Grading My 2016 Minnesota Twins Preseason Predictions

Sep 28, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; A baseball sits on the field before the game between the Kansas City Royals and Minnesota Twins at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 28, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; A baseball sits on the field before the game between the Kansas City Royals and Minnesota Twins at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /

1. Who will catch more games, Murphy or Suzuki?. . A-. “Suzuki. I think this year is a comeback year for him. If Murphy’s struggles at the plate continue early on into the regular season, Suzuki gains more games early on, and if he hits anywhere near as good as he looks right now, Murphy will only get 1-2 games a week.”

My thought was that Suzuki would be primed for a great season playing for his next contract. John Ryan Murphy got some starts early on, but was just 3-40 (.075), before being sent down for Juan Centeno.

Centeno was the surprise here, playing well enough for Murphy not be called back up until September. Upon his recall, Murphy collected three hits in his first start against the White Sox.

While he hit just above .200 after his return, Murphy’s play has the Twins looking at Jason Castro in free agency. Centeno has earned another look in Spring Training.

I’ll give myself a generous “A-” for getting the actual prediction right, but I was more high on Suzuki than our other writers. Suzuki was hitting only .212 at the end of May, but a great June and decent July made him an obvious trade target in July, but the Twins could never find a trading partner.

Suzuki is now a free agent, but was well-liked by fans and teammates alike. If he strikes out in free agency, he may see his was back to Target Field for 2017.

How many home runs will Sano hit? Park?. . D+. “Sano’s at bats may suffer if he does poorly in the field, but I still think he can hit 32 even if he is in a funk, he’s that good. Park can roll out of bed and hit 30 HRs. An early jump before pitchers learn about him is expected, a split of 20/10 is likely between the 2 halves of the season.”. 2

Miguel Sano struggled trying to adapt to right field. It seems those struggles affected his at-bats as well. While he showed flashes of power of the plate (home runs in four consecutive games in late May), he finished with just 25 for the year.

Meanwhile, Byung-ho Park was on track to hit 30 home runs, but his batting average and high strikeout rate earned him a demotion to AAA Rochester.  His struggles continued there, before injuries ended his season.

He finished with just 12 home runs in 62 games before his demotion at the start of July. He was leading the Twins in home runs at the time, but that’s not enough to drag my grade out of the “D'” range.

3. When will Jose Berrios debut?. . B. “Someone will tweak an elbow or a hamstring. Duffey may get the call first but Berrios will his chance. I’ll say May 10th.”

I missed this prediction by two weeks. Jose Berrios made a splash in his first handful of starts, out-pitching reigning Cy Young award-winner Dallas Keuchel in Houston, snapping Keuchel’s long home winning streak.

But control issues surfaced soon after. Berrios would go down to pitch well at Rochester, then get promoted only to have those issues return.

While I may have been off by saying May, I did get it right that Tyler Duffey would get the first call-up, bringing my grade up to a “B”.

“I think he’s legit. And an outfield of Rosario, Buxton, and Kepler has me reminiscing about the great outfield of my youth, the Montreal Expos. Buxton being Tim “Rock” Raines, of course.”. 4. Is Eddie Rosario legitimate?. . C

Rosario fell flat out of the gate this year, batting exactly .200 in both April and May, before being sent down. Upon his recall, Rosario batted over .300 in both July and August.He batted his career average (.268) during the stretch run.

After two seasons, batting near the .270 mark, this is probably what Rosario is: A speedy outfielder, prone to strikeouts, aggressive at the plate (15 & 12 walks in each of his first two seasons), with occasional gap power.

The major league leader in triples for 2015 (15), hit only two in his sophomore campaign. He was one of 11 Twins to hit 10 or more home runs this past season.

But he is limited to a corner outfield position. Pressed into duty at center for a stretch of games after Byron Buxton was sent down, Rosario struggled defensively.

We may have seen Rosario’s ceiling his rookie year, but he should develop more patience at the plate, earning more walks that will help his on-base percentage. If he bulks up a bit more, we may also see a few more home runs.

I’m giving myself a “B” since his play in left field with the other two young Twins mentioned in my prediction was stellar at times. But we still don’t know what the Twins have in Rosario.