ESPN Not High On 2015 Twins
Now coming to a conclusion, ESPN has ranked Major League Baseball teams one through 30 in accordance with their preseason predictions. Unfortunately for Twins fans, ESPN doesn’t see to highly of the squad in 2015, having them ranked 27th out of 30.
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With the Twins coming in at 27 out of 30, ESPN sees the Braves, Phillies, and Diamondbacks as the only worse teams in 2015. While it’s hard to see where ESPN could be deciding the Twins are due for a worse year in 2015 (projected for 68 wins), the sports leader did a decent job breaking down their reasoning.
When looking at what makes up the ranking, ESPN states that the most intriguing player for the Twins this season is Byron Buxton. Considering the circumstance, that’s probably fair. Depending on when, and under what situation, Buxton is promoted should say a lot about the 2015 squad. Joe Mauer is noted as a reason that the Twins should be better, getting back to .300 is a strong possibility, and the second season at first should allow him to settle in. ESPN notes Danny Santana as a reason the Twins could be worse. Yes, he’s going to regress at the plate, but probably not as much as people think.
Writer David Schoenfield is not high on this Twins rotation, despite the contrary opinion circling around Twins Territory. He notes that Ricky Nolasco could in fact be just as bad as he was a season ago, and that Ervin Santana shouldn’t be viewed as much of a sure thing as he has been billed as. Santana will no longer have Jason Hayward behind him, and Oswaldo Arcia combining with Torii Hunter on the corner outfield spots could prove to be a disaster.
Schoenfield sums up his analysis in saying:
"There is potential here on offense, which ranked fifth in the league in runs. But I don’t see any improvement coming there as players such as Brian Dozier and Trevor Plouffe have likely peaked and Santana regresses. The defense is still a problem and the rotation — which had the worst ERA in the majors in 2014 — still doesn’t do a lot for me. It looks like another holding year as the Twins wait for Buxton and Miguel Sano to arrive."
Now that the analysis is out-of-the-way, let’s poke some holes in it. As mentioned, Danny Santana is definitely going to regress. Last season, he hit .405 on balls put in play, that number is not sustainable. However, Schoenfield is operating under the belief a massive drop off is coming. Santana hit .319 last season and hit near .280 in the minors, he may regress some, but it shouldn’t be massive.
We likely have seen what we are going to get out of Plouffe and Dozier, but while Torii’s glove does some damage in the outfield, his bat is a big plus in the lineup. Combine that with an improved Arcia and resurging Mauer and things look just fine.
I can’t fathom how anyone could possibly think the 2015 rotation is in a worse situation than it was a season ago. The Twins don’t have a lights out ace, and they aren’t notable one through five, but they should be expected to compete on a nightly basis for the first time in years.
At the end of the day, it might be the Twins colored glasses speaking. Yes, this is a holding year for the big turnaround next season. That being said, there should be higher expectations in 2015 than that of any year previously. The Twins likely aren’t going to be amongst the games elite, but you should be expecting them to turn some heads. It would appear ESPN is in need of some proof.
Next: Twins Recognized As Best Of The Best
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