Saturday, March 17, 2018
Minnesota Twins 2018 season preview
In 2017. the Minnesota Twins surprised everybody by making the playoffs in the Wild Card game, by finishing 2nd in the AL Central with an 85-77 record. But, they were eliminated by the New York Yankees in the Wild Card game. With the team now established as contenders, the Twins had some work to do this offseason. Let's take a look at what they did.
Notable additions: RHP Lance Lynn, RHP Addison Reed, RHP Fernando Rodney, RHP Jake Odorizzi, 1B Logan Morrison, LHP Zach Duke, RHP Michael Pineda, OF Jake Cave, INF Erick Aybar, OF Chris Heisey, C Bobby Wilson.
Notable subtractions: RHP Bartolo Colon, RHP Matt Belisle, LHP Hector Santiago, RHP Dillon Gee, DH Kennys Vargas, C Chris Gimenez, LHP Glen Perkins.
What they did well: They had one of the best offseasons in the league with one of the most boring offseasons happening around them. Plus, they got Lynn, Reed and Morrison, who were projected to get big multiyear deals at the beginning of winter, for cheap deals. It was good for them in many ways.
What they did bad: Nothing, really. They just got unsexier with their most notable subtraction.
Sneaky Sleeper: Truthfully one of their best players, Eddie Rosario had an insane season in 2017, with a .290 batting average and 27 homers. But, everyone will always just look at Byron Buxton, and forget about Rosario.
Incoming outbreak:After securing himself the starting SS spot, Jorge Polanco had a decent season, stealing 13 bases, hitting .256 and knocking in 74 batters. The 24 year old can have a big breakout campaign this year.
Unsuspected slump: Despite a really good first year in Minnesota, Phil Hughes' next three seasons, and especially his last two, have been a monstrosity. Hughes hasn't pitched over 60 innings in them, and has an ERA in the 5.80-90 range. Hughes might not even make their rotation.
Astounding ace: In 2017, Ervin Santana showed everyone he was still good. In 211.1 innings, Santana struck out 167, and had a 3.28 ERA. Really, really good for a 35 year old. He's not in my projected rotation due to an injury, but he'll be back eventually.
Blue-chip Bopper: Through his Minnesota days, Brian Dozier has escaped all the trade rumors, and is still in the twin cities today. Dozier hit 34 homers. stole 16 bases and still hit .271. He's baseball's 2nd best 2nd baseman, which is kind of fitting for #2 on the Twins.
Here's the Twins projected roster, starting with their lineup.
CF Byron Buxton (R)
2B Brian Dozier (R)
3B Miguel Sano (R)
LF Eddie Rosario (L)
1B Joe Mauer (L)
DH Logan Morrison (L)
RF Max Kepler (L)
C Jason Castro (L)
SS Jorge Polanco (S)
Here's their rotation
RHP Jose Berrios
RHP Lance Lynn
RHP Jake Odorizzi
RHP Kyle Gibson
LHP Albaderto Mejia
Fernando Rodney (R) is their closer, with Addison Reed (R), Zach Duke (L), Ryan Pressly (R), Taylor Rogers (L), Tyler Duffey (R) and Trevor Hildenberger (R) in the bullpen.
INF Eduardo Escobar (S), C Mitch Garver (R), OF Robbie Grossman (S) and OF Zack Granite (L) are on the bench.
Finally, for my prediction, I think the Twins, a good team, will contend for a Wild Card spot but ultimately miss the playoffs.