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Reviewing the Twinkie Town staff predictions 2019: How’d we do?

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Did we bomb, or did we bomba?

Minnesota Twins v Detroit Tigers
In which Willians Astudillo remains the hero of these pages.
Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Back at the end of March, the Twinkie Town staff flipped coins threw darts consulted ten-cent fortune tellers made their predictions for the Minnesota Twins’ 2019 season. Since then, the Twins went on an offensive tear, our staff saw additions and subtractions, the Twins kept hitting, and then the playoffs happened.

It’s easy — and correct — to say that the Twins exceeded everyone’s expectations, breaking 100 wins and setting the Major League record for home runs in a season. But it’s also noteworthy to see how the Twins’ play on the field coincided with or spun away from our individual guesses.

Instead of going over every individual’s prognostications one by one, which would be a lot of repeating the original article, I’ve given my opinions for each staff member’s best, worst, and other noteworthy prediction.

But first, in the format laid out in March, here’s how the Twins 2019 season went down.

Results

Record: 101-61, the second-best record in team history, winning the AL Central by eight games, but succumbing to the *grumble*s in three in the ALDS.
Best Defensive Player: Byron Buxton would have run away with this had he not been injured again. He splits the award with Max Kepler.
Best Offensive Player: Nelson Cruz’s late-summer surge made him the consensus post-campaign choice for this award, but Kepler, who was injured late, was also excellent throughout.
Best Pitcher: The claim for best Twins starter was a two-man race between Jose Berrios and Jake Odorizzi. As for relievers, while Tyler Duffey emerged as a bona fide set-up man, Taylor Rogers was best throughout the year.
Most HRs Bombas: Cruz, with 41. Four other Twins topped 30 (another MLB record), but second place, Kepler, was well behind with 36.
Most RBIs: Eddie Rosario’s 109 bested Cruz (108) by one.
Best ERA — Starting Pitcher: For regular starters, this goes to Odorizzi’s 3.51. But Randy Dobnak, in his five starts, posted a 1.86 ERA.
Best ERA — Relief Pitcher: Again, we have to set a minimum to be accurate. as Duffey’s 2.50 led season-long relievers, but Ryan Eades and Jorge Alcala, each of whom pitched in two games this year in a Twins uniform, posted ERAs of 0.00. But I’ll leave the oddball stats for BeefMaster’s 2019 Statistical Overview.
Craziest blunder: The Rally Squirrel was crazy, but by no means a blunder. The choice comes from all the way back in spring training, when Miguel Cabrera pulled the hidden ball trick on Ehire Adrianza.
How awesome will Willians Astudillo be?: Meme-tically speaking, La Tortuga was just as beloved as ever. On the field, Astudillo’s bat dropped off after a strong start was interrupted by a spring injury, and he finished with a subpar .268/.299/.379 slash line.
Anything else of note?: Um... do the words “Bomba Squad” mean anything? To be fair, they didn’t back in March, but the Twins setting a major league record with 307 home runs was incredible to watch throughout the season. We also witnessed the emergence of Luis Arraez, professional hitter of baseballs.

So how’d we do?

TJ Gorsegner

Best prediction: TJ was one of many to correctly peg Buxton and Kepler’s contributions on defense, Berríos’ good starting, and Rogers’ excellent relief. He was only one of a few to guess Astudillo’s statistical regression and continued fan adoration, so that’s the choice.
Worst prediction: Kyle Gibson as best pitcher. Gibson finished with a 4.89 ERA, a team-low minus-1.98 WPA, and a demotion from the starting rotation.
Other noteworthy prediction: TJ wasn’t the only one to predict a Buxton inside-the-parker... more on that later.

Tawny Jarvi

Best: Her “additional” prediction was that 10 Twins would top 20 bombas on the season. She was close — eight topped 20 — and she was the only one to foresee the bomba surge.
Worst: The Twins missing the playoffs.
Other: Tawny’s “craziest blunder:”

The Twins will be walked off in extra innings by an opposing player hitting a ground rule double when the ball enters a small black hole created by the discrepancy between Willians Astudillo’s reported weight and real weight. Thousands will die.

Keep being awesome.

James Fillmore

Best: That Buxton’s inevitable injury would make the season feel so much longer.
Worst: Not just the Twins missing the playoffs, but finishing with a .500 record.
Other: I really wish that Gatorade thing happens.

