Is Minnesota The AL’s Surprise Team This Year?
The Twins struggled last season after being a surprise Wild Card team in the year prior. They were derailed by injuries last season, which makes them an intriguing case for this season. Minnesota added C.J. Cron and Nelson Cruz to their everyday starting lineup, but also Jonathan Schoop in a prove it one year deal. Getting Byron Buxton back from injury gives them some speed and strong defense, which was something that lacked last season. Overall this is an intriguing team on an offensive side, and the AL Central is wide open in terms of who wants to challenge the Indians. The rotation and bullpen will need to have some guys over perform if they want to truly compete, but they have some upside arms that could do just that. Jose Berrios is leading the staff, and Kyle Gibson has sown better form over the last year or so. They will also get back Michael Pineda at some point this season, but he is a major question mark coming off of surgery. We tend to see a surprise team each season, and Minnesota could be that this year.
How Will Nelson Cruz and C.J. Cron Help The Offense?
We will think of all the left-handed pitching options that get to face a tough right-handed lineup now with Nelson Cruz and C.J. Cron. Both handle them very well, and offer up a lot of power from the right side of the plate. Target Field has been around league average for right-handed power, but plays well in the summer months. If Miguel Sano can bounce back and be a big HR threat, we are looking at one of the more underrated power teams in baseball. Adding in some guys like Jorge Polanco and Eddie Rosario will have men on base for RBI chances. The Twins could end up being a top ten offense this season, and will catch many off guard. They also have the luxury of hitting in one of the worst pitching divisions right now, as Detroit, Chicago, and Kansas City all have bottom ten rotations. Seeing those arms for a healthy portion of their schedule is a major plus.
Can Jose Berrios Hit Another Level?
Jose Berrios is a talented right-hander who hit a groove last season. It took some time, but he has developed into one of the better younger arms in the game. Berrios should be looking for a bit more consistency, and want to close in on 200 innings as a goal. 200 strikeouts would also be a major plus, and give the Twins a true elite starter that seems to be necessary for having success in this league. Minnesota is also in need of having a true workhorse given the rest of their rotation is very up and down. Even if last season is his floor for the next few years, we have a quality arm, but many are challenging him to take another step in his career.