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Twins storylines to start watching today

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Boston Red Sox v Minnesota Twins
Two superstars, and Kyle.
Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images

Who will be the outfielders... and for how long

We know who will open the season as the Twins’s outfielders — Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, Kyle Garlick, Jake Cave, and occasionally Luis Arraez or Willians Astudillo. There are a large number of reasons this won’t last. Alex Kirilloff is number 1a, and Brent Rooker is number 1b. You also have the always-looming threat of a Buxton injury, Kepler in a spring slump, and the fact that Garlick is an unknown waiver claim, and overall, there could be a lot of different configurations to this outfield crew throughout the season. Fortunately, its a case of having plenty of depth, rather than being in the opposite situation, like some teams in our division (like Chicago and Cleveland.)

Wither Randy Dobnak

Again, a question that we have answered for the day, but not for the season. Dobnak will be starting the year in the bullpen, likely as the long reliever and swingman, and the team plans to keep him stretched out, possibly even as a piggyback starter. After a hot start last year, (remember when we were talking about him as a CY and ROY candidate?) He fell off a cliff, was sent to the alternate site at St Paul, and never came back. This season, he has a shiny, new long-term contract, but poor performance could still see him optioned. Conversely, he’s currently the next man in line for a spot in the starting rotation, and with the fragile Matt Shoemaker in front of him, it might not be long before Dobnak steps into the rotation. There is a non-zero chance he’ll run with that opportunity and never let it go.

Return of the Bomba

The Bomba Squad Twins of 2019 set a MLB record for home runs. (Take that, Yankees!) Even though the league claims to have gotten rid of the rabbit-balls they were using in 2019, and deadened the ball for the 2021 season, there is still a chance this offense is special. Eddie Rosario has moved on, but the rest of the key batters from the Bomba Squad are back—plus Josh Donaldson. The story we’ve heard a lot this offseason is that the Twins have a new focus on defense, but the powerful, record-setting offense is still there.

Bullpen breakouts, or busts

As they have in the last few seasons, the Twins will rely on a few proven arms in the bullpen, but more guys they are hoping coming through. A couple of the guys in the former category may have been in the latter in previous seasons, such as Cody Stashak. Relievers being fickle is a baseball truism, so it can be hard to count on guys, and there are some questions even among the most proven Twins relievers. Taylor Rogers and Hansel Robles had a terrible 2020 and are looking to bounce back. Caleb Thielbar and Alex Colome had a great season — both need to prove something its real in 2021. Jorge Alcala needs to show he belongs. Meanwhile, there are a good handful of guys waiting across the river for a chance to break into (or back into) the majors.

Can the curse be broken

The biggest question of all. This team has plenty of talent to win the division, even with strong competition. They’ve proven that by winning the last two titles. But neither of those iterations has managed to win a playoff game. 18 straight games is the only thing Twins-related anyone on a national stage wants to talk about, and will be until the Twins do something about it. I won’t consider this season a success until and unless the Twins win something when it counts.

Poll

What do you believe is the biggest 2021 Twins storyline?

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    The outfield
    (9 votes)
  • 5%
    Randy Dobnak
    (9 votes)
  • 12%
    The offense
    (22 votes)
  • 12%
    The bullpen
    (21 votes)
  • 60%
    Breaking the playoff curse
    (103 votes)
  • 3%
    Something else (tell us in a comment)
    (6 votes)
170 votes total Vote Now