In some ways, 2020—especially its ending—was not the greatest season to be a Minnesota Twins fan. Public access to Target Field was denied for the duration, the entire team (save for Nelson Cruz & Kenta Maeda) seemed to underachieve based on 2019 levels, and the playoff losing streak reached new—and more depressing—heights. Having the Trash-stros be the team to end the Twins’ season? The final knife twist.
Yet, there are two primary ways in which the ‘20 squad could—and should—be seen as a rousing success:
- It was the first time in a decade that the Twins strung together consecutive AL Central championships. In fact, it was also the first time since those ‘09-’10 titles that the team simply had two winning seasons in a row.
- In 60 games, the Twins finished 36-24, or a .600 winning percentage. Over the course of a full 162-game campaign, such play would be good for about 97 wins. Considering that, as previously mentioned, nearly every Twin fell off his ‘19 pace, the ability to keep grinding out wins was even more impressive. I may have laid the hammer down on Baldelli a bit of late, but overall he’s been solid at the helm.
A few other angles that should engender hope for the near future:
- Ryan Jeffers looking like a solid backstop if Mitch Garver’s 2019 was a statistical fluke.
- Brent Rooker and Alex Kirilloff putting on the Kasota gold for the first time. Rooker looked great before breaking his wrist, while The Falvine trusted Kirilloff enough to allow his MLB debut in a playoff contest.
- Luis Arraez hitting .321 despite being hobbled all year.
- Matt Wisler and Jorge Alcala being solid—and relatively young—arms out of the pen.
The calendar flip from 2020 to 2021 will likely not bring about magical change in terms of overall baseball—or even world—optimism. There’s no guarantee for when Target Field will be up to full capacity again, or even what baseball will look like season/financial-wise. But through all that uncertainty, the Minnesota Twins have managed to construct an organization and roster that looks reasonably primed for both stability and success in the years to come.
After the malaise of the late-Gardy years and the Paul Molitor rollercoaster ride, two solid seasons in a row is a big step in the right direction for Twins Territory.