2021 Preview: Minnesota Twins
Welcome to the final few weeks before opening day! I hope you have been enjoying spring training as much as I have. Baseball is close! I am overjoyed! March began the official Ball Boy Blog previews of all 30 teams. The previews feature all the Free Agent signings, trades, NRI, bold predictions, and some cool fun facts at the end! We are starting at the top of the 2020 ranks and working our way down from best to worst! Enjoy!
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AL Team: Minnesota Twins(Bombas Squad)
Last Year Record: 36-24 finished first in the AL Central and lost in the WC round of the playoffs
Record x2.7: 97.2-64.8
Vegas Projected: Vegas has the Twins to win 88.5G. I am taking a four-game over. I have the Twins projected to finish 2nd in the Central with 92W.
RHRP Trevor May(FA), Rich Hill(FA), C Alex Avila(FA), OF Eddie Rosario(non-tendered), RHP Matt Wisler(non-tendered), UTL Marwin Gonzalez(non-tendered), UTL Ehire Adrianza(non-tendered), RHP Tyler Wells(Rule 5), OF Akil Baddoo(Rule 5)
Free Agent Signings:
DH Nelson Cruz- Was resigned to a 1yr $13mil deal.
RHRP Alex Colome- In 2020, he owned a below-average 9.2%BB rate and above-average 52.4% ground ball rate.
SS Andrelton Simmons- The 4x Gold Glover winner owns a career .269/.317/.379. The move gives manager Rocco Baldelli some extra roster flexibility, with Jorge Polanco moving to 2B and Luis Arraez becoming an INF utility man.
SP JA Happ- In his 1741.1IP, he owns a 3.98ERA and a 20.9%K to 8.4% walk rate in that time—great signing for the Twins. Happ will make an excellent inning eater behind Maeda, Berrios, and Pineda.
RHP Hansel Robles- Robles had a 2020 season to forget, posting a 10.26ERA over 16.2IP. However, the 2018 track record of 2.97ERA over 36.1IP and the 2019 breakout of 2.48ERA, 23saves over 72.2IP.
RHP Shaun Anderson- Anderson owned a 5.17ERA over 111.1IP with the Giants.
OF Kyle Garlick- During time over the last MLB seasons, he owns a .214/.276/.414 slash line over 76PA with the Dodgers and Phillies. Originally a 28th-round pick for the Dodgers in the 2015 draft, Garlick hit a very impressive .288/.345/.536 over 1846 PA in the Los Angeles farm system.
RHRP Ian Hamilton- Hamilton has appeared in 12IP with 6ER, 10H, 7BB, and 9K with the White Sox over the last three seasons.
UTL Andrew Romine- The 35yo only played in two games in 2020, with the Rangers getting two doubles in 4PA. Through 1327PA in parts of the last ten seasons, the switch-hitter owns a .235/.291/.301 slash line.
OF Keon Broxton- Broxton offers the most versatility in the OF, where he is known for his defense. He has 20DRS, 9.7UZR over 349G in the grass. Since 2018 he owns a .170/.253/.312 slash over 317PA with a 41.6K%.
RHP Derek Law- The details of the agreement are not known as of 11/25. Law was apart of the Rangers 60-man player pool but didn't play in 2020. In 2019 with the Blue Jays Law posted a 4.90ERA/4.85FIP, 9.9 K/9, 5.9 BB/9 over 60.2IP
UTL Tzu-Wei Lin- over 218PA in the MLB, the 27yo has slashed .223/.298/.316 in his 101 games. Lin can pay anywhere on the field and help provide the Twins with an option now that Marwin Gonzalez and Ehire Adrianza are no longer with the Twins.
LHP Danny Coulombe- In 2019, he posted a 50% ground ball rate at the AAA level with 61K over 36.1IP. In 146IP at the MLB level, the 31yo owns a 4.19ERA/4.10FIP in his career. Fascinating depth piece
RHP Juan Minaya- The 30yo didn't pitch in 2020, but over the last four seasons prior with the White Sox, he has a 3.93ERA/4.18FIP with 10K/9 over 128.1IP.
UTL JT Riddle- Riddle owns a career .222/.261/.355 slash line. The below-league average offensive numbers could potentially hold him back from making the MLB roster.
