Monday, March 20, 2017
Minnesota Twins 2017 season preview
With a record of 59-103, the Minnesota Twins were last in the AL Central, 35.5 GB of the first place Cleveland Indians. The Twins were also last in the MLB, being the only team to lose 100+ games in 2016. You can tell GM Thad Levine had a lot of work to do in the offseason. Let's look at what Levine did.
Key additions: Cs Jason Castro, Chris Gimenez, RPs Matt Belisle, Craig Breslow, SS Ehire Adrianza, OFs Drew Stubbs, J.B. Shuck, 1B Ben Paulsen, SPs Ryan Vogelsong, Nick Tepesch.
Key subtractions: 3B Trevor Plouffe, Cs Kurt Suzuki, Juan Centeno, OF Logan Schafer, RPs Tommy Milone, Pat Light.
Biggest move: When it comes to catchers, the Twins are normally at the bottom of the list in terms of skill. They improved their catching by signing C Jason Castro to a 3 year, $24.5 million deal. Castro is an ok catcher, but at least he's better than last year's catcher, Kurt Suzuki. He has double digit homers in each of his last 4 seasons, but his career average (.232) is pretty awful.
X-factor: The 23 year old Miguel Sano is a top 2 hitter for the Twins. He's been playing RF a lot in his short MLB career, and hit 25 HRs last season in 437 ABs. With Trevor Plouffe out of town, Sano can move to his natural position of 3B. Maybe that can make him more comfortable, because he's an important part of this team.
Biggest bounce back: An injury kept former elite closer Glen Perkins out for almost the entire 2016 season. He had an ERA of 9.00 in his 2 innings. But it looks like Perkins is out of his closing job. If he performs really well in a set-up role, Perkins can regain that job.
Biggest breakout: 22 year old prospect Jose Berrios was expected to have a breakout 2016 season, well, despite a 2.51 ERA in 111.1 IP for Rochester (AAA), Berrios had a horrid 8.02 ERA in 58.1 IP for the Twins. If Berrios can get things together in the MLB, he can develop into their ace soon.
Guaranteed star: In 2016, 2B Brian Dozier set career highs in HRs (42), RBIs (99) and average (.268). He's also a steal threat, with 18 of them in 2016. Expect similar numbers in 2017.
The Twins' lineup should look like this.
1. CF: Byron Buxton
2. 1B: Joe Mauer
3. 2B: Brian Dozier
4. 3B: Miguel Sano
5. DH: Kennys Vargas
6. LF: Eddie Rosario
7. SS: Eduardo Escobar
8. RF: Max Kepler
9. C: Jason Castro
Their rotation will probably be this.
1. Kyle Gibson
2. Phil Hughes
3. Tyler Duffey
4. Jose Berrios
5. Ervin Santana
SS Jorge Polanco, C John Ryan Murphy and LF Danny Santana will be on the bench.
Brandon Kintlzer will be their closer, with Glen Perkins and Ryan Pressly setting him up.
Finally, for my prediction, I think the Minnesota Twins will be horrible in 2017, but contenders in a few years.