30 in 30ish: MLB Preview — Minnesota Twins

Over the course of 30 days (or so) I will be previewing all 30 MLB teams, followed by an overall season prediction post, leading up to the start of the 2015 season. This post is previewing the Minnesota Twins.

The Twins haven’t won more than 70 games since 2010, and that sub-.500 streak is probably going to continue this season. The team doesn’t have many stars other than 1B Joe Mauer — a former American League MVP who has spent his entire career with the team — but former Twin OF Torii Hunter, who spent the first several years of his career in Minnesota before leaving following the 2007 season, has returned to the team through free agency.

The Twins’ offense wasn’t as bad as you might expect last year considering their 70-92 record. They were middle-of-the-pack in the AL with a .254 batting average, but their .713 OPS and 4.41 runs per game were each fifth-best in the league, The team was lacking in power, though; 128 home runs were the fifth-fewest in the AL. Pitching is what really hurt the team last year. The staff’s 4.57 ERA and 1031 strikeouts were both worst in the AL.

Other than Hunter, the team didn’t have any big acquisitions in the offseason. The biggest hope the Twins have for improvement is for the team’s young players, like OFs Oswaldo Arcia and Aaron Hicks, to get better as they gain more experience at the major league level and boost the team’s performance. On the pitching side, SP Phil Hughes continues to be the team’s No. 1 starter coming off one of the best seasons of his career last year, his first season with the Twins.

While the Twins may improve their record a little this season as the young players mature and get better, I think any improvement would be minimal and 75 wins would be a best-case scenario for them, which is likely going to keep them in last place in the AL Central. It’s a tough division and I feel like the Twins are still a couple years away from being competitive with the likes of the Tigers and the Royals.

Source: http://www.minnesotatwins.com, http://www.baseball-reference.com

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