Are the Twins really going to be 15-20 games better this year, despite not doing a whole hell of a lot in the offseason? Both these numbers take into account that it’s statistically unlikely for the Twins to be as historically bad and unlucky as they were in a 59-win 2016, especially with a young-ish, improving lineup. In theory, a Buxton-ified outfield will make a suspect defense better, too.
At the same time, they also take into account Hector Santiago starting every fifth day, and a bullpen that is as unproven/untested as any in recent Twins memory. And Vegas is trying to tempt bettors into putting the rent money on roughly equal sides of that number. But that number is still a 15.5 game improvement over last season.
It speaks to the lowered expectations of the fan base that a below-average, 75-win season (which would have heads rolling in Boston, St. Louis, etc.) would make you a handsome profit in the sportsbook, inspire your children to become professional gamblers, and also be hailed as a solid improvement at the end of the year. The landslide of “Twins: Playoffs in 2018?” speculation would smother us all. After all, if they improve by another 16 games...
But my goodness: Everything in me is screaming to take the under. Am I wrong? I want to be wrong.
NOTE: Check LaVelle’s Twitter feed. He’s also skeptical, and he’s as plugged in as anyone. (He also has watched more bad baseball five of the last six years than is probably healthy, and is understandably jaded.)