Breaking down the 2015 MLB season

Published 7:01 am Sunday, April 5, 2015

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Opening Day is finally here.

The St. Louis Cardinals are set to take on the Chicago Cubs at 7:05 p.m. Sunday to launch MLB’s 2015 season ahead of Monday, the official Opening Day. At the dawn of a new season filled filled with promise and big hopes for all 32 teams, we asked a few community baseball fans to join us in making predictions for the upcoming season.



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Jason Schoonover, of the Herald, is a lifelong baseball fan who cheers for the New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins and loves reading up on the latest baseball gossip and trade rumors.

Prediction: The Twins will win more games than the Yankees

I cheer for two baseball teams: the Yankees and the Twins. I expect the Yankees to be a bust this year, while I expect the Twins to take a quiet, modest step in their rebuilding process.

Since I first predicted this over a coffee break turned baseball chat this winter, I’ve softened a bit on my stance. The Yankees have since made some smart moves — trading for shortstop Didi Gregorious and starter Nathan Eovald, two young guys with upside.

But at the end of the day, I doubt either team will have a good year — I expect both to be fighting for .500 records. The Yankees stand a better chance of making it to the postseason if everything goes right — which is doubtful — and CBS Sports rightly labeled them this season’s “ultimate boom or bust team in MLB.” They boast a promising rotation of Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, Eovaldi and CC Sabathia that could dominate if healthy and effective. But all have serious question marks and show just as much potential to end up with season-ending injuries or ineffectiveness. Their lineup, full of bounce-back players and big names aging past their primes, also looks injury prone.

The Twins, on the other hand, are a young team looking to make the next step in rebuilding. I’m betting new manager Paul Molitor and his attention to detail will have a positive effect, and the Twins will show modest growth this year. They likely won’t contend, but they should be fun to watch, especially if prospects like Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano and Alex Meyer make it to the bigs.

Prediction: It’ll be a big year for young players, but Twins will take their time with prospects.

Much of the buzz this spring has been on the host of young stars on the cusp of starting their big league stardom.

Since getting sent to triple A, Cubs third-baseman Kris Bryant — and his threats of a lawsuit — have dominated the discussion. But if you ask me, it was a smart move by the Cubs, and it’s just a distraction from an impressive crop of rookies and young guns coming up, which includes fellow Cubs Addison Russell and Jorge Soler (if he can learn to strikeout less often), Red Sox Mookie Betts (who isn’t technically a rookie based on 2014 playing time) and Rusney Castillo, Dodger Joc Pederson, and Blue Jays pitchers Daniel Norris and Aaron Sanchez — who are just two of six rookies on the Jays’ Opening Day roster. That’s not even listing and discussing many of the other young stars in the game — reigning AL MVP Mike Trout is 23 and reigning NL MVP/Cy Young Clayton Kershaw is 27.

However, I expect Twins fans to have to wait a bit longer for their own budding stars. Buxton and Sano are starting the season at double A, and the Twins won’t rush them to the bigs — especially since both are returning from injuries — unless they’re annihilating minor league pitching.



Attorney Dan Donnelly is an Austin 25 and over men’s league umpire, he was a pitcher for Saint Mary’s University-Winona from 1995 to 1998, and he was Nintendo RBI baseball champ at St. Joe’s Hall for one week, 1995.

Donnelly predicts Kyle Gibson will lead the Twins staff in wins, Ricky Nolasco will lead in losses, Oswaldo Arcia in homeruns and Joe Mauer in batting average.



Attorney Paul Spyhalski has an extensive interest in baseball. He presented last year at the National Society for American Baseball Research in Houston, Texas.

Prediction: The Houston Astros will be a .500 team.

The Astros have been steadily improving and despite a horrible cable contract limiting team income, are well-stocked with young talent including some solid starting pitchers. With the low budget teams of the last couple of years, that young talent has had time to develop in the majors.  If nothing else, they get to face the Rangers, A’s and aging Angels as in division opponents.

Prediction: Troy Tulowitzki doesn’t finish the season with the Rockies.

Tulo looks healthy and the Rockies aren’t going to go anywhere this year. It is time for the Rockies to load up on some prospects and a few teams’ fans are unlikely to put up with a losing team, especially in the AL East.




Eric Johnson, of the Herald. Eric is an off and on Major League Baseball fan, mostly due to the stress of being a Minnesota Twins fan (much the same burden we all bear for being Vikings, Wild and Timberwolves fans).

I’m staying with the Twins on this, because of some misguided homerism this year. I don’t know. Let’s call it wishful thinking — or the ravings of a madman. Whatever you feel comfortable with.

•Prediction: Kurt Suzuki is going to be the Twins hitting leader. Mostly, because I don’t trust Joe Mauer to really get through the season. I know, it’s a terrible reason for making such a claim, but there it is. Suzuki might even make a play for being team MVP. The Twins have always seemed to be fairly solid at catcher, so I’m kind of going on the past here.

Prediection: The Twins starting pitchers will quietly have an ERA of around 3.45. Phil Hughes is only one reason for this optimism, but really, this lineup has the potential to be one of the best the Twins have seen for quite some time.

Prediction: They will make the playoffs. To the observant eye, you will notice this doesn’t line up with my more realistic prediction in the graphic and that’s because this one is probably the most out there. There is absolutely no reason to think the Twins will do this … but neither was there in 1987 or 1991.

Obviously, I’m not thinking World Series here — more likely wild card — but there is at least loose established history here. Or at least that’s what I’m hoping this little dream will encompass.