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  1. Central Intelligence: Indians Vulnerable

    Key Additions: Carlos Santana, Jake Bauers
    Santana played his first eight big league seasons in Cleveland before signing a three-year $60 million deal with Philadelphia. The Phillies traded him back to the Indians this off-season in a deal that sent Edwin Encarnacion to Seattle. Santana offers some more line-up flexibility since he is a switch-hitter and he can play multiple positions.

    Jake Bauers was also part of the Santana trade. He could start the year in the Indians outfield or split time with Santana at first base. He’s only 23 years old and he hit 11 home runs last year for Tampa. Since Tampa was willing to part with him, one has to wonder if they know something that others do not.

    Key Departures: Yonder Alonso, Michael Brantley, Edwin Encarnacion, Yan Gomes, Yandy Diaz, Rajai Davis, Brandon Guyer, Lonnie Chisenhall, Josh Donaldson, Melky Cabrera, Cody Allen, Andrew Miller, and Josh Tomlin.

    A team could field a pretty good squad with the players that left the Indians from the end of last season. Heck, you might be able to win a Wild Card spot with this crew. Cody Allen and Andrew Miller were key late inning pieces for the Cleveland’s recent success. Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez will drive the offense but there are plenty of holes in the rest of the line-up.

    What if one of their key pieces gets hurt? This club might not score a ton of runs and they are going to rely on their strong starting staff to keep games close.

    Potential X-Factors: Trevor Bauer
    Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco are going to be a strong one-two punch at the top of the rotation, but Trevor Bauer could be a difference maker as the club’s number three pitcher. He does some outlandish things on social media and has hurt his hand with a drone, but he could put together some solid numbers that help to prove he belongs with the top two Indians arms.

    FanGraphs Projected 2019 Record: 92-70
    My Projected 2019 Record: 87-76 (Win Game 163 against the Twins)

    2018 Record: 91-71 (1st Place AL Central, Lost ALDS to Astros)
    2017 Record: 102-60, (1st Place AL Central, Lost ALDS to Yankees)
    2016 Record: 94-67, (1st Place in the AL Central, Lost World Series to Cubs)

    • Mar 27 2019 08:34 AM
    • by Cody Christie
  2. Carlos Santana Is a Perfect Fit for the Twins

    Jayson Stark of The Athletic reported the Mariners are telling teams “they’re fine” with holding on to Santana, but that they’ve also had trade conversations with multiple teams about moving him. I can’t imagine it would cost a great deal to acquire him. The big piece of value in the trade that sent Jean Segura to Philadelphia was J.P. Crawford, who Baseball America had as its No. 16 prospect in the game heading into last season.

    Santana basically has something like $41.7 million guaranteed to him over the next two years (there’s a team option for a third season, I included the buyout in that estimate). That’s a lot, but it’s only two years. The Twins don’t have much in future liabilities, and there’s always the chance they can get Seattle to eat some of that money.

    So that’s why the Mariners would likely be open to moving him, but why the Twins would want to bring him aboard?

    First off, Santana had more walks (110) than strikeouts (93) last season. His 16.2 BB% trailed only Mike Trout, Bryce Harper and Joey Votto. A switch-hitter, Santana also comes with no platoon concerns. He has a career .816 OPS against lefties and an even .800 OPS versus right-handers. He’s also been incredibly durable, reaching at least 600 plate appearances for eight straight seasons. He’s a guy who you can count on in the middle of your lineup everyday, no matter who is on the mound.

    How about that on-base ability? On the downside, his .352 OBP was the lowest he’s posted in seven seasons. The plus side is that’s still well above league average (.318). Also, part of that dip in his OBP was due to the fact Santana had a career-low .231 BABIP in 2018 (his career BABIP is .265).

    The 2019 Steamer projections like Santana to bounce back, projecting his wRC+ to jump from 109 this past season to 122 next year. That same system is forecasting a 102 wRC+ from Tyler Austin.

