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The Guys Carrying the Twins

Posted by Ted Schwerzler , 28 March 2018 · 1,229 views

minnesota twins miguel sano jake odorizzi mitch garver max kepler
We've made it, it's finally here, the last day without meaningful baseball for the next six months has arrived. On March 29th, the Minnesota Twins will kick off the 2018 Major League Baseball season with Jake Odorizzi toeing the rubber against Dylan Bundy and the Baltimore Orioles. Having offered some opinions on the league-wide awards, I figured now would be a good time to dive into my predictions for the hometown club.

Going into the year, expectations are relatively high for Paul Molitor's group. They're coming off a Postseason berth and have the advantage of playing in a weak division. Although the gap may not yet have been closed on the Cleveland Indians, there's no argument that it hasn't been made substantially smaller (at least on paper). If the Twins are going to make noise in the Central, American League, and across Major League Baseball as a whole this year, these are the guys who will be a big part of the process.

Team MVP- Miguel Sano

Despite being the reigning MVP, and entering a contract year, I think Sano overtakes Brian Dozier. Coming off an offseason that saw plenty of ups and downs, the third basemen appears all system go. There's no suspension looming, and the rod inserted into his leg doesn't appear to be holding him back in the slightest. Although the numbers don't mean much, Sano turned in an impressive spring, and they bat is absolutely going to play. I'd bet heavily on this being the first 30 home run season of his career, and pushing towards 50 is hardly out of the question if he can stay healthy. Twins fans have been waiting for his emergence since being a teenager, and Miguel Sano is finally ready to explode.

Pitcher of the Year- Jake Odorizzi

A season ago, Orodizzi posted the worst ERA of his career, was above 5.00 FIP for the first time, and walked a career worst 3.8 batters per nine. Why in the world would he be the best Twins pitcher at 28 years old? Well, I think there's plenty to be made of the back injury that he pitched through for the bulk of the season. Odorizzi isn't going to get much of a defensive boost as he already played in front of a good one with the Rays. I do believe he has middle-of-the-rotation stuff however, and the floor is very high with him. Jose Berrios has the ability to be a better pitcher than Odorizzi, but there's a decent level of volatility there as well.

Rookie of the Year- Mitch Garver

After finally making his debut in September 2017, I believed that Mitch Garver was deserving of a promotion much earlier. He absolutely raked at Triple-A Rochester, and it's his bat that brings intrigue behind the dish. Pairing with Jason Castro, Paul Molitor (won't but) should platoon his two backstops. Garver can dominate left-handed pitching, and he's more than capable behind the plate. He'll throw out his fair share of would be base stealers, and I'd expect him to be a bright spot for Minnesota. Deviating away from the veteran backstop that offers little in terms of offensive upside, Garver has the talent to be a true threat on his own.

Most Improved- Max Kepler

Last season saw the emergence of Byron Buxton, Eddie Rosario, and even Jorge Polanco down the stretch. Miguel Sano has been a known commodity for a bit, even if I believe there's more in the tank. This season though, I think we see Max Kepler really begin to come into his own. For a while I've been of the belief that Kepler could be cut from a similar cloth as Christian Yelich. A good defender with adequate speed that has a real ability at the plate. Thus far Kepler has struggled with lefties, and he's yet to really set himself in the batters box. Hitting the 20 home run plateau for the first time is a good bet, and it's really only the tip of his offensive ice berg.

For more from Off the Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz

  • woolywoolhouse, ToddlerHarmon and MN_ExPat like this



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theBOMisthebomb
Mar 28 2018 10:42 AM
I am buying what you are selling here.
I would lean more towards Buxton as MVP. I definitely believe he will be the "straw that stirs the drink". If uninjured he will put up some very gaudy numbers, offensively and defensively. His baserunning alone will be worth the price of admission. Sano will likely put up some gaudy numbers of his own, but they will be all offensive. His average defense, and SO % will mitigate the effect of all those long flys. The difference to me is simple. Sano is a hitter, Buxton is a baseball player!
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Lee-The-Twins-Fan
Mar 29 2018 09:27 AM

 

I would lean more towards Buxton as MVP. I definitely believe he will be the "straw that stirs the drink". If uninjured he will put up some very gaudy numbers, offensively and defensively. His baserunning alone will be worth the price of admission. Sano will likely put up some gaudy numbers of his own, but they will be all offensive. His average defense, and SO % will mitigate the effect of all those long flys. The difference to me is simple. Sano is a hitter, Buxton is a baseball player!

I agree wholeheartedly with this, although it may be close between them.

 

Oh, and people who want to move Sano to 1B: I disagree. He's fine at 3B. He's got a rocket for an arm that would be wasted at 1B.