The 2020 MLB season is rapidly approaching and the expectations for the Twins are sky high. I have three bold predictions, and I am bad at being negative so two out of the three are positive.
Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, and Josh Donaldson finish in the top 20 for MVP voting:
The Twins offense is undoubtedly one of the best in the game and I believe that will result in three players finishing top 20 in AL MVP voting. The only AL team with at least three players in the MVP voting was the Houston Astros *bang* in 2019. Respectful organization all around.
Buxton just has to stay healthy for 130 games and he will have a really good shot of doing this because of his overall impact. Kepler could be a bold prediction by himself, but I expect him to have a similar breakout to what we saw from Christian Yelich a few years ago. As for Josh Donaldson, his impact will be outstanding as he hits 35+ home runs while playing elite defense at third base.
Jake Odorizzi will get paid the most money out of all the free agent SP:
Odorizzi accepted the Twins qualifying offer to stay with the team in 2020 at around $18 million. He is coming off a career best season where he had a 3.51 ERA, and a 10.08 K/9 highlighted by an All Star Game appearance. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him repeat or even improve on last seasons performance as it has been noted he is one of the more analytically and technologically advanced players on the Twins.
His competition in free agency is not very strong, compared to this year’s with Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg, Zack Wheeler and more. After the 2020 season, the competition for Odorizzi will be Masahiro Tanaka, Jake Arrieta, Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer, James Paxton, Robbie Ray, and Marcus Stroman. Most of those guys are on the same level as Odorizzi and the 2020 season will determine who gets the largest contract.
The AL Central race will come down to the last series of the year.
The Twins and Indians will be fighting for the AL central crown until the final days of the season. Chicago will be a team that always lingered but were never good enough to be taken seriously. I’m not sure how “bold” this one actually is, but from what I’ve seen on Twitter and other websites, people are overrating the White Sox and underrating the Indians. The Indians will once again have an excellent rotation with Mike Clevinger and Shane Bieber both being top 10 starters in the AL. They also have Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez who could both be top hitters in the AL.
The White Sox have had a really good off season. They signed Yasmani Grandal which was one of the best moves this winter. Their other additions included Dallas Keuchel, Edwin Encarnacion, Gio Gonzalez, and Nomar Mazara. Those four don’t do much to push a 72-win team in 2019 to instant division winners. Maybe I’ll be completely wrong and the White Sox will make me eat my words, but I doubt it.