As baseball is finally starting(!!!), let’s take a look around the media landscape and see where the Twins fall on the various league power rankings.
“If the season will be determined by which team stays the healthiest, the Twins are in a good position to make a push in the early-going of the sprint to October. Until Byron Buxton sustained a left mid-foot sprain while chasing a fly ball during an intrasquad game last week, the Twins were largely in good shape. Additionally, the significance of Josh Donaldson joining a lineup that was already plenty good without him cannot be stated enough. With so much rotation depth and a lineup that looks to be one of the best in the league, this could be a good year for the Twins.”
MLB.com is pretty high on the Twins, and rightfully so. Following the Dodgers (1), Yankees (2), and Astros (3), the squad is ranked squarely among the top contenders for the Commissioner’s Trophy.
Bleacher Report: #7
“The Twins set an MLB record with 307 home runs as a team last season. So what did they do during the offseason? They went out and signed slugger Josh Donaldson, fresh off a 37-homer, 94-RBI season with the Braves, to a four-year, $92 million contract. They should pile up runs again in 2020—the question is whether they have the pitching to hold off the Indians once again in the AL Central. Veterans Rich Hill and Homer Bailey were signed in free agency and Kenta Maeda was acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers, giving the starting rotation a new look behind Jose Berrios and Jake Odorizzi. The bullpen was largely unchanged besides the addition of Tyler Clippard. They pieced together a productive bullpen last year, and if it holds up again in 2020, they look like the team to beat in the division once again.”
In the lowest ranking among the few we’ll look at, Bleacher Report has the Twins at 7th in the league, with the Nationals, Braves, and Rays ahead of them, as well as the Dodgers, Yankees, and Astros. This ranking feels low to me, as they clearly didn’t look into just how good the Twins’ “pieced-together” bullpen was last year, which was in the very top tier of the league.
The Ringer: #4
“Last year’s Twins were the most prolific home-run-hitting team in baseball history. So what did they do this winter? Added Josh Donaldson to that already hilariously dinger-happy lineup. Hell. Yes.
The biggest question about the Twins, as ever, concerns the pitching staff, which is a substantial weakness compared to the impressive stables of arms in New York, Houston, and Tampa Bay. But the 60-game season could play into Minnesota’s hands. Rich Hill, Kenta Maeda, and (once he comes back from suspension) Michael Pineda have all been absolutely electric in short stints, and manager Rocco Baldelli will have the opportunity to get creative and maximize output from those pitchers, along with swingman types like Devin Smeltzer and Randy Dobnak. Expect fireworks on both sides of the ball, and, if Maeda and Hill can live up to expectations, a possible run at a championship.”
In a ranking that jibes with the MLB.com opinion, the Ringer’s Michael Baumann put the Twins behind the Dodgers, Yankees, and Astros as well. This spot feels like it’s probably the best assessment of the Twins’ place in the league- I would maybe even put them ahead of the Astros, but that could be the bias speaking.
CBS Sports: #5
“The ageless Nelson Cruz is as good a bet as any to lead the league in homers in this sprint. Could he hit 20? He clubbed 41 in 120 games last year. He hit 24 in his last 54 games.”
The Twins come in at a similar spot to the other rankings here, although below different teams. CBS Sports has Oakland at #3 and Tampa at #4, with the Astros falling below the Twins and Braves. While Tampa and the Twins are very close on paper, CBS is far more bullish on the Athletics than any of the other sites.
USA Today: #5
“In case you forgot, the Twins signed Josh Donaldson.”
USA Today is the only outlet I looked at that had enough east coast bias to put the Yankees over the stacked Dodgers for the #1 spot. Aside from that, they pretty much see it the same way as the rest, with the Yankees, Dodgers, and Astros at the top, followed by the Rays and Twins.
The Twins are clearly considered to be among the top teams in the league, if not on the same level as the top few title contenders. All that’s left is to play the games!