Minnesota Twins Offseason Weekly Reaction: 2016 Projections

Dec 7, 2015; Nashville, TN, USA; Minnesota Twins manager Paul Molitor answers questions during a press conference at the MLB winter meetings at Gaylord Opryland Resort . Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 7, 2015; Nashville, TN, USA; Minnesota Twins manager Paul Molitor answers questions during a press conference at the MLB winter meetings at Gaylord Opryland Resort . Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports /

 2016 Minnesota Twins predictions span across the board as the offseason closes.

Writers Note: A weekly review of the Minnesota Twins offseason transactions, including reaction and opinions from fans and myself. Look for future polls on my Twitter account to share your opinions. Last week, Arbitration and TwinsFest.

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62 days remain until the season opener in Baltimore, 29 days until the first spring training game, and only 19 days until pitchers and catchers report. The final month of the Minnesota Twins’ offseason has begun.

Many baseball sites and observers have released 2016 projections. Most of these would encourage any Twins fan. Take MLB.com columnist Mike Bauman for example. He believes the Twins have a fighting chance to win the division. ESPN staff writer Christina Kahrl boldly predicts Miguel Sano will lead the American League in home runs and Byron Buxton will win the AL Rookie of the Year Award.

This optimism is not shared by all. Chief writer Hunter Stokes from mlbreports.com predicts the Twins will tie for second place with virtually the same record as the 2015 season. Stokes claims it will take career years from every player for the team to have a chance.

Then there is the 2016 projections from FanGraphs. Each team has roster moves and schedules taken into consideration. Apparently the other AL Central teams have improved more because it predicts the Twins will finish last in the division with a 78-84 record. Upon further examination, Byung Ho Park doesn’t appear anywhere despite having his 2016 stats showing up in other FanGraphs projections.

With 2016 projections ranging from exciting to disappointing, fans were given a chance to vote on the win total.

Some fans think the Twins would win 90 plus games if the team made more offseason moves.

Many more have said the Twins will win the same amount as last season. The 2016 win total remains in question. No one can agree on how the Twins will fare. Here at Puckett’s Pond, the 2016 projections are no different.

Jamie Cameron highlights a possible trend. He recognizes Danny Santana‘s and Kennys Vargas‘s up and down performances and wonders if Tyler Duffey will disappoint after a surprisingly impressive final month last season.

Jordan Wickstrom predicts the Twins will have a powerful lineup. He believes a lineup including Sano, Park, Brian Dozier, Trevor Plouffe and Oswaldo Arcia is chock-full of home run potential.

From the good to the bad, all the 2016 predictions have one thing is common. The word “if.” Yes, every season’s preseason predictions have “if” somewhere. This year “if” appears more than ever. It is a matter of perspective, but consider the following “ifs.”

If Park hits above 20 home runs he will fill the void left by Torii Hunter. If Sano stays healthy, he could lead the league in home runs. If Hughes continues his trend of good seasons then he will pitch similar to 2014. If Arcia makes the team, he could hit 20 home runs. If Perkins is healthy during the second half, his potential as the best closer in baseball could help the Twins during a playoff push. If Joe Mauer hits above .300 again, the lineup becomes that much more formidable. Had enough?

The projections may leave fans looking forward to 2016 or doubtful of continued progression. Either way, all fans should agree the “ifs” make 2016 a particularly interesting one for the Twins. If the Twins improve upon last season, everyone will say they saw it coming.

Fans Had Plenty to Ask at TwinsFest

While at TwinsFest on Saturday, I stopped to observe the Q&A at the US Bank Stage. Fans have the chance to ask or comment on anything they like. Dave St. Peter, Jim Pohlad and Terry Ryan answer the questions thrown their way.

As usual there were plenty of Mauer related questions. One fan even asked Ryan if he is “tired” of hearing Mauer related questions. Ryan answered by dropping a Mark Grace reference. He compared Grace and Mauer pointing out the difference is Mauer gets on base, instead of driving in most of the team’s runs.

One fan asked about the netting extending to the end of the dugouts. St. Peter told the crowd that the netting is only 6 to 7 feet tall. The team didn’t want to interfere with the fan experience but felt the netting was a necessary installment. St. Peter said fans will look back at this decision like people seeing the difference between color and black and white. The Twins will always prioritize fan safety to ensure the best baseball experience.

Next: Twins Sign Carlos Quentin

The question that received the most reaction came when a fan asked what will the Twins do with Ricky Nolasco “now that he can’t pitch?” Ryan answered in the most polite way possible by saying the team will find a role for him. He could make the rotation or work as a long reliever. Ryan added that it is unfair to think such things about Nolasco because of his injuries since signing with the Twins.