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Twinkie Town staff predicts the 2020 Twins season

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Is it satire? Is it real? That’s the fun of it all!

A fortune teller reading a woman’s futur
Tawny and James take a look into a crystal ball and glance at the future.
Photo by George Karger/Pix Inc./The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images/Getty Images

The COVID-shortened 2020 season starts today for the Minnesota Twins. Like last year, hand-delivered ballots were given to each Twinkie Town staff member and returned to me by carrier pigeon. A difference from last year is that nobody filed any restraining orders against me for showing up randomly at their humble abode with a ballot in hand, so that’s good news.

Without further ado, here’s our staff predictions for the 2020 Bomba Squad in their own words:

Ben Beecken

Season record, standings, and playoff result: 38-22, 1st in AL Central, ALCS berth, lose to Houston Astros
Best hitter: Luis Arraez will hit over .350, but Miguel Sano will deliver the most overall value as a hitter now that he’s healthy and will get too hit in the middle of this lineup.
Best defensive player: As long as Byron Buxton can play more than 45 games or so ... it will be Buxton. Otherwise, Josh Donaldson and Sano should both be above average at their respective positions.
Best starting pitcher: Rich Hill
Best reliever: Trevor May will finally unlock his up-and-down, always-tantalizing potential.
Most homers: Miguel Sano
Most RBIs: Nelson Cruz
Most strikeouts: For hitter or pitcher? Hitter: Donaldson. Pitcher: Hill.
Craziest play/blunder that will happen: The Twins will hit nine home runs in a game which would be a franchise record and second-most in a game in league history.
Best celebration that will adhere to CDC standards: Definitely the evolution of the “King Kong” celebration that Cruz and Sano performed last season, right? Can we get the whole team in on that?
Any other predictions? The Twins will take the Astros to six games in the ALCS, but a) Houston not having to deal with angry opposing crowds, and b) an edge in starting pitching will give them the edge.

Jonathan Gamble

Season record, standings, and playoff result: 37-23, 1st place AL Central, Lose ALCS
Best hitter: Josh Donaldson
Best defensive player: Who else? Byron Buxton
Best starting pitcher: Rich Hill in the short season
Best reliever: Trevor May
Most homers: The man known as Boomstick.
Most RBIs: Miguel Sano
Most strikeouts: Jose Berrios
Craziest play/blunder that will happen: There will be a pitching change on a 3-2 count after Luis Arraez fouls off 30 pitches in one at-bat against some poor NL Central reliever
Best celebration that will adhere to CDC standards: Instead of dumping gatorade on Max Kepler after a walk-off, Mitch Garver and Josh Donaldson will have super soaker squirt guns loaded up with the beverage so they can douse him from six feet away
Any other predictions? Byron Buxton gets MVP votes

Cooper Carlson

Season record, standings, and playoff result: 41-19, 1st in ALC, swept by the Yankees in the SECOND round!
Best hitter: Eddie Rosario
Best defensive player: Josh Donaldson
Best starting pitcher: Rich Hill
Best reliever: Trevor May
Most homers: Cruz/JD/Sano all tie
Most RBIs: Eddie Rosario
Craziest play/blunder that will happen: Donaldson will charge the mound, remember social distancing rules, and everyone will look at each other angrily from six feet apart for a while.
Best celebration that will adhere to CDC standards: Water guns will be filled with gatorade and they will shoot at each other from a safe distance after a walkoff win.

Matt Monitto

Season record, standings, and playoff result: 39-21, 1st in AL Central, past the $@#%! Yankees
Best hitter: Nelson Cruz
Best defensive player: Byron Buxton
Best starting pitcher: Jose Berrios
Best reliever: Trevor May
Most homers: Cruz
Most RBIs: Cruz
Most strikeouts: Miguel Sano at the plate, Berrios on the mound
Craziest play/blunder that will happen: At least one fielder tosses a ball into the stands out of habit forgetting they are empty.
Best celebration that will adhere to CDC standards: After a walk-off homer, everyone in the dugout jumps into the seats, cheers their teammate around the bases, and mobs the field after he touches home plate.
Any other predictions? Please redeem my bad in-the-park-homers prediction from last year, Byron.

Brandon Brooks

Season record, standings, and playoff result: I’ll go for a solid 33-27, good enough for first in the Central. I think we’ll have more teams struggling to find a groove and finishing around .500 than we will have streaky teams that wind up with NBA-style winning percentages. Is it too much to ask to win a Division Series? Maybe MLB will throw in that last-minute playoff expansion, and we’ll wind up winning one of the lower playoff series, then making an exit where the “regular” playoffs would have begun. That sounds Minnesotan, right?
Best hitter: Cruz feels like the safe pick. Yes, he had his best offensive season ever at age 38, but when you’re in the twilight of your career, seasons like that feel less like outliers and more like indicators of how stable you are as a player.
Best defensive player: I think I said something similar last year, but given the unpredictability of Buxton’s playing time, I’ll go for our hot new defender in Donaldson.
Best starting pitcher: 2020 is the year of Randy Dobnak. You heard it here first.
Best reliever: Duffey will start the year hot and never falter. We’re talking sub-1.50 ERA. At least, that’s what I’M talking.
Most homers: Another year alongside Nelson Cruz will see Miguel Sano’s power stroke explode.
Most RBIs: I’ll say Cruz, but everyone in this lineup is hitting behind a guy who can get to second or further with one swing of the bat. Racking up ribbies has never been so easy.
Most strikeouts: Pitching? I’ll go for Jose Berrios, although a reliever could wind up walking away with this award depending on usage. It would be Sano surprise to see Miguel lead the lineup in K’s, either.
Craziest play/blunder that will happen: What appears to be a socially-distanced shift conference winds up being an elaborate hidden-ball trick, and the Twins turn a triple play
Best celebration that will adhere to CDC standards: Max Kepler walks it off into the plaza, and Eddie Rosario responds by dumping a Gatorade cooler of Purell on him.
Any other predictions? Joel Hernandez breaks the single-game rec record.

