02 04 2017
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You can’t win in the NFL without a top-flight QB. You can’t win in the NHL without a first-rate goalie. And you can’t win in baseball without a strong starting rotation. The popular (and easy) call is that the Twins do not have a contending starting staff. Most likely true (but, see below).

So, if they’re not going to contend why should we watch ’em at all? Here are my top five reasons to watch this year:

  1. Dozier. Gold glove caliber 2B’s who hit 40 HR’s don’t come around often. If Brian minimizes slumps this year he will have the kind of year Twins fans will be privileged to watch.
  2. Buxton. Breaks out this year. It will be eye-popping.
  3. Young hitters. Rosario, Kepler and Polanco can really hit.
  4. Sano. Maybe, just maybe he puts it together. It will be worth watching his progression because if he finds it…
  5. The lineup: no hitter fits into a classic spot in the order (unless Sano grows into the cleanup role). But…big ifs here…if all these young guys hit the offense will be explosive.

 

So then, what should we expect? Contending teams generally start the season with very few “ifs.” They pretty much know who they have and what to expect. Starting in 2015, the Twins have been nothing but ifs, and this year is no different. All of the ifs turned positive in 2015 so they won 83 games. All of the ifs turned negative last year and they won 59. Because the ifs still dominate the spread still looms large–60 to 80 wins. Here’s what has to happen for them to approach 80–and be really fun to watch:

  • Dozier repeats. Buxton breaks out. Kepler and Rosario avoid prolonged slumps. Polanco hits as expected. Sano returns to 2015 level. These things happen, they win 72 games and are competitive every day.
  • Add:Kintzler saves 85%. Santana is Santana. Gibson finds strike zone consistency. Just one of Hughes, Santiago, Mejia pitches better than expected and the Twins will challenge .500 ball.

 

Regardless of assumptions and predictions, the beauty of baseball is: you gotta play it out.

Here we go!

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07 09 2016

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Jul 2, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA;  A general view at Target Field between the Minnesota Twins and the Texas Rangers. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
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