    Speaking of which, Santana’s arrival would certainly push Austin out the door. Maybe he could be a piece that heads to Seattle in the deal to acquire Santana, who knows? I’m starting to sour on the idea of Austin getting regular playing time with the Twins next season. Ted was also wondering aloud in the blog section how much longer Austin would be around.

    Strikeouts are bearable, but only to a certain point. Consider this:

    Tyler Austin 36.6 K%
    Miguel Sano 36.3 K%
    Byron Buxton 31.7 K%

    You just can't have an everyday lineup that includes all three of those guys.

    Jake Cave also has some contact issues (33.0 K%) so it’s not like you’d be getting any relief in the event Buxton went down with an injury. In case you were wondering, Cron has a 22.6 K% for his career, that was up slightly to 25.9 last season. Santana’s career K% is just 16.6, and that was all the way down to 13.7 last year.

    Santana is a guy who can stabilize the middle of Minnesota’s lineup, provide a veteran presence and combat a few issues that appear to be concerns for the Twins right now.

    • Dec 06 2018 06:43 AM
    • by Tom Froemming
  3. Big Splash Coming in Twins Territory

    Since Joe Mauer has decided to hang up his cleats and the organization could choose to move on from Robbie Grossman, the starting lineup is lacking some on-base prowess. On top of that reality, a feared slugger to anchor the middle of the order is essential for Rocco Baldelli’s group. Checking off both of those boxes in the form of one player would be the most optimal way to go about it, and that leads me to believe in the following necessity: A successful offseason for the organization almost must include the acquisition of Josh Donaldson, Nelson Cruz, Carlos Santana, or Daniel Murphy.

    The names above are not all created equal, and there’re warts that come with each of them. However, given the mix of power and on-base skills, along with the plausible acquisition costs, each profile seems like too good of a match to pass up. Suggesting that any of the four-some are true superstars may be a stretch, but in terms of incoming talent to a Minnesota squad, they all present the opportunity to grab both an impact name and impact ability.

    Diving into them individually, here’s how they break down and rank for me:

    Josh Donaldson

    At 33 Donaldson is arguably the most complete mix of perfection in this group. He’d push Miguel Sano over to first base, but the infield would be better because of it. Obviously, there’s significant injury concern here, as he hasn’t played more than 115 games either of the past two seasons. If the bill of health is good though, he was a model of consistency from 2013-2016. A career .367 OBP guy with a .507 SLG, Donaldson would be a surefire superstar in the heart of the Twins lineup. He’s mashed at Target Field (albeit off Twins pitching) and would certainly elevate the overall ability of the starting nine. A high AAV on a one-year deal, or something a bit more conservative on a three-year deal needs to be something Minnesota jumps at.

    Nelson Cruz

    Despite being the elder statesmen of this group, Cruz is appealing as he’s aged incredibly well. He’s going to be 38 this upcoming season, and even in his “down year” last season, an .850 OPS was still posted. The Twins would need to be certain that it’s not the beginning of the end, but a guy who posted a .925 OPS with 126 HR’s from 2015-2017 is someone to take a serious look at. With a career .342 OBP, Cruz has surpassed that mark each of the past four years, and he’s still a perennial All-Star. This is not a guy who can do anything but DH for you, but that’s a need for Minnesota and his presence should be welcomed on a one or two-year pact.

    Carlos Santana

    If it’s not Donaldson to shore up some of the infield situation then Santana makes an incredible amount of sense. The only caveat here is that he’s a trade target, but the choice can be made to include lesser prospects and pay more, or increase the return and have the Phillies kick in. Philadelphia is a motivated seller in this case, and the Falvey connection is certainly there. The catcher-turned-first-basemen still posted a .352 OBP during his first sub-.800 OPS season since 2015 last year. He provides a strong bat from both sides of the plate (being even better as a lefty) and plays average defense as well. Taking on the finals two years of his current deal (and the 2021 option) would be a nice fit for Minnesota.

