Over/Under: Twins Hitters Edition
With spring training well under way and the start of the season just over a week away, I am going to take a look at the position players that figure to get key playing time this season. Each player will have a question associated with them involving some sort of a number, whether it is homeruns, games played or something along those lines. I will then either take over that number or under, and will defend my reasoning behind each choice.
Denard Span- Over/Under 450 at bats.
My pick- Over. It seems pretty clear that Span is over the concussion issues that plagued him last year. He showed up to spring training ready to have a productive season and has had a great spring, while playing on a regular basis. And because of that fact I think he will have no problem getting over 450 at bats this season.
Jamey Carrol- Over/Under 70 runs scored.
My pick- Over. This was a difficult choice based on the injury history to both Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau. If both of them are healthy then Carroll, a slap hitter who has a high career on base percentage, would be a lock to score more than 70 runs hitting in front of Mauer and Morneau. But if one or both of them spend great amounts of time on the disabled list, then Carroll might be hard pressed to be driven in that many times. My personal opinion is that Mauer and Morneau will be relatively healthy and productive this season so Carroll should touch home plate plenty of times this season.
Joe Mauer- Over/Under .315 Batting Average
My pick- Over. This one was a pretty easy call in my opinion. Mauer finally has his legs at full strength and has looked very good this spring. And for a guy with a career batting average above .320, his season last year was a pure fluke. Look for Mauer to get back to driving the ball all over the field with authority.
Justin Morneau- Over/Under 81 games played.
My pick-Over. I don’t think there is a player on the team that is being pulled for more than Justin Morneau. After all of the concussion issues he has dealt with over the last year and a half, every Twins fan and player would love to see Morneau be able to finally put it past him. Morneau was on pace for an MVP season when he was hit in the head and sustained a concussion 2 years ago. Last year he was a shell of himself. Will this year be any different? I believe it will and I think Morneau will take a big step forward this year.
Josh Willingham- Over/Under 25 Homeruns.
My pick- Over. Willingham, the Twins big free agent acquisition over the offseason, should have no problems adjusting to his new home ballpark of Target Field and its reputation as being a pitcher’s park. After all, Willingham played his home games at the LA Coliseum with Oakland last year. He also had to hit at Safeco Field in Seattle, two parks which are notorious for being difficult to hit in. The AL Central boasts several hitters parks, and I think Willingham will have no trouble knocking the ball out of the park wherever he plays.
Ryan Doumit- Over/Under 90 games as DH.
My pick- Under. Doumit was signed this offseason to provide injury insurance for both Mauer and Morneau. And while I strongly believe that everyone is going to stay relatively healthy this year, I think that Mauer and Morneau and Others will get regular starts at DH to stay fresh. Doumit’s flexibility means that he will be in the lineup on an everyday basis, but I think he will get starts at other positions than DH this year.
Danny Valencia- Over/Under 75 RBIs.
My pick- Over. Valencia slumped on all levels during his sophomore season. He saw a drastic drop in his batting average, as well as a sharp spike in errors and was frequently in Gardy’s doghouse. But I think Valencia will rededicate himself to improving his fundamentals and should see a big turnaround this year. 75 RBIs should be no problem for Valencia with a healthy and productive lineup in front of him.
Alexi Casilla- Over/Under 80 games at second base.
My pick- Under. Casilla faces a pivotal season in his Twins career this year. With several promising prospects only a year or two away from being major league ready, Casilla needs to show he deserves a middle infield job long term, otherwise he will be allowed to leave via free agency after this season. Casilla has always battled injuries and inconsistencies, and I think this year will be no different. Whether it is a hamstring pull or an inability to hit, look for Casilla to lose his starting job at some point this season.
Ben Revere- Over/Under 25 stolen bases.
My pick- Over. Regardless of whether or not Revere wins a starting outfield job outright out of spring training, he has the raw speed to rack up a ton of stolen bases this year. After getting over 30 steals last year, Revere should be a lock to get near that number again this year.
Trevor Plouffe- Over/Under 20 Homeruns.
My pick- Under. In games split between AAA and the Major Leagues, Plouffe hit 23 homeruns. Most of this was done at the AAA level however. Plouffe has always possessed a good bat; it has just been a matter of where to put him in the field to get his bat in the lineup on a regular basis. The thought is that by putting him in the outfield he will be able to focus more on his offense rather than his defense. And if it worked with Michael Cuddyer than I am sure the Twins are willing to try a move to the outfield with Plouffe as well. I think Plouffe will get plenty of homeruns this season, but 20 might be a reach at least this year.