Leading up to the 2023 season, fans can analyze several projection systems to predict the performance of any major league team. For this article, Steamer screenings will be featured. According to MLB.com, Steamer uses past performance and aging trends to develop a future projection for players. It also uses pitch tracking data to help predict pitchers.
Steamer projects the twins’ top five position players like Carlos Correa, Byron Buxton, Jorge Polanco, Jose Miranda and Christian Vazquez. On the mound, the top five pitchers are all starters, including Pablo Lopez, Sonny Gray, Joe Ryan, Tyler Mahle and Kenta Maeda. It would be easy to target any of those players and say they need to exceed their projections, but let’s dig deeper into the roster.
Joey Gallo, OF2023 Steamer Projection: .188/.313/.393, 105 wRC+, 2.7 Off, -6.3 Def, 1.1 WARThe Twins signed Gallo to a one-year, $11 million deal in hopes that he would return to the All-Star caliber player he was in previous seasons. He is coming off his worst professional season, as he recorded a .638 OPS and a 79 OPS+ over 126 games for the Yankees and Dodgers. His expected slugging percentage is 76 points below his career average, which is an area he will need to surpass his projection. His defensive total also seems extremely low for a player known as a strong defender. Last year he recorded a -1.3 Def, his lowest total since 2017.
Trevor Larnach, OF2023 Steamer Projection: .225/.306/.373, 96 wRC+, -1.9 OF, -5.3 Def, 0.3 WAROver the past two seasons, Larnach has dealt with a number of injuries, including a hand injury and a core muscle injury. When he’s healthy, his mighty bat looks like it should be penciled into the middle of the Twins lineup. In 16 games last June, he had 1,077 OPS with six doubles and three home runs. The latest Twins Daily roster projection has Larnach starting the year in Triple-A. He will have to prove that he is in good health and return to the big league roster. Injuries will impact the Twins’ outfield and he needs to be ready when he gets promoted.
Jorge Alcala, RP2023 Steamer Projection: 54 IP, 3.75 ERA, 9.3 K/9, 3.1 BB/9, 0.2 WARAlcala missed nearly the entire 2022 season after undergoing arthroscopic debridement surgery on his throwing elbow. In 2021, Alcala posted a 3.92 ERA with 9.2 K/9 over 59 2/3 innings while earning opportunities in an end-inning role. The Twins haven’t added anyone to the bullpen this winter, which makes Alcala’s return all the more critical. He’s already produced over 0.2 WAR in multiple league seasons, so that projection is the more significant discrepancy. If Alcala can surpass his projections, he could help revitalize a core group of bullpens that struggled through much of the first half of 2022.
Jorge Lopez, RP2023 Steamer Projection: 70 IP, 3.58 ERA, 9.2 K/9, 3.0 BB/9, 0.4 WARSteamer expects Lopez to provide the fourth-highest WAR total among Twins relievers. It’s safe to assume that the Twins would be disappointed by that outcome. Minnesota traded four pitching prospects (including Cade Povich) because they felt Lopez could upgrade the bullpen for more seasons. He struggled after the trade with a 4.37 ERA and 1.63 WHIP in 23 appearances. The Twins won’t follow a traditional pattern closer, but Lopez will likely get save opportunities, especially if Jhoan Duran is used in high-leverage situations before the ninth inning.
Which player is most likely to exceed his showing on Steamer? Leave a comment and start the discussion.