    Daniel Murphy

    Of this group it’s Murphy who really profiles the most difficult to fit. He’s a second basemen by trade but is terrible or worse in the field. He’s never played much more than a fill-in role at first but would likely be much better suited there. In 2019 Murphy will be 34 and looking for what should be his last payday. You can expect him to provide a high .700 OPS, but the .900-plus marks in two full seasons with Washington may be wishful thinking. Murphy is a high average, high on-base guy, with more gap power than anything. He’ll launch about 20 long balls a year, but it’s the doubles that will really come in bunches. Coming off injury last season he got into just 91 games, and that could help to suppress his price some in this market. I’d prefer not to see him play up the middle with Jorge Polanco, but inking him to a three-year deal isn’t a bad idea either.

    When the dust settles on this offseason, I think it’s a pretty fair expectation to assume the Twins will have at least two new infielders (2B/SS and 1B/3B), as well as at least one new reliever. Adding in a top-three starter would be a bonus, and a designated hitter could be addressed as well. Given what’s out there however, none of the necessary additions can simply be band-aids. Whether or not the front-office goes for it in 2019 or beginning in 2020 doesn’t much matter. This club needs an impact bat in the worst way and skimping on that should draw ire from the fan base.

    Buckle up as things are about to get interesting.

    • Nov 15 2018 08:02 PM
    • by Ted Schwerzler
  4. Rundown: Mauer Being a Pain, Prospect Lists, Philly Trade Rumors and Other Notes

    There were so many great Mauer articles, and I’m sure there will be more to come, but one of my favorite pieces from yesterday came from Scott Merkin of MLB.com. It may seem weird to include something from a White Sox beat writer, but I’ve really enjoyed hearing the reactions to Mauer’s retirement from sources outside of the Twins organization/Twin Cities.

    Merkin asked former Twins pitcher and longtime White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper about Joe. Cooper called Mauer the best left-handed hitter he’s seen in the 15 years he’s been with Chicago and added “he became a pain in the ass.” I don’t know if you can get a higher compliment than that coming from a very well-respected pitching guru. There are several other glowing quotes from Cooper on Mauer in that piece.

    It was prospect list mania last week. Seth shared his preliminary top 30 here at the site. Also, Mike Berardino’s top 10 list for Baseball America was unveiled. Lance Brozdowski shared his own top 30 at Prospects Live.

    Jhoan Duran, who was acquired in the Eduardo Escobar trade, has some serious steam. He was inside the top 10 in each of the lists linked above. I get it, Duran has good size, a smooth delivery and sits 96 mph easy and the secondary stuff is also getting rave reviews. I do think it’s curious that he had relatively little success in his three and a half seasons in the Diamondbacks system, at least in comparison to how he broke out with the Twins.

    I’m also surprised at the lack of love for Lewis Thorpe. Seth had him at No. 8, which feels about right, but he didn’t make the BA top 10 and Prospects Live had him at 22. I guess in some ways I can understand that too, as Thorpe’s overall athleticism doesn’t stand out like some of the other pitchers in the system. A lot of scouts also believe Thorpe will end up in the bullpen.

    As with all prospects, you can see a lot of potential future outcomes with these two, but it seems to me like these rankings are generally bumping Duran more for his ceiling while knocking Thorpe down for his floor. I may end up the high man on Thorpe and the lowest on Duran (you’ll be able to find my list in the Twins Prospect Handbook, which comes out later this winter), but all that really means is I’m more comfortable with Thorpe, who’s a much more realized product. If Duran puts up the kind of numbers Thorpe already has in the high minors, I think we’d all be thrilled.

    Over at FanGraphs, Craig Edwards both ranked and put a dollar value on all the farm systems across baseball. The Twins slotted in at seventh behind only the Padres, Braves, White Sox, Rays, Blue Jays and Reds.

