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Staff Predictions for the 2019 Minnesota Twins

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Where the staff collectively gathers around a mystical crystal ball and throws darts at names on a board.

In this photo, someone that is (presumably) not with Twinkie Town fills out a ballot predicting their best-of-the-best Minnesota Twins players for 2019.
Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Alas, the time has come. All of the snow has melted, the grass is green, flowers are blooming, it’s above freezing 24/7, and the best day of the year is staring us right in the face: Opening Day. Here at Twinkie Town, we each have put together our predictions for various categories regarding the 2019 Minnesota Twins. Some of us were pretty straightforward and some of us got pretty crazy. Some predictions are “duh”, and some predictions are “huh?”

Nonetheless, here are each of our predictions for the Twins’ record, best defensive player, best offensive player, best pitcher, batters with the most dingers and RBIs, best ERA among our starting and bullpen staff, the craziest blunder that will happen this year, the “Astudillo Awesomeness” prediction, and any other predictions that we’ve got up our sleeve. Enjoy!

TJ Gorsegner

Record: 85-77, 2nd place in the Central, good for 2nd Wild Card. Cleveland goes 87-75. NYY and BOS both win over 90. Twins lose the WC game.
Best Defensive Player: Byron Buxton would be the easy answer here, and if he stays on the field, that’s a no brainer. If Buxton is injured, the honors go to Max Kepler.
Best Offensive Player: Max Kepler is probably due for a breakout season, but I suspect Eddie Rosario will be the better hitter. If Rosario can add a bit of patience as he matures, he will be an offensive force.
Best Pitcher: Kyle Gibson led the team in WAR last season. Someone step up and prove otherwise.
Most HRs: C.J. Cron, probably with around 35. Cruz and Rosario both hit 30, and Sano hits 20 in part-time duty.
Most RBIs: Jorge Polanco.
Best ERA – Starting Pitcher: Jose Berrios.
Best ERA – Relief Pitcher: Taylor Rogers, who breaks out to become the Twins “Bullpen Ace.”
Craziest blunder that will happen: Buxton hits an inside-the-parker on an E-6.
How awesome will Astudillo be? At baseball, he’ll be okay, but come somewhat down to earth. At meme-ability, he will continue to set records

Tawny Jarvi

Record: 86-76 and they’ll miss the playoffs. I just don’t see them outcompeting the AL East and West’s runners up for the wild card spots. Am I even a Twins fan?
Best Defensive Player: Byron Buxton unless he’s accidentally encased in carbonite (or AAA Rochester) in which case it’ll be Max Kepler.
Best Offensive Player: The Final Ed, Eddie Rosario, will pace the team’s offense and the ageless wonder that is Nelson Cruz won’t be far behind.
Best Pitcher: Basically has to be José Berríos, right? Almost by default (sorry Kyle Gibson and TJ.)
Most HRs: Nelson should be able to Cruz past 30 dingers.
Most RBIs: Do people still keep track of this? Probably Ed.
Best ERA – Starting Pitcher: Jose Bestrrios.
Best ERA – Relief Pitcher: I’m a huge Taylor Rogers believer.
Craziest blunder that will happen: 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.
How awesome will Astudillo be? Willians Astudillo will be the Mike Trout of being Willians Astudillo. Which is to say he’ll be worth roughly 10 Curvatures Above Replacement!
Any other predictions that you’d like to add on your own? I predict ten Twins will hit 20 HRs or more!

James Fillmore

Preface: This is the most “blah” I’ve ever felt about an upcoming Twins season. The front office has outright said, well, there’s no point in spending any extra money this year, Cleveland’s going to win the division anyway. Not exactly “Get To Know ‘Em!” as a marketing slogan, is it? Might as well run TV ads featuring Jan from accounting, whose abilities at Microsoft Excel are second to none!
Record: 81-81. Why not. Or maybe 71-71 with 20 rainouts. The weather’s getting weirder, people.
Best Defensive Player: Byron Buxton, or it’s gonna be a long six months.
Best Pitcher: You want it to be José Berríos, because he’s young and has improved every year. You also worry that he’s going to get super-good, be pissed off the Twins lowballed his extension offer, then tell the team, “I am never going to re-sign with you.”
How awesome will Astudillo be? Astudillo will continue to break all known laws of baseball physics with his weird strikeout rate. And still be below Castro on the depth chart. Because of “pitch framing” or something.
Any other predictions that you’d like to add on your own? There will also be a moment that occurs every year, where the Twins have a walkoff win, the sideline reporter sees Gatorade cooler coming, steps carefully out of the way, and the player KEEPS TALKING then gets doused.
It’s like the bit in Raiders where Indy sees the big henchman is about to get propellered into hamburger, covers his face, and the big henchman who’s spent the better part of two minutes kicking Indy’s ass turns around to the propeller and raises his hands to go “aargh!”
Who knows — maybe the Gatorade shower is basically performance art. Like Gardy “arguing” with an umpire. When what they were probably talking about is “how’s your kid doing!” “Got engaged last week, how’s yours!” “Got a promotion, I’m very proud!” “Is it time for me to throw you out yet!” “Eh, let’s give it another 10 seconds!”
So what we’re seeing isn’t “guy being surprised by Gatorade,” more “guy being surprised that 32-degree water is really cold.”

