Wasting no time, the MLB.com website Cut 4 is predicting the Twins will displace the Cleveland Indians atop the American League Central and win the division in 2019.
That’s fine with me, of course, but I should point out that many (OK, some) made that prediction in 2018 and look where it got them. But, as the author of the Cut 4 piece notes, the Twins ran into some horrible luck last season, particularly with Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton, two players who have long been expected to carry the team.
What comes around, goes around, so the author thinks the Tribe is about to run into some bad luck next season.
There will be slumps, nagging injuries and freakish runs of batted ball luck — all of which the Indians avoided in 2018.
There’s also the possibility that the Indians deal aces Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco.
Meanwhile, for the Twins to pull ahead of the Tribe next season, they need a little luck, more from pitcher Jose Berrios and a lot more from Buxton.
I’ve seen the games where he gets it, where Buxton laces liners all over the field and robs batters of the same with explosive, lightning-quick legs that close gaps that should never be closed. The tools are there, and if he can put it together, he’s the Minnesota Mike Trout, or the Great Lakes’ Griffey. That’s a player that can almost single-handedly carry a team into the conversation.
When did he do this? The author likely is referring to the second half of the 2017 season. In August alone, Buxton hit .324 with 34 hits, including eight home runs, three doubles and two triples.
-Robbie Grossman is gone after the Twins non-tendered him prior to the deadline to tender contracts, according to MLB.com. That’s too bad. I always thought of Grossman as one of the unsung heroes on the team. He wasn’t flashy, but he was very good at working the count in his favor and earning that free pass to first base. Grossman led the team in on base percentage this past season, and was near the top in both 2017 and 2016.
-Designated, claimed and now former Tampa Bay Ray C.J. Cron is officially a member of the Twins after he signed a one-year deal worth $4.8 million on Friday to avoid arbitration, according to various reports. Cron earned $2.3 million with the Rays last season.