With a beefed up AL Central, the Minnesota Twins will be hoping to bridge the gap and make legitimate improvements in 2016. Their roster is young and talented and this club should find themselves with a chance for a Wild Card spot come October. In just his first season with the Twins, pitching coach Neil Allen assisted the rotation in going from dead last in ERA to 16th overall in MLB in 2015. Back from an 80-game suspension due to steroid use, Ervin Santana will be joined by Kyle Gibson and a healthy Phil Hughes along with sophomore Tyler Duffey in the rotation. As far as the bullpen is concerned, Kevin Jepsen filled the void left by injured Glen Perkins last year and posted a career high 15 saves. Those two, along with Trevor May and journeyman Casey Fein make a formidable group of relievers and closers. Second baseman Brian Dozier, who is now under contract for another three seasons will not only lend his All Star skills to the position but also provide leadership to this young roster. After two consecutive years as a fill-in at shortstop, Eduardo Escobar has done enough to earn the starting nod from the start in 2016. Minnesota’s outfield is a bit up in the air at the start
of spring training with the retirement of right fielder Torii Hunter and the loss of Aaron Hicks at center via a trade with the Yankees. Despite coming off his worst season, catcher Kurt Suzuki is extremely durable and will remain behind the plate while the Twins groom former Yankee John Ryan Murphy to eventually take over the position.
Although the AL Central division as a whole has been elevated in recent years, the Twins are right there in the mix and with some luck health-wise should find themselves in contention for a Wild Card berth in the American League. Fans should be sure to secure their Minnesota Twins tickets early so that they don’t miss out on the excitement bound to take place all summer long.
The Minnesota Twins franchise line reads 3 World Series, 6 American League Pennants, and 13 postseason appearances. Most of these came after moving from Washington to Minneapolis. As the Senators, the club endured a challenging existence, rarely posting a winning record and competing in the American League. The move north and west was a fortunate one.
They arrived with Harmon Killebrew, Jim Kaat, and Camilo Pascual on the roster. The impressive mix of hitting and pitching took the now Minnesota Twins to the World Series in 1965. There they lost to the Dodgers. Minnesota returned to the postseason later in the decade, but they caught the Baltimore Orioles during their Golden Age and were swept in both ALCS.
World Series wins would come, but a couple decades later. The first Twins win came in 1987. This club had four hitters with more than 30 homeruns in the batting order. Kirby Puckett was most well rounded of those four hitters, leading the team with a .332 batting average and a .367 OBP. The starting rotation had three solid players, the best of which was Frank Viola, who won 17 games with a 2.90 ERA and 197 strikeouts. This group barely took the AL West, but they easily dispatched the Tigers in the ALCS and beat the Cardinals in a full-seven series World Series.
Minnesota returned in 1991. Puckett remained the focal point of the offense, though Chili Davis, Kent Hrbak, and Shane Mack certainly helped make the Twins batting order one of the most feared in the American League. The starting rotation was equally as dominant, with Jack Morris, Scott Erickson, and Kevin Tapani. This Twins roster was much better than the World Series team four years earlier. The club took out the Blue Jays in five games in the ALCS and met the Braves in the Fall Classic. The Twins once again took seven games in the World Series, but they also won. Minnesota has yet to return to this series, but the club has been competitive in the years since.