Zach Koenig

Season record, standings, and playoff result: 41-19; first in the AL Central. This will be good for the #2 playoff seed. While the Yankees (#1 seed) dispatch of either the White Sox or the Rays, the Twins sneak past the Houston Trash Cans in the ALDS. Then, remarkably, playing the Yanks in a 7-game series instead of five removes some of the pressure and MN bests NY in seven games. In the World Series, the Twins are matched up against the surprising Milwaukee Brewers. The Border Battle ends with Minnesota dispatching the Brew Crew in five games. Parade down (an empty) Hennepin Avenue, everyone!
Best hitter: Max Kepler takes that “next step” and becomes the Twins’ best overall batter. He locks down the leadoff spot most days and consistently produces quality AB’s.
Best defensive player: Josh Donaldson proves that while his reputation may be the “Bringer of Rain” at the plate, that same umbrella is also used to corral everything hit his direction at the hot corner.
Best starting pitcher: Freed from his usual mid-to-late season swoon, Jose Berrios puts up ace-type numbers over the two month period.
Best reliever: Tyler Clippard, though only because Taylor Rogers struggles with being overworked in high leverage situations.
Most homers: Cruz falls off a bit, Sano has an early-season slump to dig out from, and Donaldson takes a bit of time to adapt to his new surroundings. So, Eddie Rosario paces the club in round-trippers.
Most RBIs: Again, Rosario takes this category simple from hitting in the middle of the order all season long.
Most strikeouts: Miguel Sano is always the answer to this question.
Craziest play/blunder that will happen: Freed from fans right next to the RF corner wall, Kepler makes a miraculous catch while leaning deep into the bleachers.
Best celebration that will adhere to CDC standards: Rosario, Buxton, and Kepler about to do their traditional group free-throw jump after a victory, but at the last second they pull up and give a socially-distanced salute instead.
Any other predictions? Surprisingly, it ends up being the pitching that largely carries this club. They still swat the ball around, of course, but the HR rate drops from ’19 Bomba Squad levels and the team wins many more tight contests decide by clutch hits, not just beating opponents into submission.

James Fillmore

The Twins will win the World Series, and immediately be told by baseball pundits that it doesn’t really count, because short season etc.

However, they will lose their first playoff game, setting the record for consecutive postseason losses (they’re currently tied with a decades-old Chicago NHL team).

That first playoff series will take place in Buffalo, as Toronto can’t play in Toronto. Byron Buxton will go over Niagara Falls in a barrel unscathed yet miss two playoff games due to freak scorpion stings.

Bob Engvall

Season record, standings, and playoff result: 33-27. Loss in second round of playoffs (although as I write this, who knows what the playoffs will look like).
Best hitter: Kepler
Best defensive player: Kepler
Best starting pitcher: Berrios
Best reliever: Rogers
Most homers: Cruz
Most RBIs: Kepler
Most strikeouts: Sano
Best celebration that will adhere to CDC standards: I envision what the outfielders did last year after wins but all six feet apart. The jump near each other but not touching each other. And then the non touch low five.

Imakesandwichesforaliving

Season record, standings, and playoff result: 42-18, 1st in AL Central, lose in the ALCS
Best hitter: Nelson Cruz
Best defensive player: Max Kepler
Best starting pitcher: Jose Berrios
Best reliever: Trevor May
Most homers: Miguel Sano
Most RBIs: Josh Donaldson
Most strikeouts: Jose Berrios
Craziest play/blunder that will happen: Rocco Baldelli will make an error on his lineup card, forcing the starting pitcher to hit. That pitcher will be Jose Berrios and he will hit a home run.
Best celebration that will adhere to CDC standards: Players will form a tunnel down the third base line after a walk-off homer while standing six feet apart, of course.
Any other predictions? Someone on this Bomba Squad will be winning the batting title this season.

JohnFoley

Season record, standings, and playoff result: 37-23, Win AL Central, 2nd overall seed. Advance to ALCS
Best hitter: Nelson Cruz
Best defensive player: Josh Donaldson
Best starting pitcher: Jose Berrios - breakout year
Best reliever: Taylor Rogers
Most homers: Nelson Cruz
Most RBIs: Pass - RBIs are stupid :D
Most strikeouts: Rich Hill - by K/9
Any other predictions? Jorge Alcala and Jhoan Duran will make the playoff roster in the bullpen. Byron Buxton will be extended during the season.


Now it’s your turn! What are your predictions for this season’s Twins?