Twins

3 Bold Predictions For the 2024 Twins Season

Photo Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

When somebody tries to make bold predictions before the season, it often goes one of two ways. They either make it too light (the Minnesota Twins will take the division and win a game in the playoffs) or they jump the shark completely (Royce Lewis will hit 40 home runs and secure the Democratic nomination for President of the United States).

My predictions in the past have certainly gone sideways (Jovani Morán did NOT save more games than Jhoan Duran last year) or even scorched Earth (Miguel Sano did NOT lead all AL first basemen in WAR in 2022). But I tend to try to thread the needle with these forecasts.

With that said, here’s what I see as unlikely developments that will occur with the 2024 Minnesota Twins.

Trevor Larnach will have a better fWAR than Matt Wallner

While the core three rookies of 2023 (Lewis, Wallner, and Edouard Julien) garnered plenty of deserved praise for their awesome performances, they also essentially bumped other post-hype prospects out of the circle of trust. Their 2018 first-round pick is one of the players who was seemingly pushed out. Larnach has shown brief and inconsistent flashes of being an MLB-caliber player. But whether it’s due to health issues that have popped up or challenges with certain pitch types, he hasn’t emerged as a true everyday type of player that the club envisioned he would be a few years ago.

Overall, his MLB stat line toes the league-average mark. He currently sports a career .222/.315/.365 (96 wRC+) clip across 188 games played at the game’s highest level. I think he’s due for some positive regression, and I think he’s due for some better karma when it comes to his health. His spring was encouraging, as he had a respectable .61 OPS and struck out more than 10% less than his career average. Of course, we should take his Grapefruit League performance with a grain of salt. But if Larnach can hit something closer to the .271/.384/.504 (120 wRC+) while continuing to play a savvy corner outfield, he could be a major player as the progressess along.

While Wallner’s spring wasn’t particularly inspiring, his high strikeout rate makes him a boom-or-bust player susceptible to prolonged stretches of futility. He boomed last year. Can he do it again for a whole season as the league adjusts to him? How long will the Twins stick with him through these hypothetical challenges if Larnach or another MLB-ready slugger is tearing it up at Triple-A?

Griffin Jax will close out the All-Star game for the American League

It’s not shocking to see Jax getting a lot of love now that he finds himself atop the bullpen pecking order, at least until Duran returns from the IL. But making the American League All-Star roster would be a notable jump, and closing out the game would be even more wild.
That’s unlikely because each year, fewer relievers make their respective All-Star teams in lieu of starting pitchers who are deemed more valuable. And even if Jax is selected to represent the Twins, he would be competing with other American League power relievers such as Josh Hader, Jordan Romano, Emmanuel Clase, and even someone on his own team such as Duran or Brock Stewart if they find their ceiling in the first half.

For his part, Jax has displayed some top-tier numbers under the hood that make his ERA misleading over the last few years. While he had a respectable but less-than-stellar 3.86 ERA last year, he really pitched closer to his 2.86 expected-ERA. He was terribly unlucky for a couple of appearances in the middle of the season, giving up four earned runs twice in August, which ballooned his ERA. Expect his opponents’ BABIP (batting average on balls in play) to come down closer to the league average and with that, a more palatable surface-level stat line for Jax.

If his spring indicates what’s to come, the righty is in for a special 2024 campaign. He finished Grapefruit League action without giving up an earned run or a walk, striking out a dozen across 7 ⅔ innings pitched.

The Twins’ City Connect jerseys will be “Ice” themed

This is less of a bold prediction and more of a cold prediction. While the new line of Twins uniforms were generally well-received by the fan base, many were sad to see the powder blue editions be put in storage. But I predict that the Twins’ City Connect jerseys, which will be revealed at some point in 2024, will see a return to the fan-favorite designs but with a chilly twist.

Paying homage to the Twins’ frigid homeland, I predict these jerseys will have a powder blue base with white trim and red numbers. To make them even more unique, the letters and numbers will have icicles hanging off of them, making them look as cold as the hearts of so many fair-weathered followers of the club.

In a recently released hype video on their social media channels, the Twins showed various flashes of baby blue in various scenes and even had “ice in our veins” as a prominent tagline near the end of the clip.

The concept would be quite strong, and the execution could be among the coolest in the league.

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Photo Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

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