or under?
2. Nelson Cruz home runs: 21.5
Cruz homered in nearly 8% of his plate appearances in 2019. The universal DH is all but implemented, so king Nelly will get to terrorize the National League on the road this summer. I have him pegged for 290 to 320 plate appearances.
If the missing tendon in his left wrist doesn’t bother him too much, Cruz could easily push for the home run crown in 2020. An 8% home run rate in 300 plate appearances would give him 24 bombas, but I accounted for the long flyouts at Busch Stadium in St.Louis. Are you taking the over or under?
3. Luis Arráez batting average: .320
Arráez hit .334 in 92 games last year. In a smaller sample in 2020, the possibility of higher averages, on-base percentages, and slugging percentages skyrockets. I wouldn’t be surprised if Arráez matched or surpassed his numbers from 2019.
I also wouldn’t be shocked if the league makes an adjustment and Arráez struggles to respond. When I say “struggles,” I mean hitting .290 instead of .334. This kid can hit. Are you taking the over or the under?
4. Twins Cy Young awards: 0.5
Bear with me here. I think Kenta Maeda has a very real chance to be the Twins’ best starter this year. His strikeout numbers are outstanding, his slider is disgusting, and he gets righties out better than any starter in baseball.
Betsy Helfand reported Friday that Rich Hill says he’s ready for the planned opening day in July. When healthy, he’s among the best starters in baseball. José Berríos was a Cy Young contender at the break last year, and won’t have to deal with a 200-inning workload this summer. Are you taking the over or the under?
5. Mitch Garver OPS: .888
Garver posted a .995 OPS in 93 games last year. How many games he will play in a condensed season remains to be seen. Assuming he gets about a 75/25 split with Alex Avila, he may play around 61 games.
Garver’s elite plate discipline and ability to destroy fastballs in the zone have propelled him to Mike Piazza-like heights. The reigning Silver Slugger winner is not close to done, and with some regression built in, should hover around the .900 mark in OPS this summer. Are you taking the over or the under?
MORE FROM TWINS DAILY
— Latest Twins coverage from our writers
— Recent Twins discussion in our forums
— Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
- nclahammer likes this