By now, Twins fans are used to the hype surrounding the Chicago White Sox.
But the baseball world at large knows that the Twins are good, right? Doesn’t everyone know that 2020 turned up some fluky results, from injuries impacting the likes of Josh Donaldson, Jorge Polanco, and Jake Odorizzi to massive regressions, including key offensive contributions Polanco, Mitch Garver, and Max Kepler?
Oh, what’s that? The baseball world is distracted by another shiny new thing? Color me shocked.
Indeed, MLB.com’s panel of 100 (!) “experts” concluded that your Minnesota Twins are not a playoff team. Unfortunately, there are no full voting results published, so we can’t find out who these so-called experts are, and in turn determine who should receive the wrath of a vicious, collective, booing-AJ-Pierzynski-sized grudge from Twins Territory.
The White Sox, of course, were selected as the division winner. The Twins weren’t so much as mentioned in the paragraph accompanying the crowd-sourced prediction and in the absence of a vote total, we’re informed that the Whities were the “clear choice” to win the AL Central.
Could Chicago win the division? Absolutely. Are they the clear choice? No. Unequivocally, no.
We’ve already covered how much the prediction models love the Twins. While the FanGraphs playoff odds have decreased slightly for Minnesota, they still have the third-best chance of making the postseason of any team in the American League.
Yes, that means ahead of Tampa Bay and Toronto, who are both listed as Wild Card-winners in this insane prediction piece. Of course, it’s inexplicable that the good folks at MLB have both Wild Card teams coming from the AL East, but... — oh, wait. Scratch that. I’m now being told that this isn’t a surprise and should have been expected. In fact, it’s a bit of a shock that the projected winner of the AL Central winner isn’t Boston.
At any rate, there are only three AL teams and three NL teams with greater playoff odds than the Twins. There’s a reason the prediction models love the Twins, and it’s multi-fold: it’s largely the same team that just won the last two division titles, the offense wasn’t good by almost any measure last year and will obviously be better, and hey ... what if we finally get a full(ish) season from Byron Buxton?
But none of that matters, of course. The White Sox are the Flavor of Spring Training, and the AL East is the Flavor of Every Week.