Minnesota Twins: 10 Bold Predictions for the Second Half
The Minnesota Twins have had a very up and down season, but still have a chance to make a run at the AL Central title if some good things start to happen.
As the roster was beginning to get healthy, a couple of big-time players went down again. Delmon Young hurt his ankle and Justin Morneau had surgery.
After a short losing streak, the Twins have gotten back to their winning ways.
Let's take a look at 10 bold predictions for the second half of the season.
10. Ben Revere Will Remain the Starting Center Fielder
Ben Revere has slowly won over the media and fans alike in Minnesota, which may be enough for him to keep his job when Denard Span returns.
Span has had nagging concussion symptoms for about a month now, which makes his situation feel eerily similar to Justin Morneau's extended time out of the lineup with a concussion last season.
Revere is batting .265 with a .306 OBP. These numbers may not be all that impressive, but Revere has added spunk and excitement to this team.
The longer Span's injury lingers, the more time Revere will have to mingle with the team. He might just fit in well enough to be the new full-time center fielder in Minnesota for years to come.
9. Delmon Young Will Dominate
Delmon Young never seems to get enough credit.
Two years ago, the Twins treated him as an equal to Carlos Gomez, playing him in only 108 games as a part-time outfielder.
Last year, he played phenomenal, racking up 21 HR and 112 RBI. With the absence of Justin Morneau, Young turned into the big bat the team needed.
This year, he has struggled with injuries and inconsistency.
Young was just hitting his stride when he injured his ankle making a play in the outfield.
He has started a rehab assignment in Triple-A and will be back with the Twins soon.
Look for Young to make a huge impact and approach a .300 BA and lead the team in RBI after his return.
8. Matt Capps Will Remain the Closer
Matt Capps has not been exactly what Minnesota fans expected.
After a horrific outing on Saturday against Milwaukee, he was pulled on Sunday after allowing two hits.
Glen Perkins entered the game and closed it out for the Twins.
This has sparked debate that Joe Nathan or Perkins could take over as the closer.
It won't happen.
The combination of Nathan and Capps in the eighth and ninth innings will be a strength of the bullpen that allows Minnesota to make a run at the AL Central title.
7. Glen Perkins Will Struggle
Glen Perkins is having a career year.
Unfortunately, he is doing it out of the bullpen when he prefers to start.
This year is a little bit of a fluke and this is not the first time we have seen it from him.
In 2008, his team helped him to a 12-4 record despite a meager 4.41 ERA.
This year, he has only pitched 30 innings. The law of averages says his eye-popping 1.80 ERA will rise closer to his career 4.54 ERA.
6. Michael Cuddyer Will Not Be Traded
Michael Cuddyer's name is floating around the MLB hot stove more than any other Twin.
As Buster Olney of ESPN puts it, he has a lot of "theoretical interest."
Cuddyer could be a fit on a team looking for a veteran bat to help them during the playoff push.
If the Twins remain within reaching distance of the top of the AL Central, Ron Gardenhire will do everything he can to keep Cuddyer on the team.
Cuddyer has been the consistent leader on the field for this team all year.
He has only missed five games, and leads the team in home runs and batting average (of those that qualify).
He is too valuable to this team's chances to get traded.
5. Joe Mauer Will Approach a .300 Batting Average
Joe Mauer is on pace to play the least amount of games in a season since his rookie campaign.
There are 79 games remaining and he has played in 25 thus far. If he played in every game the rest of this season (almost guaranteed to not happen), he would end up at 104, five games short of his second lowest amount in 2007.
Mauer has struggled this year in his time on the field, with a .236 BA and .296 OBP.
His career low batting average for a season is .293. His career-worst on-base percentage is .369.
In the complete opposite case of Glen Perkins, Mauer is breaking statistical rules with this porous season.
He needs time to recover from his injury and get back to his old self.
When he does, he will explode and get his average close to the .300 mark and his team near an AL Central title.
4. Alexi Casilla Will Become a Leader
Alexi Casilla has been a part of the Minnesota Twins organization for a long time.
Since joining the Big League team in 2006, he has struggled to make the transformation from high-potential prospect to big-time everyday middle infielder.
This year, he has shown spurts of both sides.
Throughout his 69 games played out of a possible 83, he has batted terribly at times and great at others, while remaining solid in the field.
This second half of the season will be the time for him to take the next step and turn into the leader the Twins have expected him to be.
He will turn into the permanent two-hitter in the lineup, and his average will balloon to around .275.
3. Brian Duensing Will Lead the Team in Wins and ERA
Brian Duensing's first season as a full-time starter has not gone as he had probably planned.
After a decent start, he went through a rough stretch.
Now, after a complete game shutout on the Fourth of July, Duensing will begin getting back to his tactics that led to success over the past twp years.
Scott Baker has been the leader of the pitching staff as far as performance.
Look for Duensing to take over that role and dominate over the second half of the season.
2. Danny Valencia Will Boost His Batting Average to .300
Danny Valencia has been the most consistent player on the Minnesota Twins.
He has played in all but two games and consistently bashed the ball around the field. The problem is, he is hitting them in all the wrong places.
Still, he has not wavered. His batting average has been between .212. and .236 since April 24. That might be the definition of consistency.
Valencia has gotten off to a hot start in July with a .529 BA in four games.
In the second half of the season, he will begin to catch some breaks. His line drives will fall for hits rather than ending up in a fielder's glove.
Look for the young third baseman to get back to his rookie ways and boost his average over .300.
1. The Twins Will Win the AL Central Title
Ron Gardenhire has a knack for getting his teams to the top of the division, even when the odds are stacked against him.
During his tenure, he has proven that he never gives up on a season until his team is mathematically eliminated.
This is shown in his teams winning two division titles in come-from-behind fashion in 2006 and in 2009.
This year's porous start was the exact opposite of last season's flaming hot start in the new stadium.
Still, Gardenhire probably expects to win the division.
This year, it will just have to be done in 2006 or 2009 fashion, rather than 2010.