Maija Varda

Best: Pick your Astudillo prediction. Though statistically incorrect, all receive a check mark.
Worst: Tortuga haircut. Perish the thought.
Other: Maija was the only one to put the Twins in the World Series. That said, that prediction came with a 162-0 record, but such optimism is appreciated.

SooFoo Fan

Best: The Twins winning the Central and getting knocked off by the Yan*grumble*s in the ALDS. Why’d you have to be right about that, SooFoo?
Worst: Astudillo colliding with Jorge Polanco going for a grounder. This was a good set of prognostications.
Other: SooFoo was off by two in guessing Cruz as RBI leader. He guessed 110, Cruz knocked in 108 — but as mentioned above, Rosario topped him with 109.

Brandon Brooks

Best: The Twins winning their season series against AL Central opponents. While they did drop the season series to the Spiders 10-9, they toppled Chicago (13-6), Detroit (14-5), and Kansas City (14-5) handily.
Worst: Adalberto Mejia being traded to Oakland and pitching a shutout against Minnesota. Mejía was DFA’d, claimed by the Halos, and never pitched against the Twins.
Other: Brandon correctly said the Twins wouldn’t win the Wild Card, and was right about them fighting Cleveland for the division... but with an 85-77 record. Not quite.

Ben Beecken

Best: The Twins’ shuffling of the fifth spot in the rotation due to Martin Perez struggling. Granted, he didn’t fall off until midway through the year, but it still counts.
Worst: Astudillo playing all nine positions this year. We wanted this to be correct so much.
Other: While the Twins didn’t make it to the Wild Card game (ahem), their postseason performance did raise those questions about having an ace atop the rotation.

imakesandwichesforaliving

Best: The predictions for Berríos ranged from dead-on to nahhhh, but were still good: 200 innings (actual: 200.1), 200 strikeouts (195), 20 wins (14), and Cy Young candidate (...not quite).
Worst: Jonathan Schoop leading the team in RBIs. His 59 were barely half as many as Rosario’s team-leading total.
Other: Sandwiches projected Ryne Harper to lead relievers in ERA. While that didn’t happen (3.81), it’s reminded me of Harper’s start to the year, and now I’m sad.

Cole Schussler

Best: The Twins were indeed in the mix for a playoff spot in July, and did trade for a pair of relief pitchers (Sergio Romo and Sam Dyson).
Worst: But that relief corps only improved over the second half and did help send the Twins to the playoffs.
Other: All these Tortuga predictions make me wish his 2019 had been more like the end of his 2018, and I’m even sadder.

Zach Koenig

Best: Polanco’s excellent season and near-.300 batting average. Also I don’t want to put “Astudillo dropping to the outskirts of the roster” again.
Worst: The Twins missing the playoffs by 4-5 games.
Other: Zach had Miguel Sano as blunder-producer. I don’t think he blundered all year.

TeamCrazyMatt

Best: Polanco’s All-Star selection.
Worst: C.J. Cron leading the team in homers and ribbies.
Other: I predicted Buxton would hit three inside-the-park dingers. I was off by three.

Jonathan Gamble

Best: Though it was shortened by injury and did not receive accolades, Buxton’s breakout.
Worst: Cron as RBI leader again.
Other: While Astudillo didn’t steal a base, I could have sworn there was one time he took off this season and the pitch was fouled off.

ethmaestro

Best: Cruz’s offensive dominance.
Worst: Sanó missing the second half of the year.
Other: Astudillo hitting for the cycle may sound absurd, but have we already forgotten that his third major league hit was a triple?

Hayden A

Best: The Twins losing to the Y*****s in the playoffs. Hayden said he hoped to be wrong about this one. Sorry.
Worst: Trevor Hildenberger as ERA-leading reliever. But who saw his collapse coming?
Other: Hayden also had Schoop as RBI leader, though again, no one foresaw the rise of Arraez.

Sean Paul D

Best: Sean Paul was incredibly the first person on this list to predict the Twins winning at least 90 games. He had them with 90 exactly.
Worst: Another miss on ERA-leading reliever, as this guess was Blake Parker.
Other: Astudillo is indeed too awesome.

Thomas Reinking

Best: The Twins with 92 wins. Somehow they topped everyone’s expectations by at least nine wins, but Thomas’ guess was highest.
Worst: Rocco Baldelli power-slamming another manager. As his interactions with umpires have shown, he’s not the Ron Gardenhire type of arguer.
Other: His Reinking of Astudillo as a 7 out of 10 this season seems about right.

Conclusion: we’re just as good and bad as ever, and La Tortuga will live on forever.

Let’s keep bomba-ing in 2020.