Minnesota Twins: Grading, Reflecting on 2016 Predictions
With the World Series over, I grade my 2016 Minnesota Twins preseason predictions.
What a fantastic World Series fans witnessed. Even this Minnesota Twins fan enjoyed every moment of it. A heavily watched and gut-wrenching Game 7 was a perfect capstone to a historic year.
So ends the 2016 season. While I’ve flushed out the Twins season long ago, I return to reflect on my preseason predictions.
There are 12 predictions and every one has a grade. Every prediction has reflecting thoughts along with a short brief on how I graded the particular prediction.
Without further ado, let’s dive in.
To read the full 2016 Twins preseason predictions, click here.
1, Who will catch more games, Murphy or Suzuki?
John Ryan Murphy made 11 starts before the Twins demoted him to triple-A. Murphy spent the majority of the year in Rochester. He didn’t return until the Twins called him up in September.
Murphy was behind the plate for 24 games while Kurt Suzuki caught 96 games. Not at all close like I predicted.
The only reason I didn’t receive an “F” is due to the last sentence in the prediction. Murphy didn’t out-hit Suzuki and therefore didn’t take over the starting role. For this, I’m able to salvage my grade and walk away with a “D-“.
2, How many home runs will Sano hit? Park?
Here again, I avoid another potential “F” with one grade-saving line.
Miguel Sano didn’t come close to the ESPN projections as he hit 25 home runs. However, with the way he struggled all year long, 25 home runs isn’t terrible.
Byung Ho Park hit 12 home runs. Not quite in the range I predicted but not too far off.
Despite not reaching the projections, it’s worth noting both sluggers missed considerable amounts of time. Sano missed 46 games, mostly due to injuries. Park played in only 62 games before the Twins demoted him to triple-A.
For what it’s worth, both were on pace to hit more than 30 home runs.
3, When will Jose Berrios debut?
Even if the Twins didn’t give Jose Berrios the Kris Bryant treatment on purpose, Berrios did make his debut in late April. While Berrios didn’t stay on the active roster for long, he did debut before the month of May.
As far as predictions go, this one is a slam dunk.
4, Is Eddie Rosario legitimate?
I could have given myself another “A” for this prediction but instead gave myself a “B” because I’m not sure that fans necessarily dismissed him.
Regardless, Eddie Rosario did suffer through a horrific slump. From Opening Day to mid-May, Rosario slashed .200/.218/.313. Eventually, this led to his demotion to triple-A.
Rosario slashed a much improved .305/.335/.477 after being recalled in July.
Looking back, this prediction has me torn. On one hand, I’m proud of myself for finding a player who can and will decline from the previous year. Yet on the other hand, I don’t want the Twins or any of their players to fail.
5, Which player is the most likely to be traded this year?
This is a boom or bust prediction. That said, my second choice was Kennys Vargas.
I picked Jorge Polanco, thinking the Twins would find a team desperate for an extra bench player or a team needing to replace an injured middle infielder.
The Twins did trade a middle infielder near the deadline. However, it was not Polanco. Instead it was Eduardo Nunez.
6, Who will be the Twins breakout player of 2016?
Instead of a “F”, I gave myself a much deserving “F+” for how horrific this prediction transpired.
Kyle Gibson pitched awful the entire year. By the numbers, he matched his season best with one complete game. Additionally, Gibson walked the fewest batters and allowed the fewest hits in a full season.
That’s it for the positives, if there were any. He posted his worst stats in a season with at least 20 starts.
Clearly, this prediction stinks. Time to move on.
7, Who is the biggest risk to be a bust?
Like the Rosario prediction, I’m a little proud of myself for predicting this.
Byron Buxton started out the season unable to hit. He slashed .156/.208/.289 and struck out 24 times.
However, he played exceptionally well after his September recall. Buxton upped his numbers across the board, slashing .287/.357/.653/ 9 HR / 22RBI after his return.
He didn’t come close to winning the AL Rookie of the Year as some predicted. He didn’t breakout either. However, he did disappoint fans who thought he was going to show off his true potential this year.
For that, I earned a “A”.
8, Will any Twins win awards at the end of the year?
Brian Dozier winning a Silver Slugger award turned out to be much closer of a reality than Park winning AL Rookie of the Year.
Jose Altuve recently won the American League Silver Slugger award. Yet, one could argue Dozier is deserving of the award.
Dozier led all American League second baseman in home runs and slugging percentage, and was third in RBI. He finished second in stolen bases, and tied for first in triples with Altuve.
Even though I failed this prediction, it wasn’t all that far-fetched for Dozier to win a Silver Slugger this season.
9, Do the Twins make the playoffs?
At least I was smart enough to realize the Twins aren’t a playoff contending team before the excruciating path to 103 losses began.
Even though I was optimistic about the Twins this year, I didn’t predict the team would win the division. I hinted at the fact that the Twins would have a hard time making the playoffs.
Clearly, the Twins had a bigger issue to deal with, winning any of its games.
10, How will the AL Central shake out this year?
So much for saying the Twins would have a hard time making the playoffs.
I was too bold with my win total for the Twins. To match my previous prediction I should have predicted the Twins to win 82 or 81 games.
The Kansas City Royals failed to win the division again. The Cleveland Indians pitching staff proved to be better than anticipated. Even the Detroit Tigers surprised me towards the end of the season.
However, there is a silver lining. From second place to fourth place I was one win off of the actual final standings. Unfortunately, I had the wrong order of teams.
11, Who will win the World Series?
I was correct at least about Yoenis Cespedes. He needed to be the New York Mets offensive savoir again, as the Mets slumped down the stretch.
At the end of the day, I was incorrect where it mattered most. The San Francisco Giants ousted the Mets from the playoffs in the Wild Card game.
12, What would make 2016 a successful season?
Looking back at the 103 loss season, here is a prediction everyone can agree on.
The Twins did finish dead last in the American League. Even worse, the Twins finished with the worst record in baseball.
Certainly it would be more pleasant in Twins Territory if the Twins finished with a winning record.