I figured I would go ahead and post my 2012 Twins predictions as we are now less than 2 weeks away from pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring Training in Fort Myers, FL. Here they are:
1.) Twins Hitter of the Year 2012
Joe Mauer. I look for Mauer to come back with a fury this year. By all accounts he is in great shape and as healthy as he has been in years. With a full offseason to get his regular workouts in, I expect Mauer to put up numbers similar to his 2009 MVP season more than last seasons production. I am expecting 28 home runs out of him as he hit in 2009 but expect somewhere around 12-15 with a lot of doubles.
2.) Twins Pitcher of the Year 2012
Francisco Liriano. Frankie Fastball had a very disappointing year last year. Coming off a 2010 season where it seemed like he was reverting back to his pre-Tommy John form, the wheels came off in 2011. Liriano has the ability to be the “ace” pitcher the Twins need and I predict he will be back to his 2010 form in 2012. Liriano pitched some Winter Ball this year and the Twins are hoping that helps him this season as it did in 2010. Not to mention, it’s a contract year for him.
3.) Breakout/Surprise Offensive Player of the Year for the Twins 2012 (not necessarily the best hitter, but a guy who far exceeded expectations) –
Trevor Plouffe. Last year Plouffe put up some great power numbers in his time spent between AAA and the majors. I expect him to continue that momentum in 2012 and be the Twins breakout offensive player of the year. It was announced after the season that Plouffe would be moved to the OF, mostly due to his throwing problems while playing SS last year. Plouffe can fill in at LF, RF, 1B, 2B, SS and 3B if needed which means Gardy will find a way to keep him in the lineup if he continues to hit. If Revere isn’t able to handle starting a full year in LF, Plouffe could be the one who takes over for him.
4.) Breakout/Surprise Pitcher of the Year for the Twins 2012 (may not be the best pitcher, but really stepped up)
Matt Capps. Two years ago the Twins acquired Matt Capps for catching prospect Wilson Ramos from the Washington Nationals. He helped propel the Twins to a Central Division Championship that year and held down the closers role while Joe Nathan was out. Last year was a disaster for Capps though. He was regularly booed off the field towards the end of the season and had lost the confidence of Twins fans. Little did we know he was battling through injury and unlike most of the roster tried to play through it. By all accounts Capps is healthy again, so much so the Twins re-signed him to a one year deal plus an option. Twins fans aren’t expecting much from Capps but I feel he is the pitcher who is going to surprise and actually contribute quite a bit this season. If healthy all season, Capps has the chance to help one of baseball’s worst bullpens last year improve.
5.) Twins Rookie of the Year 2012
Liam Hendriks. Hendriks made his major league debut last year and ended up posting a 6.17 ERA in 23.1 innings. As we saw last year, injuries happen throughout the year and it is entirely possible the stating rotation does not end up as it starts at the beginning of the year. If a starter has to be replaced, I fully expect Hendriks will be given a good shot to make the rotation. He has the stuff, and I think whether it’s in the rotation or the bullpen…Hendriks will help the Twins quite a bit in 2012.
6.) Twins Minor League Hitter of the Year 2012
Chris Parmelee. Last season, Parmelee came up in September and was nothing short of impressive in the majors. Before his call to The Show, he hit .287/.366/.436 with 13 homeruns and 83 RBI in 610 PA. I look for him to improve on those numbers taking the confidence from his time in the big leagues and rolling it into this season. It is quite possible he spends a good part of the season on the big league club but I expect him to start the season at AAA. I would not be surprised to see him tear it up early and earn a call to the bigs sometime mid season.
7.) Twins Minor League Pitcher of the Year 2012
Alex Wimmers. Drafted out of Ohio State in the first round two years ago, Wimmers had a down year last year. He struggled early in the season with his control but eventually turned it around. Whatever problems he was having, he seemed to sort them out and I am expecting a big season out of Wimmers in the minors this year. If he is able to put up the numbers he is capable of, look for him to rise quickly through the system this year and possibly be on track to join the big league club sometime next year. Possibly earning a September callup this year if he really gets going in 2012. He was believed to be one of the most “major league ready” pitchers in the draft a couple of years ago, he has the ability so it’s not out of the question to think Wimmers is primed for big things in 2012.
Please feel free to share your list below in the comments section. If you disagree with me on any of the selections, I would be happy to hear why and who you would put in the spot instead. Feel free to comment away!