Maija Varda

Record: 162-0 and they are WORLD SERIES CHAMPS BABY.
Best Defensive Player: Manny Ramirez or Willians Astudillo
Best Offensive Player: Willians Astudillo
Best Pitcher: Willians Astudillo
Most HRs: Eddie Rosario
Most RBIs: Eddie Rosario
Best ERA – Starting Pitcher: Um... Willians Astudillo?
Best ERA – Relief Pitcher: Willians Astudillo
Craziest blunder that will happen: Willians Astudillo striking out.
How awesome will Astudillo be? Willians Astudillo.
Any other predictions that you’d like to add on your own? Willians Astudillo is going to get some sort of ill-timed haircut and the entire country will freak out.

SooFoo Fan

Record: 88-74, AL Central Champs - but eliminated after one round to the Yankees.
Best Defensive Player: Byron Buxton seems like an easy pick here, so long as he stays healthy all year.
Best Offensive Player: Eddie Rosario has been very solid the last couple of years and I think he ends up being our best hitter this year. I also considered Max Kepler here, but I’m still waiting to see his potential fully realized.
Best Pitcher: José Berríos should develop even more into an ace for the Twins this year at the top of the rotation.
Most HRs: Nelson Cruz with 35.
Most RBIs: Also Nelson Cruz with 110.
Best ERA – Starting Pitcher: José Berríos, 3.30.
Best ERA – Relief Pitcher: Taylor Rogers - he was really good last year.
Craziest blunder that will happen: Astudillo and Polanco collide while going for a grounder.
How awesome will Astudillo be? 11/10
Any other predictions that you’d like to add on your own? Jonathan Schoop will be an underrated addition to the team, getting back somewhat to his 2017 form.

Brandon Brooks

Record: 85-77. The Twins aren’t winning a Wild Card this year, but if enough of those wins come against Cleveland, they could challenge them for the division.
Best Defensive Player: If Byron Buxton stays on the roster the whole year, he’ll have no competition for this honor. Heck, even if he spends time in the minors or on the IL, he’ll still probably have the best case.
Best Offensive Player: Even factoring in for potential decline, Nelson Cruz is the best offensive talent on this team.
Best Pitcher: Apologies to our fearless leader, but it’s not gonna be Kyle Gibson. Instead, José Berríos will build off last year’s success, make another All-Star Game, and strike out 210 hitters.
Most HRs: Anybody nicknamed “Boomstick” should be taking home this prediction pretty handily.
Most RBIs: Eddie Rosario led last year’s team with 77 RBI. Nelson Cruz has finished below 77 RBI just once in the last ten years (and that year, he had 76).
Best ERA – Starting Pitcher: José Berríos, in the 3.60 – 3.70 area.
Best ERA – Relief Pitcher: Trevor May will have the best season of his career so far and end his campaign right around 2.95.
Craziest blunder that will happen: Adalberto Mejia will get traded to Oakland and throw a shutout against the Twins late in the season.
How awesome will Astudillo be? There’s gotta be a word count limit in Chorus.
Any other predictions that you’d like to add on your own? The Twins will win the season series against all four Central opponents and struggle against everyone else.

Ben Beecken

Record: 88-74, will get one of the Wild card spots
Best Defensive Player: Byron Buxton
Best Offensive Player: Nelson Cruz
Best Pitcher: José Berríos
Most HRs: Nelson Cruz
Most RBIs: Nelson Cruz
Best ERA – Starting Pitcher: José Berríos
Best ERA – Relief Pitcher: Trevor May
Craziest blunder that will happen: Martin Perez will fail miserably as the No. 5 starter and the Twins will spend all season messing around with the back-end of the rotation. They’ll likely pickup a veteran retread at the trade deadline to finish out the season with mixed success.
How awesome will Astudillo be? He’ll continue to be one of the most unique players in MLB history. Astudillo will spend the majority of the season on the active roster and will start games at four different positions but play all nine at some point during the season.
Any other predictions that you’d like to add on your own? Byron Buxton will have a fantastic all-around season and will make the All-Star team. The Twins will get to the Wild Card Game and renew all the questions about whether or not it’s necessary to have an ace starting pitcher.

