Like most baseball fans I can’t wait for the 2017 MLB season to begin. I have been excited for every baseball season to start for over 60 years now so that tells you that I am no rookie fan, you might compare me to the old veteran player that is looking to hang on for another season.
Spring brings hope as the weather warms, spring rains fall, the grass turns green, the leaves start to form on the trees and somewhere off in the distance you hear that yell that your ears have yearned for during the cold winter months, PLAY BALL!!
The home town Minnesota Twins ended spring training on Friday and flew to Minnesota after their final exhibition game which ended in a 3-3 tie against their AAA Rochester team. Spring training wins mean very little, in 2016 the Cubs finished their exhibition schedule with a 11-19 record and won the World Series. The 2016 Twins finished with a 19-11 record and when they looked at the standings when the season ended they saw a “59” in their W column. The 2017 Twins were 16-13 in this springs meaningless games.
This is the first season for the new Derek Falvey and Thad Levine regime and the third season as the Twins manager for Paul Molitor. Much has been said and written about Falvey and his approach to running a team and how appreciated he was in Cleveland. The consensus is that Falvey has taken over a tired old organization that time has passed by and a complete house-cleaning was in order. But Falvey and Levine have not done that, they have actually made very few moves both on the field and in the front office. I think that tells us something.
To me it sends a very clear message, the Minnesota Twins organization coming off a disastrous season in which they lost 103 games is not the pile of s*%# that everyone says it was and that the team has a bright future and all they need to do is fine tune it a bit and stay out of way to make sure they don’t screw it up. Falvey didn’t leave the Indians and Levine the Rangers to end up in some dead-end team with no hope, they came to Minnesota because they see what this team can and will be in the next few years. Believe me, the Twins organization is far from perfect and there will not be any playoff games played in Target Field in 2017 but this years team will not be the sad sack Twins of 2016.
The major weakness the Twins have is their relief pitching and Falvey and Levine did nothing to speak of to address that problem, that will come back to haunt the team this season. Can the starters be worse this year than last? I think not so I am expecting much more from that group in 2017. The young position players are just getting to the stage of realizing that they can play and compete at the big league level and they will be both fun and at times frustrating to watch. The Twins motto for this season should be “Grin and bear it cause good things are a-comin”.
My 2017 American League Central Division prediction
The 2017 American League pennant winners will be the Cleveland Indians and the National League pennant winning Washington Nationals will play in the 2017 World Series with the Indians winning in 6 exciting games. Enjoy the season.