C Tomas Telis, INF/OF Rob Refsnyder, RHP Glenn Sparkman, RHP Luke Farrell, LHRP Andrew Albers RHP Robinson Leyer, RHP Chandler Shepherd, LHP Brandon Waddell
LHP Caleb Thielbar, RHP Tyler Duffey, C Mitch Garver, OF Byron Buxton, LHP Taylor Rogers, SP Jose Berrios
RHP Jordan Balazovic, RHP Bailey Ober, C Ben Rorivedy
Returning from IL:
INF Nick Gordon, INF Travis Blankenhorn, RHP Edwar Colina, OF Gilberto Celestino, LHP Devin Smeltzer, RHP Dakota Chalmers, RHP Jhoan Duran, OF Brent Rooker, LHP Lewis Thorpe, 3B Josh Donaldson, RHp Jorge Alcala, OF LaMonte Wade Jr.
-RHP Jordan Balazovic from the Twins is your Rookie of the Year in the AL Central. Yes, he has yet to pitch above the A level, but with a career 3.32ERA over 227.2IP and the Twins needs for a back of the rotation piece. Why not? He had his contract selected, he will be in camp, and I see no reason why not.
-I am also watching to see how Jake Cave and Brent Rooker look this spring and into the season. Both are very talented athletes, and both can significantly impact the starters' regular off days.
Fantasy Impact Players
Pitchers- Kenta Maeda, Jose Berrios, Michael Pineda, Taylor Rodgers, Alex Colome
Position: DH Nelson Cruz, C Mitch Garver, 1B Miguel Sano, 2B Jorge Polanco, 3B Josh Donaldson, SS Andrelton Simmons, OF Byron Buxton
Upcoming 2022 Free Agents:
The Twins are all in for 2020 as their window may be closing in the AL Central. Nelson Cruz, Andrelton Simmons, Michael Pineda, J.A. Happ, Hansel Robles, Matt Shoemaker are all free agents, which means the club will have choices to make come the deadline.
Storylines to follow
-I feel like anyone who follows the Twins knows who Royce Lewis is; it's regrettable that the young SS tore his ACL and won't be on the field at any level for the Twins 2021. However, the high work ethic and prospect pedigree should help Lewis get back on the MLB club field in 2022.
-Randy Dobnak, aka Do-it-all Dobnak, is willing to do whatever it takes for the team. If that means rotation, bullpen, MLB, or AAA, he will do whatever it takes for the team to win.
-The NRI to watch on the club is OF Keon Broxton. To go along with Buxton in the OF, the fleet-footed Broxton would give the Twins another excellent defensive piece. He does have 20DRS in 349 games played in the OF. However, he isn't great with the bat in his hands, and much like Sano strikes out way too much.
-The AL Central is loaded with top-tier pitchers. Bieber won it last year, and the trio of Lynn, Keuchel, Giolitto will win the White Sox a ton of games. I think the real Cy Young winner is a member of the Twins. It's not Jose Berrios, but it's close. It's Kenta Maeda. After a 2nd place finished in the Cy Young in 2020, Maeda was dominant on the hill. With an improved bullpen behind him, a better offense/defense behind him. I think he will build off his 2020 and could win it in 2021.
-The breakout is coming for OF Jake Cave. Injuries have slowed the now 28yo Cave to this point in his career. But looking at the 113AB in 2020, which he posted a .221/.285/.389 slash line in isn't encouraging. It was 2020 and a weird season. Go back to 2019 when he posted a .805OPS over his 228PA, and you have a great player. Barring and health setbacks, Cave will be fantastic in 2021.
-The rebound needs to come to 1B Miguel Sano. Sano is a great slugger, as we have seen in recent seasons. But when you hit 13HR and post a 0.0WAR and .757OPS because you lead the MLB in strikeouts. It is not a good look. Sano's problem has always been the strikeouts that have held him back. The Twins window is closing on them to run the AL Central. Sano needs to step up and prove his worth.
Minnie and Paul, of course! The logo represents Minneapolis, and St. Paul was getting together to support a baseball team. That's defined by the two of them shaking hands over the Mississippi River.
After Metropolitan Stadium, where did the Twins play?
Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome was the MN Twins' home from April 6, 1982, until 2009.
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