Imakesandwichesforaliving

Record: 87-75, Wild Card
Best Defensive Player: Byron Buxton
Best Offensive Player: Nelson Cruz
Best Pitcher: José Berríos
Most HRs: Nelson Cruz
Most RBIs: Jonathan Schoop
Best ERA – Starting Pitcher: José Berríos
Best ERA – Relief Pitcher: Ryne Harper
Craziest blunder that will happen: If Astudillo strikes out, the world will end as we know it and we’ll all be thrown into a parallel universe where Astudillo only strikes out.
How awesome will Astudillo be? He’s going to be so awesome that he will play all nine positions in one game (alongside Marwin Gonzalez – in the same game).
Any other predictions that you’d like to add on your own? La MaKina is going to pitch 200+ innings, notch 200+ strikeouts, and be a 20-game winner with at least two complete-game shut-outs, making a case for they Cy Young Award.

Cole Schuessler

Record: 84-78, I believe they miss out on the second Wild Card by three games.
Best Defensive Player: Byron Buxton. If he stays healthy, I would say Buxton is the best defensive outfielder in all of baseball.
Best Offensive Player: Eddie Rosario. With the new signings in the lineup, no one seems to be talking about Rosario, but I believe he will continue to build on his already impressive resume in 2019.
Best Pitcher: José Berríos. Not a whole lot competition here besides Gibson, though I do think Michael Pineda has an outside shot at earning the title.
Most HRs: Nelson Cruz. He is called “The Boomstick” for a reason, after all.
Most RBIs: Eddie Rosario. It sounds like Rosario will be hitting in the fourth or fifth spot, and this improved Twins lineup will provide him with runners on base as well as some protection behind him.
Best ERA – Starting Pitcher: José Berríos. La Makina will continue to improve, and hopefully follow Kepler and Polanco in signing a contract extension in the near future.
Best ERA – Relief Pitcher: Trevor May. The big right-hander has shown flashes of excellence, and he likely possesses the best “stuff” in the Twins bullpen.
Craziest blunder that will happen: Willians Astudillo will be playing second base on a short pop fly to center field. La Tortuga will be sprinting after the ball, only to trip and have the ball bounce off his head, and then be caught be a diving Buxton. Some will speculate that Astudillo did it on purpose and that he just performed baseball’s first successful header.
How awesome will Astudillo be? Extremely awesome, if given playing time. If his defense is passable, he’s an above-average hitter almost anywhere and an absolute unit.
Any other predictions that you’d like to add on your own? The Twins will be in the mix for a playoff spot in July, and trade for at least one relief pitcher. Unfortunately, the pitching staff won’t have enough in the tank to send the Twins to the playoffs.

Zach Koenig

Record: I’ll go with 84-78. This keeps them in the race for the second WC spot all season, and perhaps for the division race too, but I think they finish 4-5 games out of a playoff spot in either scenario.
Best Defensive Player: As much as Byron Buxton seems the obvious answer, I’m going to go with Max Kepler here, playing that tricky Target Field RF to perfection all season long.
Best Offensive Player: Jorge Polanco. Hitting near the top of the lineup, Hip Hip Jorge flirts with .300 all season long and is the ignitor for the entire lineup.
Best Pitcher: José Berríos. As long as he continues to incrementally improve, the sky is the limit for him.
Most HRs: Eddie Rosario; only beating Nelson Cruz because of a potential injury scenario for Nelson.
Most RBIs: Eddie Rosario; see above.
Best ERA – Starting Pitcher: José Berríos, again because I feel he might be on the verge of top-5 AL pitcher territory.
Best ERA – Relief Pitcher: Trevor May.
Craziest blunder that will happen: I have no idea what the actual blunder will be, but I have a sneaking suspicion that Miguel Sano will perpetuate it (if he hasn’t already).
How awesome will Astudillo be? I’m going to be the party-pooper here. I think Astudillo will be decent, but as the team (hopefully) improves he’ll be seen as a fringe roster component. Revoke my Twins Fan Membership Card right now, I know.
Any other predictions that you’d like to add on your own? Jorge Polanco has the best overall season (offensively and defensively) by a Twins shortstop since…uh…well…ever?

