ESPN “Analyst” Buster Olney Doesn’t See Twins as “Especially Dangerous” in Shortened 2020

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The Major League Baseball season is less than a month away and the Minnesota Twins are primed and ready to, not only repeat as AL Central champs, but to win the 2020 World Series! Don’t tell that to Buster Olney, though.

Twins fans know what this team is capable of. After winning 101 games in 2019 and hitting a league-record 307 home runs, optimism is high. That’s not the case everywhere, though.

This unknown “analyst” named Buster Olney, from a small unproven outlet called ESPN, isn’t even considering the Twins as World Series contenders. Here’s a blip from a blog he recently wrote on the subject. There’s no chance this guy makes it big.


“These are the teams that are especially dangerous in a shortened season: the teams saturated with roster depth and strong bullpens. The Los Angeles Dodgers. The New York Yankees. The Tampa Bay Rays, who should be a favorite among the gamblers.”

Buster Olney on teams he thinks have the best shot at the World Series.

via GIPHY


SO ORIGINAL, BUSTER…

Pandering to the New York and LA markets is real original… and it isn’t going to win this guy (whoever he is) any fans in Minnesota or other starving markets around the country. Ogling over the likes of the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees, and the cute Tampa Bay Rays (just to throw people off the scent) is the most generic of moves.

Reminder: The Rays barely made the playoffs in 2019 and they play in such a dilapidated stadium, you have to walk up stairs just to use a bathroom. Yet, they’re the only “Moneyball” style team that competes regularly. They’re an easy feel good team to toss in there.

To actually place the Rays ahead of the Twins is completely asinine. They have similar odds in Vegas, but are a way better team on paper and play in a division that the AL East would use as toilet paper. Tampa might not even make the playoffs. They have to play half of their 60-game season vs the Yankees, Red Sox and Blue Jays. The Twins might have to worry about 10 games vs Cleveland, if they’re cheap front office stops trading their best pitchers away (they won’t).

THE ODDS TELL THE TRUTH

In fact, since we posted that blog on World Series odds last week, betting sites have started to cool on the Rays. As it stands tonight, the Twins remain where they have been since before the pandemic hit. They have the third best odds (+1600), to win the 2020 World Series (according to PointsBet).

The Rays on the other hand, come in fourth at +2200. That’s a movement of +400. Bettors aren’t stupid (most of them). It’s going to be difficult for Tampa to make the postseason in 2020 and that’s why their line is moving the wrong way (or right way depending on how you look at it).



Olney’s statement, claiming the Rays have a strong bullpen, and backhandedly saying the Twins don’t, doesn’t make sense.

The Rays have a great bullpen! With it being graced by the likes of Diego Castillo and Adam Kolarek. But the Twins were better when it came to the later innings on the mound.

Whether it was Tyler Duffey (5-1, 2.50 ERA, 12.8 K/9, 1.006 WHIP) in the middle innings, Trevor May (5-3, 2.94 ERA, 6.0 H/9, 1.073 WHIP) or Sergio Romo holding leads late or Taylor Rogers (30 SV, 1.000 WHIP, 11.7 K/9) closing the door…. the Twins have a SUPERB bullpen to work with.



Throw in the MLB-ready arms of Devin Smeltzer, Randy Dobnak, and Lewis Thorpe, all of whom can start or throw out of the pen, and you have a very formidable staff. Don’t forget about Homer Bailey, Rich Hill, and Jhoulys Chacin in bullpen roles, if need be.

CAN THE RAYS EVEN MAKE THE PLAYOFFS?

Let’s be honest… when the MLB announced their plan to play a regional schedule, the Rays got fucked. Not only will they have to face off against not the stacked AL East, as mentioned earlier, but they’re NL matchup is one of the most difficult too. The National League East holds the Braves, Mets and reigning champion, Washington Nationals. Those teams hold three of the four best odds, to win the World Series in the National League (according to pointsbet above).



Now sure, this season is going to be more of a sprint than the traditional marathon, but I am SICK of national sports media ignoring the successes Minnesota sports have seen recently. We are no longer ‘flyover country’ and deserve to be discussed in the best possible light.

Come at my, Olney. I didn’t hear no bell.


via GIPHY


Jack Kewitsch | Minnesota Sports Fan

jkewitsch

Edina native and two-time grad of the University of Florida in Sport Management. Previously worked with the Timberwolves and Minnesota United FC along with the Gators.

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