What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
Baseball season is drawing near; by the end of this week Minnesota Twins pitchers and catchers will be in Ft. Myers for Spring Training. This the most awesome time of year for baseball fans, because this is the time of year where everybody has hope.
If you are like me and a long-suffering fan of the Minnesota Twins, it’s also a time for some seriously honest evaluations of what the upcoming 162 games will bring. Torii Hunter has come full-circle and looks to end his playing days where they started. Whether you love him or you are over him, Joe Mauer is still the hometown hero. Josmil Pinto could just be a break-out star waiting to happen. You just never know.
Having said that, there are some recurring questions. The starting rotation is in its usual state of “hell if I know.” There aren’t many people ready to bet their house payment on the likes of Kyle Gibson, Phil Hughes, and Ricky Nolasco. Toss in anybody off the roster you want, then try to tell me you feel any better about it. Another question is where will the run production come from? There’s the aforementioned Josmil Pinto, and there’s a couple of highly-touted prospects Byron Buxton and Jose Berrios. But is this the year the burst onto the scene? You tell me and we’ll both know.
The one thing we do know for sure is that the Twins come into 2015 with one of the most-highly regarded farm systems in baseball. According ESPN’s Keith Law, the Twins’ have the second-best minor league talent; they are ranked only behind the Chicago Cubs. He gives Minnesota such a high ranking because:
“The Twins return almost their entire top 10 intact but have added first-rounder Nick Gordon and a slew of college relievers who look like they’ll move quickly to the high minors, and they continue to find value on the international front.The flip side of this is the Twins got virtually no help from their farm system in 2014, but I expect that to change quickly this year, with Alex Meyer on the verge of the big leagues and Miguel Sano not far behind.”
In addition to Meyer and Sano, the Twins also have the aforementioned Buxton and Berrios, as I said are considered to be top prospects. The trouble is like Sano, injuries slowed Buxton’s ascent to the majors last season, but Berrios has been a quick-climber in the Twins system. Again, the question is when does the potential become reality?
There’s also three relievers down on the farm who could see duty coming out of the big-league bullpen sooner rather than later.
First, Nick Burdi is a hard-throwing option for the back-end of the bullpen. In his first-year as in professional baseball, Burdi saved five games while posting a 2.66 ERA. He topped that off with a respectable ratio of 16.8 strikeouts per nine innings pitched. His most likely destination coming out of camp is Double-A Chattanooga, but don’t be surprised to see him as a September call-up, if not before.
Then, there’s Jake Reed…no, not that Jake Reed you Minnesota Vikings’ fans remember. This Jake Reed pitched for the University of Oregon and was drafted in the fifth round by the Twins. He showed signs of promise at Cedar Rapids. Then in 10 games in the Arizona Fall League, Reed racked up a 0.71 ERA while surrendering only one earned run and holding opposing hitters to a paltry .213 average.
The last of the trio is Zach Jones who is in his third season as a pro. In that time, he has recorded a career ERA of 1.94 to go with a ERA in three professional seasons and sports a strikeouts per nine innings pitched ratio of 13.5. In the Arizona Fall League, he dealt 11.1 scoreless innings and allowed opposing hitters to hit just .171 against him. Despite that, the reason why he is the third of the trio is he tend to struggle with control. He will need to drop his walks per nine innings pitched ratio from 5.1 if he wants to see action from the Twins’ bullpen in 2015.
As for the rest of the roster, I would love to hear from the readers if they believe long-term in what looks to be the every-day lineup. Give me your Twins’ fan hot takes on what I see as legitimate questions about this team.
Feel free to add any necessary thoughts or questions of your own in the Comments section.