Opening Day Thoughts

05Apr10

Twins fans have a lot to be excited for this year with the reigning AL MVP Mauer locked up for another 9 years, a brand-new amazing ballpark, additions of Thome, Hudson, and Hardy. Baseball is going to be fun to watch. Being at the first exhibition game at Target Field reaffirmed my decision to get season tickets. I texted some friends and family that I had found my new home away from home. It’s fantastic. Even watching the second exhibition game on TV was a much more enjoyable experience.

There will be some tough challenges this year as well overcoming the loss of Nathan. As I predicted when he first went down, Rauch will become the closer – for now. This is not a long term solution. I fully expect a trade mid-season. How well Rauch does will dictate how soon that trade comes. I’d timeline that for mid-May. I think Rauch can be successful, but expect the bullpen to fluctuate a bit this year. Neshek, the fan favorite, has a lot to prove after making the team and Slama will come up mid-season as well.

I think we can expect similar offensive years compared to last year for most of our position players. One player not getting much press/attention is Morneau. The last couple seasons he has faded in the back half of the year and his injury last season and poor spring has some worried – but don’t forget he has averaged 30 hrs and 118 runs driven in during the last four seasons. If he’s healthy and finds away to remain strong at the end of the year, this could be another MVP type season for Morneau. We’ll see how healthy he stays.

Also, Kubel should have another great year. I expect him to hit for a slightly higher average as well as come in around the 30 hrs/100rbi totals. The addition of Thome is probably the most under-rated addition this offseason. This spring he has shown he still can hit, batting over .300 and hitting 3 hrs. I fully expect and support more than just a coming-off-the bench role, even if it takes time from away from Delmon. I mean, it’s Jim Thome. First ballot hall of famer. Still has the pop.

We’ll see how Baker does tonight. He has one of the better winning percentages for AL pitchers in recent years, but his tendency to pitch up in the zone will still result in lots of hrs and big innings. If he could just learn to pitch low in the zone, he could be great. Also, we’ll see how his mentality and competitive edge develop this year. If he steps it up in big games like Blackburn did last year, this could be a good year for Scott.

I know it has been a couple weeks since updating, and I apologize for that. I’m going to be switching the tone of the blog a bit from less journalistic to more casual fan-reactions. The season is too long and there is too much to talk about to spend hours working on writing one fine journalistic piece. So instead, forgive any grammatical errors or misspellings. I’m going to be focusing more on a conversational blog hoping to share some thoughts on the season and have some good discussions.

WIN TWINS!

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