The various projection systems have the Twins winning about 83 games or so and winning the division by maybe 2-5 games. But come on, it's spring! Any decent Twins fan aims higher than that.
So here's my best shot at convincing myself that the Twins will win 100 games. If you input the following into a projection system, you'll project the Twins at about 100 wins, making them the best team in baseball. Here's how I made it work:
Joe Mauer puts up a .975 OPS. Easy, he put up 1.031 last year.
Morneau puts up .950. He was on pace to blow by that around the All-Star break before injuries kicked in last year.
Kubel gives us .875. Again, piece of cake since he hit .908 last year.
Cuddyer .850. Down from .862 last year. Simple if he avoids a slow start like last year.
Thome .850. Essentially what he did last year and way below his career averages.
Span .825. Just a whisker better than his career average.
Hardy .815. About what he did 2007-08.
Young .815. A solid, if not spectacular breakout.
Baker gives us an ERA of 3.80. Right between 2008 and 2009.
Blackburn 4.25. Actually worse than the last two years.
Pavano 4.25. Good, but nothing flashy.
Slowey 3.75. A career best, but not by that much. Basically does what we know he's capable of.
Liriano 3.75. I could go nuts here, but no need. He won't be 2006 Liriano, but he'll be good.
Neshek quickly settles into the closer role and puts up a strong, if not-quite Nathan-like 3.00 ERA.
Slama boots Condrey from the bullpen and pitches to a 4.00 ERA.
Ok, that's it. Everyone else performs right in line with projections. No need for a magical return of Even-Year Punto or a breakout from Casilla, Harris, Valencia, or the backup catcher of your choice. Hudson delivers, but doesn't impress. Guerrier, Mijares, Rauch, and Crain all put up mediocre ERAs around 4. (no injuries too, but my model doesn't count on injuries to any of the other teams either)
Easy, right? This team would score about 880 runs (best in MLB) and allow 684 (8th). We'd win the division by about 25 games, and Ozzie would say all sorts of colorful things about us. What do you think?