Don’t get me wrong. The Minnesota Twins aren’t sniffing the World Series anytime soon. For starters, they haven’t done nearly enough to improve their pitching staff and bolster their bullpen. They have, however, made significant upgrades to their offense. An offense that could be as dominant an offense as we’ve seen since the Twins of the late ’80s and early ’90s.
How do we win the division, you ask? Hey, I get it. Cleveland is a solid squad. Last season alone, four of their five starting pitchers topped 200 strikeouts. For comparison sake, the Minnesota Twins have had just eight pitchers reach that milestone in franchise history. Yikes.
But Cleveland’s offense is rather pedestrian once you look beyond Francisco Lindor and José Ramírez—both of whom will be starting the season on the Injured List. What’s more, key departures include Yonder Alonso, Michael Brantley, Josh Donaldson, Edwin Encarnación and Andrew Miller, among others. Worse yet? All signs point to Leonys Martín, Tyler Naquin and something called Jordan Luplow manning their outfield. I can damn near guarantee that’s the worst outfield in all of baseball. I’m not even going to research it. Because I know it to be true.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Pitching wins games. And Cleveland’s pitching will assuredly remain dominant. But I expect a fair amount of regression across the board—most notably from the likes of Trevor Bauer. Plus, he’s a total cheesedick. So there’s that. We could talk about Corey Kluber’s velocity declining for five straight seasons. But I’d rather talk about our squad. A squad positioned to dethrone the king of the Central.
Now, I’m not saying the Twins win 100+ games and run away with the division. Let’s set the record straight: I’m not a complete homer. And unlike many of my fellow Twinkie Towners, I believe Joe Mauer is criminally overrated. But I digress. What I’m trying to say is this: the Twins staff will be competitive enough, and their offense will put them over the top in the AL Central.
So what should we expect from this year’s ball club?
2019 Record: 94-68, 1st in AL Central
1. Max Kepler, RF: .267 AVG 78 R 27 HR 67 RBI 9 SB
2. Jorge Polanco, SS: .276 AVG 74 R 18 HR 69 RBI 17 SB
3. Nelson Cruz, DH: .271 AVG 82 R 36 HR 103 RBI 0 SB
4. Eddie Rosario, LF: .293 AVG 92 R 31 HR 91 RBI 10 SB
5. C.J. Cron, 1B: .261 AVG 60 R 27 HR 73 RBI 1 SB
6. Jonathan Schoop, 2B: .270 AVG 77 R 26 HR 85 RBI 3 SB
7. Marwin González, 3B/UTIL: .267 AVG 65 R 15 HR 74 RBI 6 SB
8. Jason Castro, C: .218 AVG 39 R 8 HR 36 RBI 0 SB
9. Byron Buxton, CF: .257 AVG 70 R 16 HR 55 RBI 31 SB
NOTABLE BENCH PLAYERS
Miguel Sanó, 3B/1B/DH: .247 AVG 60 R 24 HR 70 RBI 0 SB
Jake Cave, OF: .271 AVG 35 R 7 HR 43 RBI 4 SB
Willians Astudillo, C/3B/2B/OF/DH/Sex Symbol: .297 AVG 42 R 9 HR 50 RBI 1 SB
Tyler Austin, 1B/OF/DH: .242 AVG 33 R 9 HR 37 RBI 0 SB
José Berríos, RHP: 18 W 203 K 3.59 ERA 1.14 WHIP
Kyle Gibson, RHP: 12 W 178 K 3.97 ERA 1.38 WHIP
Jake Odorizzi, RHP: 16 W 170 K 3.45 ERA 1.24 WHIP
Michael Pineda, RHP: 11 W 169 K 4.13 ERA 1.21 WHIP
Martin Pérez, LHP: 12 W 117 K 4.43 ERA 1.49 WHIP
Clearly missing is the relief corps. It remains to be seen who will be closing out games for the Twins as they have five viable candidates. Trevor May seems like the favorite. But Blake Parker is in the mix. One could argue that Taylor Rodgers, Trevor Hildenberger and Addison Reed will all get looks this year, too. I lean toward letting May or Rodgers have a go at it. The good thing is, the Twins have options. The worst case scenario? La Tortuga works the ninth. I guess I could live with that.
How many games will the Twins win?
This poll is closed