Three years separated from success, I’m counting down the days until I can have complete confidence in my Minnesota Twins again.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a proud Twins fan whether they win 100 or lose 100, but the golden days of division pennants and playoff hopes seem like eons ago.
If I’ve learned anything in my two decades in this world, it’s that life, and more importantly baseball, is unpredictable. And yet, here I am with my predictions for the opening day lineup of my beloved Twins. Irony is a funny thing…
Brace yourselves, Twins fans: We’re in for a wild year. Based on my own opinion, this is what it WOULD look like if it were up to me:
1 – CF *Darin Mastroianni
2 – C Joe Mauer
3 – 1b Justin Morneau
4 – LF Josh Willingham
5 – DH Ryan Doumit
6 – RF Chris Parmelee
7 – 3B Trevor Plouffe
8 – 2B Brian Dozier
9 – SS Pedro Florimon
Here is my rationale for each spot:
Darin Mastroianni should win the opening day leadoff spot due to his above average speed and on-base potential. BUT he should only keep that place warm until they call up the highly touted Aaron Hicks who seems bound for an early season promotion. I say wait until early May so that he can get some seasoning in AAA, and that way they can hold back on the arbitration process with him for an extra year.
Joe Mauer is clearly the most talented of the group, but his biggest asset is getting on base with singles and doubles, something that an ideal number two hitter would possess. He may have most of his experience batting third, but to me the team would have the most success with Joe in this spot.
According to multiple sources, Justin Morneau is entering camp in the best shape of his career. If these reports are true, be prepared to see the monster at the plate that Twins fans knew and loved from ’05 to ’10. That would warrant him the third spot in this lineup in my opinion.
Willingham is a power monster. He gets cleanup. ‘Nuff said.
Doumit was a pleasant surprise last season. Let’s hope that success continues.
I’m looking for Chris Parmelee to have a better campaign this time around. Though he is not an ideal right fielder, getting him at-bats is the most important aspect for his development. If he can transfer any of his minor league success to the show, we are in for a big sigh of relief.
Trevor Plouffe is on the bubble. For a five week period of last season he was the hottest hitter in the league. But with defensive skills that I like to call “Lecroy-esque” he is becoming less and less valuable.
Honestly the last two are nothing special in my eyes. They are pretty good defensively, which would come in handy with our plethora of groundball pitchers.
There it is. I may not be the GM, but a kid can dream, can’t he?