20/20 Hindsight: Baseball America's Projected 2011 Lineup...from four years ago

Baseball America came out with their top ten Twins prospects today. And with the top prospects comes the always interesting projected 2014 lineup...Miguel Sano at first base, a starting rotation that includes Kyle Gibson, Liam Hendricks and Alex Wimmers. But how much stock should we put in this projection four years out? I decided to take a look at Baseball America's projected 2011 lineup from after the 2007 season...and you know what? It's pretty accurate:

Position Player
Catcher Joe Mauer
First Base Justin Morneau
Second Base Alexi Casilla
Third Base Brendan Harris
Shortstop Trevor Plouffe
Left Field Michael Cuddyer
Center Field Joe Benson
Right Field Delmon Young
Designated Hitter Jason Kubel
#1 Starter Johan Santana
#2 Starter Francisco Liriano
#3 Starter Kevin Slowey
#4 Starter Nick Blackburn
#5 Starter Scott Baker
Closer Joe Nathan

Not bad. Out of 15 spots, it looks (at this point) like BA got 11 players correct, with a couple position differences, for example Delmon in right instead of left, and assuming the Twins were going to keep Johan Santana. I expect Liriano, Slowey, Blackburn and Baker to anchor the rotation next year, unless the Twins move someone like Slowey to fill another need. Denard Span has obviously surprised most by taking over center field duties for many years to come, but at this point it looks like Joe Benson has a very bright future in the outfield. The only place where BA missed the boat altogether was in the left side of the infield, where my money is on J.J. Hardy and Danny Valencia in 2011. But we picked up Hardy in the Santana trade (indirectly via Carlos Gomez), so I'm not going to hold that one against BA.

Also interesting: BA's assessment of the best tools in the system gave Blackburn the best fastball, Brian Duensing the best changeup, Ben Revere bast hitter for average, and Danny Rams the best power.

It's always fun to look back at these kinds of projections. What do you think?

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