Viking's success makes the Twins' life harder
by, 12-25-2012 at 01:11 AM (486 Views)
The Twins and Vikings. Both considered down and out for the considerable future after a 3-13 2011/2012 and a 99-loss season in 2011. Unfortunately for the Twins, the Vikings have come storming back after last season and now sit one win away from joining the playoffs. The Twins, on the other hand, again just avoided a 100-loss season. In several ways, this makes the Twins' life much more difficult in several ways.
1. Success of rookies and vets together. Something that the Vikings have going for them this year is that they have a solid group of rookies (several of whom are going to be very disappointed if they don't make the Pro Bowl) and vets who have combined for one of the greater turnarounds a team that doesn't have RG3 or Andrew Luck could have imagined. While the Twins may have a rookie or two (or more) on the 25-man roster this year, it takes them a while to get used to 162 games of Big-League pitching. This is a category the Twins desperately need to get together if they have any hope of competing this year.
2. Success of rookies. Rookies Harrison Smith, Blair Walsh, Matt Kalil, and Jarius Wright have all had hands in pushing the Vikings to this season right after just being in college. Their successful transition into the Vikings game plan has made their team by and large a team that can succeed in the playoffs. What doesn't go the Twins' way in this category is that players, even ones coming out of college as seniors have to start in the Minors, even if they are the best. They then have to stay there (sometimes for not very long) and things happen to them. They get hurt, they have bad years, and some fall to the wayside.
3. Success of the Draft. It is fairly easy to tell whether your players impact your team right away in the NFL. If they are on your 53-man roster and play regularly, they can have a huge impact on your team from the first game they play. While you do have to wait to judge the draft long-term for a while (no duh), the fact that they play right away gives their team an advantage, at least in the short run. The Twins and the rest of the MLB have to wait and watch their prospects climb the ladder, hoping that nothing happens to them on the way and that they are successful in helping their team out. It is impossible to judge the MLB draft short-term because no prospects are allowed to start in the Majors anymore, and that's why GM's like Billy Beane dub the draft a crap shoot.
4. Free-Agent attraction. The Twins, coming off of two 90+ loss seasons in a row, isn't a great place for FA's to go (unless they are trying to re-establish their value), especially with their well-earned reputation of not shelling out big bucks where FA's are concerned (Willingham is a wonderful exception to this rule.) The price of FA's in the MLB is also rapidly rising, making small-market teams like the Twins have to rely more and more on the draft and international signings to keep themselves going. The Vikings have been slightly better at attracting FA's, but with the promotion of Spielman to GM, will probably be relying more on the draft to supply them with fresh talent, and rightfully so. However, if they really wanted to make their team better in an instant with the right FA signing, with the spending cap that is imposed, they statistically have a much better chance of being able to get FA's because teams can't pay mega-bucks for them.
FA's are also much more interested in going to a team if they have shown recent success. 90+ losses: not attractive in the slightest. Going from 3 wins to 9+ in one season and having the base players to repeat such success makes that team much more attractive to FA's.
And now for my point. The Vikings, with their success in the draft showing on the field, and with their playoff (yes, playoff) hopes either being fulfilled or dashed next Sunday, have risen the bar for the Twins. Their turnaround from 3-13 and a Top 3 pick (until they traded it) to either 9-7 or 10-6 will make Twins fans, including myself, wishing for the kind of turnaround for the Twins that the Vikings have had this year, and unless nearly everyone on the roster has above-average years, I don't see it happening this year.
Now before I go, I want to make my prediction for the rest of the football season. The Vikes win next week, 31-24, face the Packers again in the Division series, win there, beat the 49ers who are the 2 seed, then face Atlanta in the NFCCG, beat them there, avenging their loss all those years ago by having Walsh kick the game-winning field goal, then beat Denver in the Super Bowl with AP running in the winning touchdown to prove that he should be the MVP and Comeback Player of the Year. (I better not get nasty messages about this, this is completely guessing (and most likely my guessing incorrectly and quite deludedly)). SKOL VIKES!