TeamCrazyMatt

Record: 89-73, which would put them out of a wild card spot last year but wins them the Central in 2019
Best Defensive Player: Byron Buxton. Nothing falls but raindrops. Also, since this is Minnesota, snowflakes.
Best Offensive Player: Jorge Polanco, my pick for an All-Star selection and team MVP.
Best Pitcher: José Berríos, who’ll continue to grown into a league-recognized ace.
Most HRs: C.J. Cron, taking advantage of pitchers working around Nelson Cruz and Eddie Rosario.
Most RBIs: C.J. Cron, for the same reason.
Best ERA - Starting Pitcher: José Berríos, again demonstrating his qualities as an ace.
Best ERA - Relief Pitcher: Trevor May, though I do think Taylor Rogers will be close competition for this title.
Craziest blunder that will happen: A prospect called up in September arrives in his Minnesota hotel and orders a “casserole” from room service.
How awesome will Astudillo be? Astudilloly awesome. He transcends adverbs.
Any other predictions that you’d like to add on your own? Buxton hits three inside-the-park homers this year. If he hits them all in the same game, even better.

Jonathan Gamble

Record: 89-73 (2nd AL Central, miss Wild Card by one game)
Best Defensive Player: Byron Buxton
Best Offensive Player: Max Kepler
Best Pitcher: José Berríos
Most HRs: Nelson Cruz
Most RBIs: C.J. Cron
Best ERA - Starting Pitcher: José Berríos
Best ERA - Relief Pitcher: Taylor Rogers
Craziest blunder that will happen: Astudillo will get in a rundown between first and second, force a bad throw, and chug around the bases all the way to home, narrowly beating a throw from the rightfielder.
How awesome will Astudillo be? Astudillo will strike out 10 times, walk 12 times, and hit 9 home runs. He’ll have a batting average of .333, an OBP of .334, and will steal at least one base.
Any other predictions that you’d like to add on your own? Byron Buxton will finally break out, hitting .292 with all-world defense. He’ll make the All-Star Game and receive MVP votes.

ethmaestro

Record: 87-75, AL Central Champs
Best Defensive Player: Byron Buxton
Best Offensive Player: Nelson Cruz
Best Pitcher: José Berríos
Most HRs: Nelson Cruz
Most RBIs: Nelson Cruz
Best ERA - Starting Pitcher: José Berríos
Best ERA - Relief Pitcher: Trevor May
Craziest blunder that will happen: Miguel Sanó is involved in another freak accident and misses the entire second half.
How awesome will Astudillo be? He’ll hit just shy of .300. He’ll walk fewer than 20 times and strikeout fewer than 30 times. Also, he’ll hit for the cycle.

Hayden A

Record: 84-78, Wild Card (thanks to the totally accurate calculations I did earlier this month)
Best Defensive Player: Byron Buxton
Best Offensive Player: Eddie Rosario
Best Pitcher: José Berríos
Most HRs: Nelson Cruz
Most RBIs: Jonathan Schoop
Best ERA - Starting Pitcher: José Berríos
Best ERA - Relief Pitcher: Trevor Hildenberger
Craziest blunder that will happen: Probably something like Willians Astudillo slipping while rounding third. This will absolutely become a meme.
How awesome will Astudillo be? Extremely.
Any other predictions that you’d like to add on your own? They’re probably gonna lose to the Yankees in the playoffs if they get there. It’s just happened too many times. This is the only one I really hope to be wrong about.

Sean Paul D

Record: 90-72, second Wild Card
Best Defensive Player: Byron Buxton
Best Offensive Player: Eddie Rosario
Best Pitcher: José Berríos
Most HRs: Nelson Cruz
Most RBIs: Nelson Cruz
Best ERA - Starting Pitcher: José Berríos
Best ERA - Relief Pitcher: Blake Parker
Craziest blunder that will happen: Buxton will pass Astudillo on the bases and they will both be out.
How awesome will Astudillo be? Too awesome.

Thomas Reinking

Record: 92-70, AL Central Champions
Best Defensive Player: Byron Buxton
Best Offensive Player: Eddie Rosario
Best Pitcher: José Berríos
Most HRs: Nelson Cruz
Most RBIs: Eddie Rosario
Best ERA - Starting Pitcher: José Berríos
Best ERA - Relief Pitcher: Trevor May
Craziest blunder that will happen: Rocco Baldelli power slams an opposing manager in a team fight after a hit batter to assert his dominance over the older, more experienced managers.
How awesome will Astudillo be? 7/10. I think he peaked last year and we’re gonna see some regression.
Any other predictions that you’d like to add on your own? I’m an optimist at heart, but I think the Indians are overrated after losing so many players and the much-improved Twins offense will clobber the lesser AL Central teams better than they did last year, leading to more wins.

There you have it, Twinkie Town community! Now tell us - what’s your prediction for this year’s Minnesota Twins? Get started on a FanPost or let us know in the comments below!