As always here at Puckett’s Pond, we are looking for the most interesting and intriguing ways to draw our readers into the discussion. With Spring Training just around the corner, the Twins are on everybody’s mind (and if they aren’t, they should be). Heading into 2015, the Twins have plenty of questions to be answered, but the fans have a few of their own as well.
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Looking over our response at both our Facebook and Twitter pages, we received a handful of really exciting comments and questions from our readers over the past week. We are going to make this a weekly talking point, so make sure to join the discussion. Here’s how:
- Comment on our Facebook page with your question
- Tweet us your question
- Leave your question in the comments below this article
Each Thursday, we’ll pick a few to get into during our Mailbag Musings. Let’s get going on this week’s questions.
Matt Phillips asks on Twitter: Who will make up the 2015 Twins bullpen?
I addressed this some in our breakdown of the 25 man roster, however, I think this is probably one of the least predictable areas of the Twins roster entering the 2015 season. With so many bullpen guys being added, as well as internal options, there just isn’t enough room for everyone.
It’s fair to assume both Glen Perkins and Casey Fien are locks. Brian Duensing should probably be considered that as well, as he adds a lefty element to the pen. Among the rest, the uncertainty begins to creep in. If signees Blaine Boyer or Tim Stauffer make the roster, it will be in the bullpen. Caleb Thielbar was good last year, and should once again find time out of the pen. Outside of those names, the Twins still owe a decent chunk of change to Mike Pelfrey, and he would ideally fill a pen role. Rule 5 Draft pick J.R. Graham has to be on the 25 man roster unless the Twins want to give him back to Atlanta, so expect him to compete for a spot. Finally, Alex Meyer has been linked to the bullpen by new manager Paul Molitor as well.
The long and short of it is that the Twins have plenty of options. I think they carry a seven man bullpen, and three of those spots are spoken for, have at it for the rest.
EquiposMN asks on Twiter: How worried should we be about the injuries of Buxton and Sano?
I’d argue very little. I think Byron Buxton makes it through 2015 without a disabled list stint, due in large part to learning how to keep his body healthy at this level. That’s an underrated part of the game that both Paul Molitor and Torii Hunter will key on teaching the young phenom.
As far Miguel Sano and his rebound from Tommy John is concerned, let’s be glad he’s a fielder. The surgery has come a long ways, but it’s never been real detrimental to a position player. Sano needs to continue to improve his defense, and cut down on strikeouts at the plate, but his power is going to play just fine.
If anything, the injuries only delayed the timetable in which both players make their eventual 2015 debuts.
Brandon Warne asks on Twitter: Best underrated Twins pitching prospect is?
This answer is subjective to what you classify underrated as. Let’s throw out Jose Berrios, Lewis Thorpe, and Alex Meyer as they are all top 10 Twins prospects. That said, give me Stephen Gonsalves. He was a 4th round pick in 2013 out of high school is finished last season at Cedar Rapids.
Just 20 years old, Gonsalves has impressed in his two seasons of professional baseball. He carries 2.39 ERA, cut down on his walks (3.5 BB/9 in 2013 2.9 BB/9 in 2014), and strikes out a lot of batters (10.4 K/9). I expect him to get time in Fort Myers this season, and watching him take the next step should be exciting. He may be two years off, but he could make waves down on the farm this season.
Garret Jeddeloh asks on Facebook: What are 3 things the Twins have this season that can give them a fighting chance?
As 2015 begins, the Twins are in a significantly better spot than they were a season ago. Expecting them to finish around .500 is not unrealistic at all, and I think they may some key moves to make that possible.
First and foremost, they got pitching help. Ervin Santana is a quality starter that immediately slots into the rotation. Extending Phil Hughes was a smart move, and Ricky Nolasco should rebound this year. The pitching staff should be much improved.
Secondly, the trimmed some fat. Removing guys like Chris Parmelee and Chris Colabello from the organization is a good thing for everyone. They have been linked to losing Twins teams, and signify monotonous roster moves. On the flip side, both of them get an opportunity for a fresh start somewhere else.
Thirdly, and maybe most importantly, a new culture is going to be instilled. While Ron Gardenhire wasn’t the problem, he also likely wasn’t the answer anymore. Bringing in a new staff that includes Neil Allen, a pitching coach from outside of the organization, was vital towards the Twins moving forward. Expect Paul Molitor to have new tactics, thoughts, and directives, to help the Twins take the next step in 2015.
Thanks again for all of your questions and submissions. We look forward to next week’s Mailbag Musings here at Puckett’s Pond. Make sure to get your questions in early and often.