Monday, November 14, 2016

Five Twins Bounceback Candidates

Photo Credit: Denny Medley, USA Today Sports
Minnesota had lots of issues during the 2016 campaign. Pitchers didn't pitch well, hitters were inconsistent, and there were defensive gaffes. After nearly making the playoffs in 2015, the 2016 season was tough to swallow. The 2015 Twins likely overachieved and the 2016 Twins underachieved. Hopefully, the 2017 Twins find a spot somewhere in a middle.

Here are five candidates that could rebound in 2017 and help the Twins get back to respectability.

Jose Berrios
2016 Stats: 3-7 W-L, 8.02 ERA, 1.87 WHIP, 49 SO, 35 BB, 58.1 IP
Berrios dominated the upper levels of the minor leagues so it was hard to swallow the rough start to his MLB career. One of the biggest problems might have been that Berrios was tipping his pitches. Another issue was his increased walk rate. In the minors, he was touted for his excellent control, 2.5 BB/9, but that number more than doubled (5.4 BB/9) in the majors. Minnesota has been in search of an ace and there's still hope for him to be a front of the rotation hurler.

Kyle Gibson
2016 Stats: 6-11 W-L, 5.07 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, 104 SO, 55 BB, 147.1 IP
At the end of the 2015 season, Gibson was named the Twins Daily Pitcher of the Year. He finished that season with a respectable 3.84 ERA and 145 SO in 194.2 IP. Gibson started 2016 with a 0-5 record and a 6.05 ERA over his first seven starts. This included missing a month and a half with shoulder injury. From June 28-August 17, he'd win five of his seven decisions while posting a 4.19 ERA. If he can avoid injury and return to his 2015 form, Gibson should fit back into the middle of the rotation.

Trevor Plouffe
2016 Stats: .260/.303/.420, 12 HR, 13 2B, 60 SO, 19 BB, 84 G
The 2016 season was the first time Plouffe failed to play over 110 MLB games since 2011. He suffered through an oblique strain, a strained intercostal muscle, a cracked rib, a groin strain, some knee soreness, and another intercostal strain. When he was on the field, Plouffe put up some respectable numbers. However, he needs show he can stay healthy since next year will be his age-31 season. Plouffe will be a free agent at the end of the season so it would be nice for the Twins to be able to get something for him before the deadline.

Eddie Rosario
2016 Stats: .269/.295/.421, 10 HR, 17 2B, 91 SO, 12 BB, 92 G
Rosario hit .294/.340/.484 in seven minor league seasons. On his way to the big leagues, his hit tool was praised and many thought it would translate to baseball's highest level. There were some positive signs in his rookie campaign as he combined for 46 extra-base hits including a MLB leading 15 triples. His average and OBP rose this season but his slugging percentage dropped by almost 40 points. If he can continue to mature as a hitter, he could be the Twins breakout player in 2017.

Miguel Sano
2016 Stats: .236/.319/.462, 25 HR, 22 2B, 178 SO, 54 BB, 116 G
In 80 games during the 2015 campaign, Sano hit .269/.385/.530 (146 OPS+) with 17 doubles and 18 home runs. He turned a lot of heads as he hit 13 home runs over his final 48 games. Expectations were high entering 2016 and it was tough for Sano to reach those lofty heights. The year started with the team trying to transition him to the outfield. This experiment failed and it's hard not to think that some of his defensive struggles followed him to the plate. Sano should spend 2017 as a DH and a third baseman and this could be trouble for American League pitchers.

Who will have the biggest bounceback season in 2017? Would you add someone else to the list? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

1 comment:

Coach Patrick said...

Gibson and Hughes continue in the Twins long lasting quest to pretend #4 and #5 starters have "top end of rotation" potential. Expecting anything from them beyond #4 and #5 type production is foolish.