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Article: Questions Remain on Opening Day

jose berrios byron buxton rocco baldelli eddie rosario max kepler
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#1 Cody Christie

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Posted 27 March 2019 - 09:34 PM

Opening Day can be filled with hope for almost every fan. Baseball’s long off-season is finally complete and meaningful baseball games will be played. Even with green grass at Target Field, there are still plenty of questions remaining to be answered about the current club.How will the bullpen be used?
New manager Rocco Baldelli is the first MLB manager born in the 1980’s. His playing career was cut short, so he has been on the fast-track to his current position. He comes from the Tampa Bay organization that was the first to regularly use the opener strategy. It seems likely for the club to utilize this as just one in-game tactic this season.

Baldelli hasn’t named a closer this season and that might be a purposefully strategy. Minnesota doesn’t have a “proven closer” on the roster. Twins coaches will be able to analyze match-ups and put pitchers in situations to succeed. Every relief arm will need to be ready to come into the game at any given point. Fans will have to wait and see how this strategy plays out.

Can the young core take the next step?
Eddie Rosario and Jose Berrios were two of the most valuable players on the Twins last season. Now they need some help from the other young core players. Max Kepler is going to be given the opportunity to lead-off this season, even though he has never batted in that spot at the big-league level. He seemed to make some strides in the right direction last season. Can he flourish as the team’s lead-off man?

Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton are also entering a critical season. Both players struggled through most of last season. Reports were that Sano’s off-season regimen had him in great physical condition. A fluke injury during a winter league celebration means he will start the year on the IL. Buxton had a huge spring and seems poised for a break-out campaign. Is he ready to become the team’s next superstar?

With Joe Mauer gone, who takes over as the face of the franchise?
Veteran slugger Nelson Cruz was brought in to serve as a leader in the clubhouse, but he’s only on a short-term contract. Heck, Target Field already has a two-foot long hot dog named after him. Even with his presence, it will be key for a young player take over as the face of the franchise.

Jose Berrios was an All-Star last season and he will make his first Opening Day start. On multiple platforms, I have discussed how I think he can take an even bigger step this season. He has a chance to finish in the top 5 in the AL Cy Young voting at season’s end. However, he only pitches every fifth day. Someone like Byron Buxton needs to be the face of the franchise. Buxton can impact every level of the game and it might be his time.

Do the Twins have enough pitching?
Twins fans are always clamoring for more pitching. This off-season Minnesota added the likes of Martin Perez to the back of the rotation and Blake Parker will get some important bullpen innings. Neither one of these players will exactly make fans get overly excited, so there are other parts of the staff to examine.

Non-roster invitee Ryne Harper made the team out of spring training. He was tremendous this spring and the 30-year old will finally get an opportunity to make his big-league debut. Other than that, the Twins are hoping players from last year’s roster can adjust to new bullpen roles. Trevor May will be relied on in the late innings. Former top prospect Fernando Romero will start the year in Rochester to try to find his spot in the bullpen.

No team can have too much pitching and there are some questions about Minnesota’s depth to start the year.

What do you think about these questions as Opening Day begins? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

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Cody Christie
@nodaktwinsfan
 


#2 Aerodeliria

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Posted 28 March 2019 - 02:07 AM

I have a question for opening day. What's the snow depth these days?


#3 Tom Froemming

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Posted 28 March 2019 - 08:47 AM

 

I have a question for opening day. What's the snow depth these days?

It's almost all gone! Highs have been in the 50s most days and it even hit 64 here yesterday.


#4 Tom Froemming

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Posted 28 March 2019 - 08:52 AM

My guesses:

 

How will the bullpen be used?

Blake Parker will be used as a traditional closer. I just think that would make a lot of sense.

 

Can the young core take the next step?

Yes, to some degree. Rosie will be Rosie, Berrios will find consistency, Max will find better luck and Polanco will keep doing his thing. Buxton and Sano won't ascend to superstar status but they'll be solid.

 

With Joe Mauer gone, who takes over as the face of the franchise?

Eddie Rosario.

 

Do the Twins have enough pitching?

Nope. :(

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