There are lots of rumors and plans out there for restarting major league baseball. While none of them are set in stone, and there are several logistical and legal hurdles to clear, its appearing increasingly likely that the momentum exists for some form of shortened season.
While some people may believe attempting to play at all this season is foolhardy, and others are wondering what’s taking so long, on the baseball field there are two Twins who would benefit the most from a shortened season—one on the pitching side and one on the position players.
The pitcher, as it may be obvious, is new Twin Rich Hill. Due to his age (he’s 40,) Hill likely only has a few seasons left, and he has proven injury-prone in the past. He is currently recovering from an alternative to Tommy John surgery. Hill was targeting a return to the team in mid-June, which means that if the “July 1st” rumors are true, he will not only be healthy, but essentially on equal footing with the other pitchers. Given his stuff, and the fact he’s the only veteran southpaw for the Twins, he would likely start the shortened season in the rotation. Pitching in fewer games (if its a 100 game season, he likely throws in 20ish) will also help keep him healthy, as he’s battled injuries. With a year of less wear-and-tear, he may even be able to stave off father time for an extra season. Even if the league tries to pack 162 games into a shorter time period, that likely means six-or-more man rotations, and less wear for starting pitchers overall.
For many similar reasons, Byron Buxton also benefits from a short season. Buxton and Hill are at opposite ends of their careers, although the 26-year old centerfielder has spent parts of five seasons in the majors. What they do have in common is a propensity to be bitten by the injury bug. Due to injuries and ineffectiveness, Buxton has appeared in 100 games only once in those five seasons—2017. In 2019, Buxton only appeared in 87 games, but hit .262/.314/.513 and showed off some doubles power. Essentially, he became everything Twins fans anticipated from a number two overall pick, when he was on the field. Surgery last fall to repair a torn shoulder labrum ended his season, and also put a delay on his spring start for 2020. When the players dispersed from Florida, he had not yet gotten into game action, although he was anticipated to play before the season kicked off. Now he’s had a couple extra months to get healthy and get into shape, and should be entering whatever modified season we get in the same condition as any other healthy player.
Given Buxton’s injuries often occur due to his high-intensity style of play, limiting his playing time has been one of several strategies employed to attempt to keep him healthy—usually in the form of a few extra days off. While he won’t get the recovery benefit of extra days off in this scenario, in a 100 game season, he might actually play close to 90% of the time, rather than just over 50% in many of his previous seasons. Even in a shortened season, if Buxton shows off numbers similar to 2019, and stays healthy, I think that shows the breakout we’ve been looking for.
What do you think though? Who benefits the most, if anyone, from a shortened season? Let us know why you think so in the comments.
Which Twin benefits most from a shortened season?
This poll is closed
Someone else (tell us who/why in the comments)