By: Kras, et al.
3 Good Questions About Minnesota Sports
- What has happened to the Twins? How did it get this bad this quick? Did they play above their ability level last year? It’s a long season with a lot of games left to be played but who is going to continue to watch?
Nate Leer: I think the Twins will improve some as the year progresses but, yes, they overachieved last year and everything that can go wrong has early on this season. The bad luck will tend to even out over the course of a baseball season but the bad results due to bad gambles may not turn around. The Twins made a couple key mistakes that most rational fans could see were not going to pan out.
To start with, Sano has no business trying to play RF. They should have put him at 3B where at least he was comfortable and let him just play. It would have been great if he was another Michael Cuddyer who could move all over the diamond but that is not the reality. Hopefully the Twins move Plouffe (and Dozier and Suzuki and Nolasco and Jepsen and Perkins) to a contender for a prospect or two and give Sano a chance to play 3B every day. Let the kid play and he will hopefully improve or show that he is absolutely not capable of playing the position.
Also, the Twins should not have really expected to contend with the bullpen they constructed to start the year. Without having to spend a bunch of money, they could have brought in 2-3 more arms to create real competition at the back of the ‘pen that would hopefully have produced a few late inning relievers to compare with other modern ‘pens.
All that being said, there are reasons to watch and the GM could create more positives with a few shrewd moves. Bringing in a few prospects in exchange for some of the solid vets the Twins do have would help fill the lower levels of the minors with high upside players and/or bring in arms that are close to major league ready to help fill the bullpen going forward. Moving some older players would also open up opportunities for talented young players to get ABs. Besides Sano, players such as Danny Santana, Eduardo Nunez, Jorge Polanco, Oswaldo Arcia and Eddie Rosario are up and need consistent ABs as well as talented players in the minors that could be back up before the end of the summer including Max Kepler, Byron Buxton and John Ryan Murphy.
- What will Bruce Boudreau do for the Minnesota Wild that Mike Yeo didn’t? Is it the man behind the bench that is the problem or is it players on the ice that are the reason the Wild have not been able to get it done?
Nate Leer: The best thing about Boudreau, from an admitted hockey novice, is that he has no allegiances to these players and hopefully has the balls to sit guys who don’t produce, or worse, don’t play hard. The Wild strike me as a classic sports example of a franchise whose fans don’t want to see them bottom out for good picks and so have over-spent on marginal players. Boudreau needs to whip these players into shape or bench them for good. At this point, the big contracts are essentially sunk costs and veteran players have underachieved so Boudreau needs to make playing-time calls based solely on who wants to play hard to win.
- Will the T-wolves finally have a .500 or better season this year? History says no, however the young talent on the floor and a new coach with a winning history might have other plans. Where will they end up in the wild wild west?
Nate Leer: My guess would be that learning a new coach’s system and the general growing pains of a young team will keep the T-Pups below .500 and well out of the Western Conference play-offs. However, they may surprise me as well as most other non-fans. Of concern to me is whether Tibbs pushes too hard for a playoff spot and stunts the growth of some of the young players. Whether it is overplaying the best players to the point of injury or not playing guys who need minutes to develop, a win-now mentality is NOT the best thing for this team in 2016.
Kras: I have a hard time believing that they will be a playoff team as well. I don’t think they are ready to contend night in and night out with the best that the West has to offer. I do believe that they have the pieces in place to take a step toward being good team. They have a lot of work to get there and hopefully Tibbs will help them over the hump. I would like to see them, if not get to .500 at least flirt with it. It has been to long since the T-Wolves have been relevant.
3 Good Questions About The Rest Of The Sports World
- Are the San Jose Sharks and the St. Louis Blues for real? Both teams have had trouble getting to this spot but one of them will have a chance to play for the cup. On a semi related note: I had both Martin Jones and Brian Elliott on my fantasy hockey team so I am not surprised that both these teams have been strong in the playoffs. Who wins and in how many games?
- Speaking of the wild wild west, do the Thunder have a chance to beat the Warriors? The Thunder dropped all three in the regular season to the Warriors, that was then this is now. Steph Curry seems to be back but are the knee and ankle a 100%? If he goes down will Draymond and Klay be enough to get them to the Finals? The Thunder played a strong series against the Spurs and should have plenty of optimism going into the Western Conference Finals.
Nate Leer: I think the Thunder certainly have a chance to win not only this series but the whole shebang. If Steph is anything less than 100%, the Thunder would have the two best players in the series. Even if Steph is the best player on the floor, Westbrook and Durant are not far behind and Thunder’s ability to play big could cause problems for the Warriors. While most teams are trying to move towards the Warrior’s model of small-ball, the Thunder have decided to use their best assets to try to take advantage of the trend toward smaller line-ups. Sometimes doing the opposite is the best strategy!
Kras: I would agree with that Leer. I think it is tough to argue against Steph being the best player on the floor. I also agree that KD and Russell would be the next 2 best players on the court. As far as these three being ranked in basketball alone, I think Steph and KD are 1 and 2, and a person could make an argument that Russell could be number 3. He is definitely a top 5 talent. I also think that with Andrew Bogut’s status in question that the bigs for the Thunder have an advantage down low. Without Bogut on the floor I think Adams and Ibaka will have their way in the paint. Either way it should be a fun series to watch.
- After watching the conclusion of The PLAYERS Championship, is there any doubt that Jason Day is the best golfer in the world? Will Spieth and or McIlroy put together enough good rounds of golf to consistently challenge day? What are your thoughts on how fast the greens got in the second round?
Kras: Jason Day has 7 victories in his last 17 tournament and that dates back to July of 2015. That is more victories than any other player on tour by 5. I think that although Rory and Jordan will have their share of victories, Jason is that man to beat and I don’t see that changing. Even when the greens became almost unplayable during the TPC Jason remained solid. He himself didn’t drop and strokes but the field started to gain strokes at a rapid rate. Jason shot a 38 on the front 9 on Sunday which brought him back to the pack briefly but finished the back nine -3 to finish the tournament at -15 for a 4 shot victory. With all athletes if he can stay healthy it will be fun to watch what he can do and you can expect his name at the top of the leader board in which ever tournament he is playing.