The last two seasons in Minnesota have not been enjoyable for baseball fans. Well, that’s not entirely true. While the Twins haven’t had much success over the past 24 months, they have provided some enjoyable moments. Each though they have been rare, the wins were always enjoyable. Watching Josh Willingham mash home runs, Joe Mauer lead the league in on-base percentage, and Scott Diamond display his pinpoint control have all made for memorable moments. Even in a difficult season, there are plenty of reasons to watch your favorite baseball team. I want to share with you some of the reasons that I will watch this year, as there is plenty that I am looking forward to in 2013
Aaron Hicks is a virtual lock for a MLB debut this season. I am very excited to watch Hicks play. He is a pure center fielder, and he should provide some highlight plays with his glove and arm. His hitting should evolve over the season, which will be very fun to watch.
Kyle Gibson should make his first MLB start at some point this season as well. I look forward to watching his command and control. I am also excited to see how hard he is throwing and how many innings he gets in Minnesota.
Oswaldo Arcia could join Gibson and Hicks later in the season. I look forward to seeing what kind of power Arcia has and how well he can handle the outfield.
Alex Meyer and Trevor May could debut this season as well. They may not get here until September, but I look forward to seeing what they can bring and whether they can help lead a future Twins team back to the playoffs.
I am very excited to watch Vance Worley this season. I look at his 2011 season and I see a lot of reason to be optimistic. He racked up a fair amount of strikeouts and limited walks. He was able to post a solid season, in a pretty tough division. I think Worley could be a steal, and I think he will be a part of a few successful Twins seasons.
Kevin Correia and Mike Pelfrey aren’t as exciting as Worley, but I still look forward to watching them pitch. The Twins gave Correia a two-year deal for a reason, and I look forward to finding out if there is something missing in the numbers. I hope to watch him pitch a lot, because that means he is giving the team many good innings.
I also want to see how Pelfrey looks after major surgery. His signing was cheap, and could pay off for the team in 2013, but also in the future, if the Twins are able to trade him for a new piece. Even if he stays for the whole season, it likely means he has been healthy and able to contribute something of value.
Growth from the Young
I think I am most excited to see how Trevor Plouffe and Chris Parmelee play this season. I am excited to see if either or both of these players can emerge as consistent power hitters. If both of these players show that their hot stretches in 2012 were not flukes, the Twins will really have important pieces in place for many years.
I am excited to watch Scott Diamond and Liam Hendriks pitch. I want to see if Diamond can duplicate his successful 2012. He will need to keep his walk rate in the elite territory that he inhabited last season, but it can be done. I want to see if Hendriks can improve from 2012, as he can’t get any worse. If he can limit home runs, he will obviously be a lot more effective.
I am also excited to watch the double play combo of Pedro Florimon and Brian Dozier. Many have raved about Florimon’s glove and I enjoy watching a good defensive shortstop. Dozier didn’t show much plate discipline last season, but was known for that area of his game coming in to 2012. If Florimon is the defender he is advertised to be and Dozier provides good defense at second, this double play combo can be fun to watch.
In fact, I investigated Pedro Florimon’s value this weekend, and I think the results are worth checking out.
I have to admit, I am a reformed Joe Mauer hater. I once referred to him as “glorified singles hitter.” I used to fixate so much on what Mauer didn’t do and I never gave him credit for the things that he did well and the things that he did extremely well. Joe Mauer is now my favorite player to watch. The way he approaches his at bats is so consistent and impressive. He has a plan and he doesn’t deviate from his plan. He waits for a pitch that he can handle and then he puts it in play. If he doesn’t get that pitch, he is happy to take a walk. Joe Mauer makes outs at a very low rate.
Offensively, there are few players I would rather watch. Mauer is also intelligent on the bases. Basically, he makes good decisions in all areas of the game. While he may not catch as much as he used to and he doesn’t hit a lot of home runs, he is still a very impressive player. I have learned to enjoy Mauer for what he is, and I have enjoyed the Twins a lot in the past two seasons, in large part because Mauer is so great.
What are you looking forward to this season? Please respond in the comments below.