The Minnesota Twins have been preaching about how we need to be patient. Wait for 2015 or 2016. That is when this team will be contending again. After the Twins 12-6 loss to Kansas City on Sunday, it feels like those years are decades away. It also feels like the days of the Soul Patrol and Johan Santana and the M&M boys are eons in the past.
Why the Twins may not lose 90 games again this season, they are not going to be that good. Chalk that up to some horrible pitching and untimely hitting. However, there have been some bright spots on offense and a couple of pitchers that have given us hope for the future.
I can't help myself but look forward to 2015. So, in today's post I will give my projected 2015 Opening Day line-up. I will also give out the 2015 pitching rotation on Thursday. Yes. I know. It seems a bit premature to do this on August 18, 2014. However, this article is more so intended to keep you from throwing a cinder block through your television while watching the Twins for the next month.
2015 Projected Starting Line-Up
1. SS Danny Santana
2. 2B Brian Dozier
3. 1B Joe Mauer
4. DH Kennys Vargas
5. 3B Trevor Plouffe
6. RF Oswaldo Arcia
7. C Kurt Suzuki
8. LF Chris Parmalee
9. CF Jordan Schafer
You get past the number four hitter and you start to wonder why this line-up is any better than what it is now. Outside of Suzuki, I'm going to go ahead and throw Mo'ne Davis against these dudes.
Trevor Plouffe is not the answer at third base. He is merely someone there to keep the spot warm for when Miguel Sano comes up in May/June/July. You also Eduardo Escobar who will play at third for the Twins in those first couple months. There is not point in bringing in a free agent at third base. With Sano being the future, you just need to tread water for the time being. Plouffe is trying guys. He is trying.
Oswaldo Arcia is bad at defense. You may also not like his plate approach but let us take this into account. From Twins beat writer La Velle E. Neal III , who writes for the Star Tribune.
Just noticed that Oswaldo Arcia had played 164 games coming into Sunday - just over a full season. His numbers: .240 average, .304 on base percentage, 24 homers, 73 RBI and 198 strikeouts.
Might I remind you that Arcia is only 23? You want him in the line-up, despite his poor defense. We can address that later in life. The other side, however, is one of concern. Parmalee is no longer the power guy the Twins hoped for. He is not a defensive upgrade either. He is in this order because, well, who replaces him?
At the moment, there is nobody at AAA Rochester you could look at being a corner outfielder starting in the majors next year. The Twins have options in players like Aaron Hicks (HAHAHAHAHA) Mike Kvasnicka or Eddie Rosario.
Problems here are Hicks has already tried the major league thing with little success, Kvasnicka is averaging a strikeout just about every fourth at-bat and Rosario needs more time in the minors before he is ready for the majors. Rosario is high up on the Twins prospect list, but is only 22.
Byron Buxton, the guy that you would hope to see in a Twins uniform by the end of 2015, suffered a concussion his first game at AA this past week and will most likely not see the field again until the Arizona Fall League. That sets him back in 2015 and unless he sets the AA world on fire, he won't be seeing major league playing time until 2016.
That is why Schafer, a light hitting speedster, could be the starter in CF on Opening Day 2015. Oh. Joy.
Understandably, the outfield is a mess right now and won't be complete until 2016. You also still have Plouffe at third, which the Twins hoped wasn't going to be the case at the start of spring training this season. So, maybe the 2015 line-up won't be that much better. Still...
Joe Mauer is going to be a .300 hitter again and his defense at first is stellar. If he could just stay healthy for a full season. That would nice. We have seen what Kennys Varags has done, admittedly a small sample size. Dozier is near the top in the majors in runs scored and plays gold-glove caliber defense.
Then, there is Danny Santana. This guy has played out of position a majority of the year, and is still hitting .316 this season. What a ray of sunshine this guy has been. I could see some arguing that if you put Santana in CF, put Schafer on the bench and let Escobar start at SS, that might be your best line-up. I would disagree.
The last thing you want to do is stunt the defensive development of Santana as his career goes on. He needs to play more SS, because he is the guy for the next couple years. Or, until, Nick Gordon replaces him. Or Jorge Polanco.
This is a line-up I can get excited about, then massively depressed about. Still, the framework is there. Maybe the Twins aren't that far off in prediction 2015 or 2016 in being the year.