The Minnesota Twins are coming off a rough 103-loss season, but get to start 2017 with new hires in the front office. Derek Falvey was brought in as president of baseball ops, and former Texas Rangers general manager Thad Levine was hired as Minnesota’s GM. Upon inheriting the second most team losses in baseball over the past six seasons, the Twins are finally embracing the analytics side of the game, hoping to turn this franchise around towards postseason glory. The timeframe in which this could occur is somewhat unclear, but the drive and talent is certainly there. Minnesota’s rotation is led by Ervin Santana, a 34-year old right-handed veteran who has two years left on his contract, most likely followed by Hector Santiago, a former Angels’ pitcher who struggled late last season, but should return to form in 2017. Kyle Gibson, and veteran Phil Hughes, who sat out last season due to a broken leg and surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome, will fill out spots three and four. The last pitching slot should go to one of three right handers; Tyler Duffey, Jose Berrios or Trevor May. In the Twins’ bullpen, veteran Brandon Kintzler was solid as a closer last season and should remain in that role, as three-time All-Star Glen Perkins works his way back from shoulder surgery. Ryan Pressley and Taylor Rogers appear to be set-up guys with hard-throwing right-handers J.T. Chargois and
Michael Tonkin also projected to get some work out of the bullpen. Brian Dozier has been averaging 28 home runs since changing from shortstop to second base, and is skillful when it comes to defense. However, the 30-year old has been named in a lot of trade talk this offseason so has the potential to be dealt at any point throughout the 2017 season. Switch-hitting shortstop Jorge Polanco excels at the plate, but tends to have difficulty with his arm. Byron Buxton finished out 2016 playing very impressive defense at center field, while out in left, Eddie Rosario struggled somewhat in his sophomore outing. Those two will be joined by right-fielder Max Kepler, who may share some time at the plate with Robbie Grossman, due to Kepler’s trouble handling lefty pitchers. Veteran Jason Castro signed a three-year, $24.5 million deal with the Twins this offseason, and will vastly improve the catcher position over both Kurt Suzuki and Juan Centeno, who tended to struggle behind the plate.
With a new front office calling the shots, this Twins team is out to change the losing culture in Minnesota, and move forwards towards legitimate contention. It should be a really exciting time for this squad, so be sure to secure your Minnesota Twins tickets and come on out to support these guys throughout the 2017 season. You won’t want to miss out on the fun!
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.