    Among the many notes in his latest piece, Ken Rosenthal passed along that the Phillies are pushing Carlos Santana aggressively on the trade market. Santana is coming off somewhat of a down year by his standards, but he still had a .352 OBP and more walks than strikeouts. He’s owed more than $35 million total over the next two seasons, then has a $17.5 million option in 2021. A switch-hitter with good on-base skills would look really good in the Twins lineup, and Derek Falvey is obviously very familiar with Santana after all the years they spent together in Cleveland.

    Over at MLB.com, Mike Petriello listed the Twins as one of the four logical trade destinations for Santana. The other teams listed were the Rockies, Mariners and Angels.

    Late last week over at The Athletic, Dan Hayes wrote an article about how Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton have put the Twins at a crossroads. There are a lot of interesting parallels drawn between the Twins and some of the most successful teams in baseball right now, along with some interesting quotes from members of the Astros and Cubs front offices. But something Thad Levine said was a bit deflating to me.

    Levine told Hayes that if Sano and Buxton take a step forward “I think we have primed ownership to then give us the green light to take more of an aggressive step forward with this unit of players.” We’ll see how the offseason unfolds, but that quote leads me to believe there’s going to be more of a holding pattern this upcoming season. That they'll wait for a Sano/Buxton breakout before really getting aggressive. That’s the last thing I want to see. Be buyers or sellers. You’re either in or you’re out. No more middle ground.

    Looking for a job in baseball? The Twins are hiring a Baseball Research Analyst. Duties include “statistical modeling and quantitative analysis to aid in the creation and improvement of models/tools for decision making in player development, game strategy, scouting, trades and free agency.” I sure hope they hire somebody soon!

    MLB Trade Rumors released its list of non-tender candidates and there are a number of interesting middle infielders included. They’re on the list for a reason, but guys like Devon Travis, Jonathan Schoop and Tim Beckham are still fairly young and have shown some flashes. Old friend Yangervis Solarte is also on the list.

    Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that there’s nearly zero chance Michael Brantley returns to the Indians. He adds that the starting outfield as it stands would be some combination of Jason Kipnis, Leonys Martin, Greg Allen or Tyler Naquin. In other words, not good.

    Jon Heyman of Fancred reported that Cleveland had talks with the Yankees about potential Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco trades. It’s hard to really make any conclusions until actual transactions start to happen, but it’s certainly sounding like Cleveland is more likely to sell off pieces than it is to make any big additions.

    Six of the seven players who were extended qualifying offers rejected them. The only player to accept was Hyun-Jin Ryu, who will return to the Dodgers. I’m not sure if the Twins would have had a realistic shot to land Ryu, but his absence from the free agent market will create some more competition for the left-handed starters who are available.

    • Nov 14 2018 08:15 AM
    • by Tom Froemming
  5. Twins Mailbag: Kohl Stewart, Mauer Extension, DH Options

    Kohl Stewart Not Added to 40-Man


    It was a little surprising not to see Kohl Stewart’s name on the team’s list of additions to the 40-man roster. Stewart, the former fourth overall pick, signed for $4.544 million when he was selected in the 2013 Draft. That’s a lot of money invested in a player who could end up being selected by another organization in the Rule 5 Draft. However, he was picked under the previous front office regime.

    As a pitching prospect, Stewart has yet to put it all together. In high school, he was a two-sport star with a Division I scholarship to play quarterback. He has been over two years younger than the competition at every minor league stop, so he has been facing older players. That being said, his strikeouts haven’t ever shown up and he still has things to prove.

    If a team wants to take a flyer on him in the Rule 5 Draft, they could try to hide him in their big league bullpen. He’s only made three relief appearances in his entire professional career. Even if a team picks him, I think he will end up back in the Twins organization. Stewart isn’t ready to be on a big league roster for the entire season.

    Joe Mauer Extension

    Here at Twins Daily, there has been a lot of talk about who the Twins should offer extensions to this off-season. There is a young core of players who are going to get expensive. Joe Mauer and Brian Dozier both will see their contracts expire at the end of 2018. This leaves the front office with some decisions to make about the veteran leadership around their young core.

