Two weeks ago, Farmington Independent sports writer Matt Steichen posted a blog which included his projections for the Minnesota Twins lineup in 2011. In passing, he mentioned I should do a similar projection and at the end of the year we could compare our numbers and see who had the best crystal ball.
Well, here goes for the offensive numbers. We’ll check back with pitchers later as the season approaches and the rotation takes shape.
1). Denard Span, CF: I expect a bit of a bounce-back year for Span, after a sub-par 2010. That said, I don’t expect a major turn-around. To me, he is probably the biggest key to the Twins success this season.
* Projection: .287 avg., 4 home runs, 52 RBI, 82 runs scored, 22 stolen bases
2). Tsuyoshi Nishioka, 2B: Probably the most difficult prediction to make, considering he doesn’t have a track record in America to rely upon.
* Projection: .272 avg., 7 home runs, 46 RBI, 62 runs scored, 26 stolen bases
3). Joe Mauer, C: Best hitter in the American League will continue his stellar career.
* Projection: .324 avg., 15 home runs, 89 RBI, 77 runs scored, 42 doubles (Top 5 in MVP voting)
4). Justin Morneau, 1B:I’m expecting his first full season in a few years, and the numbers will reflect. Remember, he might have been league MVP last year without the concussion.
* Projection: .293 avg., 26 home runs, 111 RBI
5). Jason Kubel, DH: I think he topped out last year, but he’s a relatively steady player.
* Projection: .277 avg., 19 home runs, 78 RBI
5A). Jim Thome, DH/PH: I don’t think he sees the field as much as last year, as health is hard to predict.
* Projection: .258 avg., 13 home runs, 58 RBI
6). Michael Cuddyer, RF: Probably his last year as a Twin, unless his contract shrinks next year.
* Projection: .273 avg., 18 home runs, 95 RBI
7). Delmon Young, LF: Not quite as good as last year, but not bad either.
* Projection: .275 avg., 18 home runs, 72 RBI
8). Danny Valencia, 3B: Can’t really expect his rookie season numbers to continue.
* Projection: .272 avg., 12 home runs, 58 RBI
9). Alexi Casilla, SS: He’s never thrived when handed a full-time opportunity.
* Projection: .242 avg., 2 home runs, 38 RBI
I’ll actually predict Casilla is out of the regular lineup by June 1st, and likely Trevor Plouffe will be in his place. As my tie-breaker pick, I’ll take Plouffe’s numbers at: .262 avg., 7 home runs, 38 RBI
What’s great about the Internet is these numbers will be a great topic of conversation throughout the season. We’ll see whether Matt or I have the better crystal ball. To check out Matt’s predictions, follow this link: