03-27-2014, 01:40 PM #1
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SI's 2014 MLB predictions
Honestly didn't expect to see Twins appear in this column, but they made it in twice.
In the Free-Agent Flop category, Cliff Corcoran predicted:
Phil Hughes, Twins, RHP
Hughes' back problems, which have hampered him to varying degrees in each of the last three seasons, stem back to a herniated disc suffered in 2004, the year he was drafted. Since returning to the Yankees' rotation from a brief and wildly successful stint as a setup man in 2009, he has averaged just 147 innings a season and posted a 91 ERA+. At his best over that stretch, he was a league-average starter -- 2012, when he put up a 4.19 ERA (101 ERA+) in 191⅓ innings. At his worst, in early 2011, mysterious shoulder problems sapped his velocity and resulted in a four-digit ERA.
The distance between the "Phil Franchise" expectations in New York and his modest $24 million, three-year deal with the Twins, with whom he'll play second-fiddle to Ricky Nolasco, should work in his favor, as should the ballpark. Target Field is a safe haven for flyball pitchers like Hughes, who has a 2.11 ERA there in three career starts. But he won't get to face the Twins' lineup there anymore, and he won't have the Yankees' bats supporting him, either.
And in the Bold Prediction for the season category, Joe Sheehan had this:
The Twins will contend for a playoff spot
Minnesota has lost at least 96 games three seasons in a row, but the Twins will hang around .500 and the fringes of the wild-card race for much longer than anyone expects them to. Free-agent signings Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes will bolster the rotation in front of an improving defense.
03-27-2014, 01:47 PM #2
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OK - I'll bet the "under" at the SI Casino!!!!!
03-27-2014, 01:54 PM #3
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I could see the Twins hanging around the fringes. The pitching should be adequate and Hughes and Gibson could be nice surprises. The bullpen is strong. The problem is the lineup. But if a few things go right .... Hicks breaks out, Arcia continues to mature, good health to Willingham then the lineup looks a bit better. Personally, I think the team remains competitive (like close to .500) until the trade deadline when they trade a few vets off and have a bad second half.
03-29-2014, 05:22 PM #4
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The idea that the Twins will hit (or pitch) enough to be sniffing the 2nd WC spot to me is laughable. Hope I'm wrong. .500 at the break, Buxton in the Futures Game stays here after to start in CF for a semi-contending team not unlike the one in 2001.I just started the blog Troy Williamson's Hands which is about MN sports and whatever else I want to write--you can find it at http://troywilliamsonshands.blogspot.com/