Wednesday, March 3, 2010

DUDE REPORT: Twins Spring Training Opener

When I participated in Nick Punto Day I mentioned that I had hopes of doing some more “dude stuff” posts. I contemplated starting a different blog to discuss those issues, but I opted to keep everything on Tales from the Homefront. I will label any non-stay at home dad posts accordingly (to give those who aren’t interested a heads up) and then add folders on the side to breakdown past posts by topic. As my new month’s resolution, in addition to the DUDE REPORT, I hope to open a book review folder and an Admiring for the Homefront folder to honor peeps we think deserve a shout out (because nothing says nice work then having a post written about you on a blog that has a daily circulation of under 20!?!?!?)

Tomorrow, March 4th, is the Twins first spring training game. While the outcome of the game means nothing, as long as no one gets hurt, it is a symbol of the beginning of another season of Twins baseball. I love the start of the baseball season and I love the Twins chances this season. I took the opportunity to list my predictions for the season.

1. Matt Guerrier will improve on his great 2009 season. This will be made possible by the depth of this years’ bullpen, including the return of Pat Neshek and the signing of veteran Clay Condrey, who don’t know anything about. This depth should allow Guerrier to keep is appearances at a healthy number of 70 versus the 79 of last season.

2. My negative starting pitching predictions (which I hope I am wrong about) are that Liriano will make some positive strides and win 10 games, but not yet return to the 2006 Liriano we remember. Secondly, I don’t think Slowey will make it through the season health. Not sure why, but I don’t see him pitching over 130 innings.

3. On the positive side, Baker and Blackburn will combine to win 30 games. Neither is considered an ace, but I love their consistency. What the Twins lack in an ace they will make up with depth. The resigning of Pavano as well as having Duensing, Perkins, and even Manship around will help.

4. The 6’11”, 290 pound reliever, Jon Rauch, will be put in charge of the teaching the 5’9”, 190 pound Nick Punto and 5’9”, 178 Alexi Casilla how to run the bases. This appointment will be based on intimidation alone, because watching Jon run the bases would not be a pretty sight. In the end, Rauch will need to squish Casilla like a grape and mail him back to triple A after Alexi tries to go from first to third on a one out pop fly to short. Gardy will insulate Punto from any criticism Rauch has for him. Ultimately Jon will get a new tattoo to remember the experience.

5. I have two Delmon Young confessions I need to make. First, I have to admit whenever I think of him the first thing that comes to mind is when he chucked his bat at a minor league umpire after striking out. I hope to move past that this year. Secondly, I have to admit that like my brother-in-law and father-in-law I am a Young fan. I heard he lost 30 pounds this offseason and I am optimistic that this will help him defensively. Offensively, I also predict an improvement. Young struggled against right handed pitchers last year, batted only 271 and having 61 of his 92 strikeouts against them. If Thome takes 100 of the righty at bats this year, I expect Young to bat near 295, with 75 RBI’s and 80 Ks (assuming he still gets around 400 ABs).

6. If Denard Span gets hurt or needs a day off the Twins will have to play five infielders and two outfielders because we don’t have a backup centerfielder. Please don’t get hurt Denard, I am not real excited about Brandon Harris as our everyday third baseman and Nick Punto as our every day centerfielder. Also, I don’t think Jacque Jones is the answer, who when I heard they signed him I assumed it was as a coach.

7. Of the new offensive acquisitions I remain cautiously optimistic about Orlando Hudson. I was very excited when they signed him, but I am concerned about his age. If Thome hits 10 HR’s and drives in 35 in 130 AB’s I will be ecstatic. My hope for JJ Hardy is that he is our starting shortstop for many years to come. If he performs to his career averages of 21 HRs, 75 RBIs, and hits .262 I will be satisfied for his first year as a Twin.

8. In a dream world Mauer and Morneau would figure out a way to share $350 million over the next 10 years and both finish their careers as Twins. I would also love to see Kubel make the all-star team.

9. When all is said and done I see the Twins winning 90 games. That feels like a big number, but is only three more then last year. They will win the division by 8 games over the Tigers.

I would love to hear any predictions you may have for the the Twins this year, from the number of snow outs the Twins may have to the number of time Gardy will get ejected this year. GO TWINS!


  1. Oh, Paul...this post warmed my baseball-loving heart! I hope we get to enjoy one of those 90 wins together this summer...we'll make an exception and invite the guys to one of our summer girls' gatherings!

  2. Mauer will not sign before spring training is up and will be playing in pinstripes in 2011, have shaved side burns, and will be dating Mariah Carey.