StaTuesday: Twins predictions for 2019
A year after finishing 13 games behind the Cleveland Indians in the American League Central, the Minnesota Twins could make some noise in the division.
With opening day just around the corner, baseball writers and experts are posting picks, predictions and projections for the coming season.
Over at ESPN, 28 of the network’s baseball minds picked the Indians to win the division, while three picked the Twins.
Senior writer Eric Karabell was among the Twins believers.
“The Indians are vulnerable, and whenever everybody simply assumes a team has a division locked, I look. What if Corey Kluber falls apart? The Twins will score more runs and the pitching is, well, OK.”
Mike Axisa was the only member of CBS Sports’ five-person panel to pick the Twins to win the division, while Matt Snyder is picking Minnesota to nab the AL’s second wild card.
The whole group is pretty bullish on first-year manager Rocco Baldelli.
Snyder, Axisa and Katherine Acquavella are tabbing Baldelli as the AL Manager of the Year, while Perry, Acquavella and R.J. Anderson are picking Byron Buxton as the AL Comeback Player of the Year.
MLB.com’s Will Leitch believes in Buxton as well.
“Seriously, I mean it, totally, it’s happening now. Buxton hit four homers this spring and looked like the most dominant player on the field every game he played. His talent has never been in doubt: It has simply been a matter of him figuring the game out. He doesn’t have to be a great hitter to be a huge benefit to the Twins. But if he’s that in addition to everything else he is … look out.”
Yahoo Sports fantasy baseball writer Dalton Del Don isn’t particularly high on Buxton, but he’s all in on third baseman Miguel Sano, ace Jose Berrios and fellow starter Michael Pineda, finally healthy after signing with the Twins back in 2017.
“Miguel Sano hits like a top-10 third baseman once he returns, while Michael Pineda makes a triumphant comeback and is a top-30 fantasy starter … Jose Berrios goes berserk and wins the Cy Young award, as the Twins are my favorite long shot bet in the American League this season (I got them at 60/1 to win the World Series).”
Still, Buxton has given Twins fans plenty of reasons for optimism.
The 25-year-old added some major muscle — 21 pounds worth — over the offseason, then hit .444 with four home runs in 36 at-bats during spring training.
Baseball Prospectus‘ Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm (PECOTA) wasn’t quite as kind to Buxton.
He’s projected to hit .221/.284/.362 with 10 home runs and 40 RBI.
TWINS — HITTERS
Twins ace Jose Berrios is projected to look a lot like he did last season, with an identical 3.84 ERA and 9.5 K/9.
TWINS — STARTING PITCHERS
|Jake Odorizzi||136 2/3||134||24||3.5||8.5||129||1.37||4.97|
|Michael Pineda||84 2/3||98||15||3.5||7.3||69||1.54||5.13|
|Martin Perez||102 2/3||112||12||3.6||6.3||72||1.50||4.87|
Taylor Rogers is projected to be one of the Twins’ most effective relievers this season with a 3.85 ERA after posting a career-best 2.63 ERA a season ago.
TWINS — RELIEVERS
|Trevor Hildenberger||57 2/3||55||7||3.6||8.7||56||1.35||4.17|
|Trevor May||57 2/3||56||8||4.0||9.9||64||1.42||4.43|
|Adalberto Mejia||84 2/3||85||10||3.3||8.2||77||1.37||4.27|
|Gabriel Moya||54 1/3||48||7||3.7||10.1||61||1.29||4.11|
|Addison Reed||57 2/3||60||10||3.3||8.2||53||1.39||4.82|
|Taylor Rogers||57 2/3||55||7||3.4||9.7||62||1.33||3.85|