To lead you into the MLB season Stoop Sports’ MLB staff is embarking on a 30 day journey, where we will give you pre-season profiles of all thirty teams. Each writer was given the artistic liberty to format their previews to their liking. Enjoy, and happy spring training!
After another dismal season for the Twins, one can only hope that 2013 will bring positive change to this struggling franchise. During the offseason, Minnesota lost quality players in outfielders Ben Revere and Denard Span, in addition to RHP Scott Baker. However, they brought in a lot of pitching help of which they desperately needed. It’s up to Joe Mauer and the crew to get back on track as they take another step towards becoming competitors again.
Looking at their offense, Joe Mauer is still their leading man as their most consistent hitter. Last season, Mauer compiled a .319 batting average, 10 homeruns, and 85 RBIs. Mauer has always been known to hit over .300 year in and year out, and I don’t think this year will be any different. The former MVP is one of the game’s best offensive catchers. As great as Mauer is, the Twins have another former MVP in 1B Justin Morneau who’s backtracked a bit in recent years. After injury plagued seasons in both ’10 and ’11, Morneau finally got close to full health last year, playing in 134 games. However, he put up a measly .267 average, along with 19 homeruns, and just 77 RBI. For a former All-Star talent such as Morneau, it’s sad how much of a drop off in production he’s had. The first step for him is to continue to stay healthy, but if he can’t hit at least .275 this season, it may be time for the Twins to part ways with him.
Also, expect OF Josh Willingham to continue to be the powerhouse behind this Minnesota line up. His 35 homers last year led the team by a wide margin. His power is such a key part of this Twins offense, and he is their biggest asset in terms of knocking in runs. He can definitely bang out another year of 30 homeruns, but in order for this team to be a playoff contender they will need to acquire another prominent power bat In the near future.
The biggest issue surrounding the Twins is their starting pitching. They were at a disadvantage when they lost Scott Baker this offseason, who before missing all of 2012 had been one of the team’s most consistent starters. However, they brought in some much needed help to fill some of their holes. They went out and got guys Mike Pelfrey, Alex Meyer, Kevin Correia, and Vance Worley to help develop a foundation for their rotation. I’ll admit most of these guys still need a lot of work, along with the staff they already had, but these acquisitions are a step in the right direction. I don’t see 2013 being a great year for the Twins as far as pitching is concerned, but in around two years they could have a well-developed young core of guys in the rotation. This all hinges on whether or not this organization can develop these players fully to help maximize their talents.
I’m sorry to say that the pitching woes continue into the bullpen as well. In my opinion, relievers Glen Perkins and Jared Burton are the only legit guys out of the pen for the Twins. They were both able to post ERA’s well under 3.00 last season, showcasing their reliability to come in and do their jobs late in games. As far as the rest of the staff goes, these guys are it. They also desperately need a dominant closer at the back end like they used to have in Joe Nathan. Plain and simple, Minnesota has absolutely no shot of competing until they completely revamp this pen.
It’s such a shame to see a once playoff-caliber team two years ago, fall into such despair. Hopefully the Twins can muster something up in 2013, but I honestly it would be a miracle.
68-94, 5th place in the AL Central.