2011 Minnesota Twins Predictions and MLB Futures Odds
by Robert Ferringo - 3/28/2011
If I asked you to name the best franchises in baseball over the last decade I’m sure you could quickly rip off the easy answers: the Yankees and the Red Sox. Maybe after a pause you would throw out the Phillies and the Angels. Another couple seconds and the Cardinals would come to mind.
But I wonder how long it would take the average baseball fan to confidently admit that one of the Top 5 organizations in all of Major League Baseball over the last decade has been the Minnesota Twins. They have averaged 88.8 wins over the past 10 years despite consistently having one of the lower payrolls in baseball (up until last year, that is). This team has won six of the last nine American League Central titles and they are consistently one of the top earners for bettors in the sport.
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However, unlike those other franchises, the Twins haven’t been able to get over the hump in the postseason, posting a horrendous 2-15 mark in their last 17 forays into October. Their last World Series win was back in 1991. Perhaps they are hoping that a little 20-year anniversary magic will rub off on this year’s club. But until they find a way to beat those top teams mano-a-mano they will continue to be the an afterthought when talking about the sport’s elite.
Here are Doc’s Sports 2011 Minnesota Twins Predictions and MLB Futures Odds:
2010 Record: 94-68
2011 Wins Over/Under: 87.0
Odds To Win 2011 AL Central: 1.4/1
Odds To Win 2011 AL Pennant: 8/1
2011 Minnesota Twins Odds to Win the World Series: 16/1
Pitching: Well, they get the job done. I guess. That is kind of a backhanded compliment for the Twins pitching staff, but it is really the best I can offer. Minnesota has five No. 3 starters that they trot out and it seems to work year after year (in the regular season, anyway). The team still lacks a legitimate ace and they won’t be a real threat to do anything but win a division title until they find one. Carl Pavano had a Renaissance year in 2010, winning 17 games and sporting a 3.75 ERA. No one expects that to last. Enigmatic Francisco Liriano is the team’s No. 2 and probably has the best stuff of the bunch. But he is constantly overrated by the books and posted just an 11-17 record in the two year’s prior to last season’s 14-win campaign. Perhaps the best value on the team is lefty Brian Duensing, who has spectacular numbers (15-5, 3.02 ERA) in his two seasons in Minnesota. Three other guys – Scott Baker, Kevin Slowey and Nick Blackburn – might as well be the same guy wearing different uniforms. Last year a patchwork bullpen did yeoman’s work filling in for injured stud closer Joe Nathan. Nathan is back, and former closers Matt Capps and Brian Fuentes, along with sick lefty Jose Mijares, give the Twins one of the most experienced back ends in baseball.
Hitting: For the last two years Twins supporters ended the season left wondering what could have been. Justin Morneau, a former MVP and the team’s biggest power threat, has ended each of the past two seasons on the disabled list. Last year it was a shady situation surrounding a concussion – one that, somehow, is still bothering him this spring – that submarined his season. He is 0-for-10 so far in exhibition play and if he can’t come back and be the all star that the team expects then Minnesota is in trouble. Joe Mauer is still one of the best in the business and Mick Cuddyer continues to be an underrated pro. Last year’s breakout player was Delmon Young, and the Twins need him to continue to make strides into the upper echelon. I think that this team is going to miss the attitude and experience that Orlando Hudson and J.J. Hardy brought to the middle infield last season. This year the Twins are relying on Japanese import Tsuyoshi Nishioka to start at second base. But I feel like we’ve been down this road with Japanese players before and I won’t be stunned if he’s hitting .230 sometime in mid-June. The Twins have seen their depth whittled away by free agency. But they always seem to find another Jason Kubel or Danny Valencia to plug into The Machine.
Key Stat: The Twins led the Majors in batting average with runners in scoring position, hitting .285 last season. That was the lowest league-leading number in the category in more than a decade. Also, over the course of the last five years every team that led the league in hitting with RISP in one season posted a worse record the next year. That includes some major flameouts from teams like the Angels (2005-06, 2009-10), White Sox (2006-07) and Tigers (2007-08).
2011 Minnesota Twins Predictions: I am predicting a little dip down for this team. If Morneau doesn’t come back at close to 100 percent then I think that this team can hold on. But with Detroit and Chicago poised for solid seasons it would certainly trim down their margin of error to next to zero. Also, I think that their starters are going to let them down a bit this year and overall I just don’t get a great vibe from a team that I have made a ton of money betting on over the last three years. I am predicting disappointment in the Twin Cities.
2011 Minnesota Twins MLB Season Win Totals Predictions: ‘Under’ 85.5 Wins. It is incredibly tough to bet against Ron Gardenhire and the Twins system. But as I mentioned, I think that there are some metrics that point to a regression out of this team. They have beaten their Vegas win total for three straight years and that is usually a strong indicator. Also, they led the Majors in wins in one-run games and that has been another strong predictor of a team set for a disappointing follow-up campaign. I think Minnesota gets over .500 but I don’t see them beating this number. I predict 83-79.
Robert Ferringo is a professional sports handicapper for Doc’s Sports. He is considered one of the top MLB cappers in the country and has turned a profit in four of the last five years on the diamond with his baseball picks. He closed 2010 with $6,000 in earnings over the last four months and is looking forward to a great upcoming season against the MLB odds. Click here for more information on his MLB picks.
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