    I believe Mauer will finish his career in a Twins uniform. At this point in his career, I don’t know if it make sense to sign him to a four-year deal. I also don’t know if he is going to want to play for another four seasons. He has a young family and a life outside of baseball and there are other opportunities he could pursue. On Twitter, I wondered out loud if he would be open to a Tim Wakefield-type of contract. Keep him on one-year contracts as long as the team and the player agree with him playing.

    When it comes to the 3,000 hit mark, Mauer is going to need to have quite the stretch. Since 2014, he’s averaged 143 hits per season. At that rate, he wouldn’t crack the 3,000 hit mark for another seven years. He would be in his age-42 season so that seems like it will be an uphill climb.

    Free Agent DH Options

    Eric Hosmer and JD Martinez are the two players who are going to make a lot of money this off-season. MLB Trade Rumors ranks Martinez as the second best free agent with an estimated six-year, $150 million contract. Hosmer ranks as the number three free agent with an estimated six-year, $132 million deal. I think if the Twins are going to spend that kind of money it would be in the club’s best interest to spend their funds on pitching.

    There is another tier of designated hitter-type players who could fit better with the Twins. Carlos Santana is a name that has been thrown around but plenty of other teams would be interested in his services as well. According to MLB Trade Rumors, he could sign in the $45 million range on a three-year contract. Some of the market will begin to unfold after Ohtani picks the club where he is going to sign.

    Adding More Pitching

    Spending money on free agent pitchers isn’t always the smartest investment. Pitchers like Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta are going to command multi-year contracts for north of $100 million. Both players are in their early 30’s which would put them in their late 30’s before their contract would expire. This usually results in some dead money at the end of the deal. As players age further into their 30’s, they lose some effectiveness.

    Falvey and Levine were a little surprised by the Twins being in contention during their first year on the job. With that being said, I think they want to make a splash this off-season. They are going to go hard after Darvish to try to lure him to Minnesota. If that doesn’t work out, I could see them packaging multiple prospects to go after the likes of Jake Odorizzi or Gerrit Cole. Nick Gordon would likely need to be a centerpiece of that kind of trade. The front office might be fine with dealing him after Jorge Polanco’s emergence in 2017.

    Was leaving Stewart off the 40-man a mistake? Should Mauer get an extension? What DH could the Twins sign? Do free agent pitchers make sense for the Twins? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

    • Dec 07 2017 05:55 AM
    • by Cody Christie
  6. Supplementing the Twins: A Bat for Hire

    Robbie Grossman will go down as one of the Twins better acquisitions in recent memory. Cast off by both the Houston Astros and Cleveland Indians, the corner outfielder was picked up off the scrap heap, and proved invaluable to Minnesota during his tenure here. He’s been an on-base machine, a clubhouse presence, and a somewhat steadying presence at DH.

    Coming off a season in which they made an unexpected Wild Card berth, the Twins goal will be to take the next step in 2018. While Grossman could be a part of that roster, he’s also the type of player you’d like to see expanded upon for overall roster advancement. Getting either more power or better defense from someone who can hit from the right side and play either first base or outfield is a good path to travel down. With that in mind, what are the Twins options?

    Easily the best name on this list, and likely the most sought after, is Carlos Santana. The former Indians first basemen is adept in the field (he should’ve won a Gold Glove this season if it wasn’t going to go to Joe Mauer), and his bat is more than capable. As a switch hitter, he’s hit from both sides well over the course of his career, despite being better from the left side in 2017. An .842 OPS with 57 homers over the past two seasons is something Minnesota would gladly inject into the lineup.

    Derek Falvey already has a certain level of rapport with Santana, and while that’s not going to net him much of a discount (if any), it gives them a place to start. After making $12 million in 2017, and playing 2018 at 32, he’ll be looking for a payday. While he’s not an ideal answer in the OF, Santana can spell Mauer at 1B and handle DH duties on an everyday basis. This is a splash that would be a big difference maker.

