Ever since the All-Star Game, it's looked like a whole new level of pessimism has descended upon Minnesota. Even while I was away for a week in Belize, I kept tabs on the Twins and it sure didn't seem pretty. Kendrys Morales was traded away, likely signaling the start of the purging of assets on the roster. The team has sputtered here at the start of the second half. Former Twins continue to succeed in other cities around the country (I'm looking at you, Vance Worley). While there has been frustration all season in regards to manager Ron Gardenhire and general manager Terry Ryan, the vitriol has been increased just over the past week and a half.
This is the fourth year in a row the Twins are going through this second half slide, and I'll admit that it too wears on me. However, I always continue watching to the end because the later months often feature prospects getting their first taste of the majors, or surprise players capping off their breakout. Below, I'll give you five reasons why you should keep interest in the Twins for the remainder of the season.
1. Brian Dozier's Chase For A 20/20 Season
Dozier is looking to lead the team in homers for the second consecutive year. While last year he just barely squeaked by Justin Morneau 18-17, this year he is ahead of second place Josh Willingham 19-10. With Willingham a trade candidate, Dozier has pretty much guaranteed he'll lead the team in homers again. Also, he's currently at 16 stolen bases, so a 20/20 season is easily within reach for him.
2. The Trade Deadline
Josh Willingham and Kurt Suzuki have been the two names tossed around the most, but there has also been a few rumblings about Brian Duensing and even Casey Fien. While the return on Willingham will probably be minimal, I could see a decent package coming to Minnesota for Suzuki. For once the Twins appear to be willing to admit that they are sellers this year, so at least one trade should be coming before Thursday's deadline.
3. Alex Meyer and Trevor May's Debuts
It's a little understandable that frustration has set in over May and Meyer still toiling in Triple-A, but we should recognize that there are somewhat justifiable reasons still. May recently was injured over the All-Star break and I'm sure the Twins want to make sure everything's fine with him before he gets called up. As for Meyer, I think it's mainly his abundance of walks and his shoulder injury from last season that's kept him in Rochester. Still, these two players should be in the Twins' rotation come September, and that would bring some excitement two out of every five days. No, they won't be the saviors for the club, but it would be nice to see the future this season.
4. Phil Hughes and Kyle Gibson
Yes, I get that Hughes has struggled of late. However, it's been mainly luck-based as his peripherals all look good in spite of his .346 BABIP. In other words, he's allowed a bunch of hits, but that's likely been a result of the poor defense behind him and all his other numbers look great. As for Gibson, he's not as flashy as Hughes but has still been getting results. While I'm a bit wary because we've seen similar performances from Nick Blackburn and Scott Diamond, the fact that Gibson is a former first round pick gives me more optimism that he'll be able to sustain his success.
5. Super cheap tickets!
You know that in September that season ticket holders will be hemorrhaging tickets. Yeah, the baseball will probably be terrible, but if you bring a friend or two along, you can just BS with each other the whole time. Plus, who knows, maybe the Twins will luck themselves into a victory!