The Minnesota Twins won 101 games last season in capturing the AL Central. However, they were swept by the New York Yankees in the American League Division Series.
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Minnesota set an MLB record for home runs in 2019. Not only does the club have a potent lineup, but the Twins have a legit staff as well, ranking ninth last season in team ERA.
The Minnesota Twins recently had a big sigh of relief, as slugger Miguel Sano (34 HR, 79 RBI in 105 games last season) was cleared to join the club after testing positive for COVID-19 earlier in July.
The Twins have a big monkey to get off their back if they make the playoffs. They have lost 16 straight postseason games.
Minnesota Twins 2019 Results
The Twins finished last season with a record of 101-61, the fourth-most wins in the Majors. They finished eight games up on the Cleveland Indians and ranked second, behind the Houston Astros, in runs scored.
The loaded lineup had eight players with at least 22 home runs, and six players had at least 78 RBI.
Minnesota was solid at the plate and on the mound. However, that was not the case in the playoffs, as in getting swept by the Yankees in the ALDS, it was outscored, 23-7.
Five starters for the Minnesota Twins had at least 10 wins, including Jose Berrios (14-8), who led the team with an ERA of 3.68.
Key Additions to Minnesota Twins
The Twins did not stand pat in the offseason. They added Josh Donaldson, Kenta Maeda, Rich Hill, Tyler Clippard, Homer Bailey and Alex Avila.
Donaldson was the big addition, and the team hopes he can stay healthy. After an injury-plagued 2018 season where the 2015 AL MVP only played in 52 games, he bounced back to win NL Comeback Player of the Year, belting 37 home runs and driving in 94 runs to help the Braves win the NL East.
Three of the additions in Maeda, Hill, and Bailey should be the back end of the rotation that lost a few starters. Maeda was the big addition to the staff after going 10-8 with an ERA of 4.04 with the Los Angeles Dodgers last season.
Hill is 40 years old, only started 13 games, and had offseason elbow surgery. Bailey went 13-9 last season with an ERA of 4.57 with the Kansas City Royals and Oakland A’s.
Clippard will be a setup man and was 1-0 with an ERA of 2.90 last season with the Cleveland Indians. He has been well-traveled, as the Twins will be his eighth team since 2015.
While the Twins got some pop in Donaldson, the “Bomba Squad” lost C.J. Cron and Jonathan Schoop, who combined for 47 home runs and 137 RBI. Donaldson will take over for Shoop at the hot corner while Miguel Sano will move to first base with the departure of Cron.
Two of the five starters that won at least 10 games for the Twins last season are gone with the departures of Martin Perez (10-7 5.12 ERA) and Kyle Gibson (13-7 4.84 ERA).
While Perez and Gibson did not post the best ERAs last season, they ranked second and third on the team, respectively, in innings pitched.
Minnesota also lost a couple of relief pitchers in Blake Parker and Matt Magill, who combined for 64 2/3 innings.
The loss of Cron is the big one. In the last two seasons, he belted 55 home runs and had at least 74 RBI each year. While his replacement at first base is Sano, who had bigger numbers last season, his health is an issue, as is Shoop’s replacement in Donaldson.
The Minnesota Twins ranked ninth in the Majors last season in team ERA. Can they repeat that? They have the top two starters back in Berrios (14-8, 3.68 ERA) and Jake Jake Odorizzi (15-7, 3.51 ERA), but the three other starters will likely be the offseason additions.
Michael Pineda won 11 games last season with an ERA of 4.01, though he starts the season on the suspended list.
Berrios led the team, pitching 200 1/3 innings, and he has the stuff to be an ace. However, while solid, his numbers are almost the same for the last three seasons.
Minnesota has some solid young arms in the bullpen with the likes of Taylor Rogers, Randy Dobnak and Tyler Duffey. The team brought back Sergio Ramos after trading him in the middle of last season to the Miami Marlins, where he had 17 saves.
The Twins had a closer-by-committee early in the season before Taylor Rodgers (30 saves) took the role. He and Ramos will likely battle it out to be the main closer, but that is a good thing for Minnesota, since they combined for 50 saves.
While the Twins have issues with the back of the rotation with the three new additions, they have some help in the pipeline. Jhoan Duran, a 22-year old, hits over 100 MPH and has pitched well in the minors. Fellow top prospect Jordan Balazovic may be ready to join the big club.
The “Bomba Squad” teed off on opposing pitchers setting an MLB record for home runs in a season. Nelson Cruz went yard 41 times, Eddie Rosario had 40 home runs and led the team with 109 RBI, and Sano had 34 dingers in only 105 games. Center fielder Max Kepler had 36 home runs and 90 RBI, and all the big guns are back.
The team may miss Cron and Shoop, who both signed with the Detroit Tigers in the offseason. However, the replacements at their positions in Donaldson and Sano combined for 71 home runs and 173 RBI.
The injury bug got to their top hitters with Polanco (153 games) was the only player on the team that played in more than 137 games.
The team has the power but not much speed. The team rarely steals bases waiting for the long ball; Buxton led with only 14 stolen bases while no other player had more than four.
Minnesota Twins’ Three Key Player
The Twins shelled out big bucks — four years, $92 million — Donaldson. In his last three full seasons (2015, 2016, 2019), he averaged 38 home runs and 105 RBI.
In his injury-shortened 2017 season where he played in 113 games, he had 33 home runs and 78 RBI. The club hopes the reigning NL Comeback Player of the Year can duplicate the legit numbers he put up for Atlanta.
Sano has the power but also has had injury issues in his short career. He played in 105 games, hitting 34 home runs with 79 RBI despite being nicked up. In the offseason, he stated that if healthy, he can double last season’s numbers.
It would also help if he cut down on his strikeouts, as in 380 at-bats last season, he fanned 159 times.
Jose Berrios will be the top starter for the Twins, but will this be the year he turns into an ace? He has the stuff and made the All-Star team, as he struck out 195 batters in 200 1/3 innings. He has won 14 games twice in his last three seasons, and 2019 was the first season he pitched over 200 innings.
In this abbreviated season, the Twins will play 60 games, with 40 AL Central games and 20 interleague games facing teams from the NL Central.
Last season, the Minnesota Twins feasted on the three weaker teams in the AL Central, going 41-16 against the Royals, Tigers, and White Sox. However, they were only 9-10 against the Cleveland Indians, who may be their main competition in the division.
Not only did Minnesota have a losing record against the Indians last season, but it was only 8-12 in interleague games.
The Twins’ over/under total is set at 34.5 wins for the MLB regular-season wins odds. If Minnesota can get to the over, that should mean a postseason berth in the expanded playoff field.
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Minnesota began the season with a three-game series in the Windy City to face the Chicago White Sox. The Twins are home for a tough six-game stretch, facing the Indians for four games and the defending NL Central champion St. Louis Cardinals for two.
One key stretch of the season that the Twins need to play well in is from Aug. 22-Sept. 7. In that span, they play five series, with a three-game set in Cleveland being the only one against an opponent that had a winning record.
All of the opponents in that stretch are AL Central ones, and they have eight games against the Tigers, who they went 14-5 against.
The Twins have a daunting lineup and solid staff. Injuries are an issue, but the team is loaded and looks to break its 16-game playoff losing streak.