    A step or so down from Santana comes in the likes of a former Twins divisional foe. Todd Frazier doesn’t check off the box of an outfielder, but he’s a right-handed power bat Minnesota could give a look to. Having played the hot corner for the vast majority of his career, Frazier has also ventured over to 1B previously, and could take on a DH role.

    Traded to the Yankees for the stretch run, Frazier left the AL Central after just one and a half seasons with the White Sox. He last posted an .800+ OPS in 2015, and that was only the second time doing so over the course of his career. While his average sagged heavily in 2017, the .344 OPS (and .365 across 66 games with the Yankees) were very impressive. For a guy who can routinely lose 25+ balls in the seats, while getting on base, Minnesota could have interest if the money is right. Frazier could play third if Miguel Sano is forced into a permanent DH situation, and that also adds another wrinkle to the Twins intrigue.

    On the lowest rung of this totem pole, we find Target Field killer Jose Bautista. Coming off a terrible season and now 37 years old, it’s entirely possible the one-time Blue Jays bat flipper is cooked. What’s also a possibility is that there may be just enough left in the tank for a team-friendly deal to make sense.

    Despite a .674 OPS in 2017, Bautista posted an .817 OPS a year prior, and hadn’t dipped below an .800 OPS since 2009. He’s been an MVP candidate, Silver Slugger, and an All-Star while being a bomber who can hold his own in the outfield. Bautista didn’t hit anyone last year, and he’s actually been a reverse splits guy (hitting righties better) for the past few seasons. At this juncture, Baustista’s bargaining chips are fading which could make him appealing if the right situation presents itself.

    Summarizing this Supplementing the Twins series as a whole, my ideal offseason includes the acquisition of a starter and two relievers. Beyond that, a second starter and a bench bat would follow suit in order of preference. The reality here is that the Twins are entering a period in which they should be able to make a sustained run at the postseason. The more ground work they do to support the internal developments that have been made, the more they stand to gain. We don’t need to see them break the bank, but we’ve embarked upon the “Go for it” moments of this thing, and there are actions that can be taken to reflect that.

    • Nov 10 2017 06:24 AM
    • by Ted Schwerzler
  7. Falvey, Levine Well-Suited To Solve Roster Riddles

    But Twins fans know all too well that can be a dangerous game to play. Miguel Sano to the outfield was a disaster. Luckily, Falvey knows how dangerous that can be, as well.

    Falvey's first-hand experience with Carlos Santana should be particularly valuable in concern to trying to resolve some of the Twins' issues. For the first four years of his career, Santana was primarily a catcher. Then Cleveland asked him to do some strange things in 2014, having him learn third base in spring training while still catching sparingly. Santana got off to a terrible start and suffered a concussion in June. That led Cleveland to use Santana strictly as a 1B/DH from there forward.

    It also took a few seasons for Cleveland to find defensive homes for Jose Ramirez and Lonnie Chisenhall. Both players have filled unexpected needs this season. Had Juan Uribe panned out at third base and Michael Brantley been healthy who knows what would have happened with Ramirez and Chisenhall. But even when those two appeared to just be spare parts, Cleveland wisely held on to both of them.

    It was reported by La Velle E. Neal III this week Texas Assistant General Manager Thad Levine was expected to be the Twins next GM. Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News confirmed that report. While nothing will be made official until after the World Series, there hasn't been a shred of news from either team denying those reports.

    The Rangers also have an encouraging recent track record of finding creative ways to put together a lineup. They took a big gamble on Ian Desmond last offseason, converting him from shortstop to outfield, and were rewarded with a solid season. They also had to solve the puzzle of how to use Jurickson Profar. He ended up playing 10 or more games at each of 3B, 2B, 1B, LF and SS.

    When you win your division, like Cleveland and Texas did, all those moves look really smart and inventive. One could argue that each of those decisions were made with the same intention as most of the Twins' tinkering. But the difference in the results is undeniable.

