Know Your Enemy – 2019 Minnesota Twins
78 – 84, 2nd in Central
82 – 80, 2nd in Central
Lucas Duda Joe Mauer (retirement)
Jonathon Schoop Ervin Santana (Free agency)
C.J. Cron Logan Forsythe (Free Agency)
Nelson Cruz Logan Morrison (Free Agency)
The Twins will have a new uniform look this season, the gold trim looks pretty cool, but that’s certainly not the only change the Twinkies made. The Twins started the offseason by parting ways with manager Paul Molitor who had a managerial record of 305-343 over four seasons. Molitor had signed a three-year contract extension in 2017 after leading the Twins to a historic turnaround. The Twins hired Rocco Baldelli to take his place, he is the youngest manager in baseball and is called a better fit for the team and front office. In another change in leadership local hero and Twins legend Joe Mauer rode off into the sunset after the 2018 season after being able to catch one more time. The Twins will also not have Brian Dozier, who was traded to the Dodgers at the deadline last season, for spring training for the first time in a long time. Nelson Cruz and Lucas Duda were added to the team as free agents and will help fill the veteran leadership role.
Some things haven’t changed though, Max Kepler and Jorge Polanco will be around this year and in the future as they just signed new extensions this past offseason. Jose Barrios will still anchor the rotation, followed by last years breakout Kirk Gibson. A big key to this teams success will be the return of former top prospect Byron Buxton who missed all of last season with bad, I mean a foot injury. Miguel Sano is also a key to this teams success, it started off not great though as Sano will be sidelined until May after getting a cut below his Achilles in spring. Jake Cave played all 3 outfield positions last season but will most likely be relegated to fourth outfield duties with the return of Byron Buxton, incumbent left fielder Eddie Rosario and right fielder Max Kepler with fresh money. Buxton should be able to help the pitching staff by being out there with his defense as without him the Twins ranked last in defensive runs saved in the outfield.
PECOTA predicted the Twins to be an 81 win team. That win total may be a tall order, why didn’t they add an established starter? Starters should improve with Gibbons and a healthy Michael Pineda from the 22nd ranked ERA like they had last year, but Dallas Keuchal would be scary in a Twins uniform. Michael Pineda is working to return from Tommy John and meniscus surgery and his knee may now not be healthy enough to make the season opener. National treasure Willians Astudillo is having visa issues and may not be available for the opener against the Indians, and the acquisition of Marwin Gonzalez may possibly make Willians redundant once Sano comes back.
Last year PECOTA projected the team to win 82 games and they fell short by four wins. I think this team will do the same. I think this Twins team will underperform their PECOTA projections too. I don’t trust the Buxton will learn to hit up to his potential and I’m not sure I buy into Miguel Sano’s swing change. Overall this is a high ceiling low floor team and I think they will end up closer to the floor. Maybe an addition to the pitching staff would change that, but I just don’t find this team to be overly special.
There’s a quick look at the Minnesota Twins, please let us know what you think on Twitter @SidedSox. If you liked what you saw feel free to retweet us and tell some friends. We are going to do some really fun stuff with this site as the season goes on and want you to come along for the ride. Email us SoxSided@Gmail.com to ask us a question, tell us what you like or don’t, or what you would like to see our opinions on. Thanks again for reading.