    Of course, Falvey and Levine aren't going to try to do the exact same things they did with their previous organizations. They're going to be flexible based on the team's personnel. But how might those lessons learned be applied to the Twins?
    In the case of Santana, Cleveland opted to put their best hitter in the best possible position to succeed, regardless of other positional needs. Then they filled holes with secondary players like Ramirez and Chisenhall. What might that look like on the Twins? Putting Miguel Sano at DH full-time and letting the other chips fall where they may. That may make Kennys Vargas and Byungho Park appear to be redundant, but you never know.

    Desmond was a case of the Rangers eyeing a player who they believed could be a difference maker, but they didn't have an obvious defensive position to plug him into. What might that look like on the Twins?

    Well, we're not sure if Jorge Polanco can be a big league shortstop, but his bat looks legit. If Brian Dozier sticks around and Falvey/Levine don't trust Polanco at short everyday, they may have to get creative to keep his bat in the lineup. Could Polanco be a Plan B in left field if Eddie Rosario can't improve? Seems as plausible as Ian Desmond signing as a center fielder a year ago at this time: Crazy.

    That's just me spit-balling a few ideas that could be considered. Without knowing how the roster will shake out it's tough to even speculate what kinds of changes may be bandied about. But with new evaluators coming in, new ideas will surely be presented and I'm sure no stone will be left unturned.

    After so many years of the Twins having such a predictable approach under Terry Ryan, it's anyone's guess the direction the new front office may take. It should be a fascinating offseason.

    • Oct 28 2016 05:30 AM
    • by Tom Froemming
  8. 2015 Projections and Rankings: Joe Mauer

    MINNESOTA TWINS – JOE MAUER

    After ten years as a major league catcher, foul tips to the mask finally caught up to Mauer and he made the move to first base in 2014. Did the concussion(s) affect the beginning of Mauer’s 2014 season at the plate? I think it would be hard to argue that it didn’t, and Mauer had the most difficult offensive season of his career. (Admittedly, he had set the bar very high) He hit just .277/.361/.371 (.732) with 27 doubles and four home runs.

    One big question for the Minnesota Twins in 2015 has to do with the soon-to-be 32-year-old Mauer. Will he be able to get close to those remarkable offensive numbers he put up for most of his first decade in the big leagues, or did that decade behind the plate do him in and he’ll continue to “struggle” in 2015? That’s the question, and of course, there is no way to answer that question with any certainty.

    So what are we projecting from Joe Mauer in 2015?

    The projections of our Twins Daily writers:

    Seth – .296/.371/.428 (.799) with 37 doubles and 8 HR.
    Nick – .315/.410/.445 (.855) with 40 doubles and 10 HR.
    Parker –
    John – .300/.380/.400 (780 OPS) with 35 doubles, and 8 HR.
    AL CENTRAL FIRST BASEMEN

    Opponent – Player – 2015 Age – 2014 Statistics
    Chicago – Jose Abreu – 28 - .317/.383/.581 (.964) with 35 doubles, 36-HR
    Cleveland – Carlos Santana – 29 - .231/.365/.427 (.792) with 25 doubles, 27-HR
    Detroit – Miguel Cabrera – 32 - .313/.371/.524 (.895) with 52 doubles, 25-HR
    Kansas City – Eric Hosmer – 25 - .270/.318/.398 (.716) with 35 doubles, 9-HR

    AL CENTRAL FIRST BASEMAN RANKINGS

    #1 – Jose Abreu – Chicago
    #2 – Miguel Cabrera – Detroit
    #3 – Carlos Santana – Cleveland
    #4 – Joe Mauer – Minnesota
    #5 – Eric Hosmer – Kansas City

    NOW IT’S YOUR TURN

    Give it a little thought and then go to the comments section below and post two things. First, make your statistical projection for Joe Mauer in 2015. Second, how would you rank the AL Central first basemen? Of course, then discuss with the rest of the Twins Daily community. Finally, check back throughout this next week as we’ll do these same things for each of the positions.

    • Mar 31 2015 06:53 PM
    • by Seth Stohs