3. Minnesota Twins
Last season, the Minnesota Twins finished a surprising second in the American League Central with an 83-79 record. Although they did not make many moves, their offense may have the most upside in the division.
Even though Joe Mauer still has the name recognition, he has become a shell of his former self, producing a .270/.348/.376 batting line over the past two seasons. Instead, the Twins offense is carried by power hitters Brian Dozier and Trevor Plouffe. Miguel Sano, who could eventually be a forty home run hitter, will have a full major league season. Byung-Ho Park, who hit 105 home runs in the Korean Baseball Organization over the past two years, will be manning first. The Twins lineup could have some serious pop, even with Mauer no longer being the All-Star caliber player he had been.
The biggest question for the Twins will come on the pitching side. Even though the Twins will be getting Ervin Santana back for a full season, he may not be enough. Phil Hughes was below average last season, and the Twins need far more from their second starter. The rest of the rotation hardly inspires any confidence, at least until Jose Berrios is brought up. In the bullpen, Glen Perkins is a solid closer, and Trevor May excelled in a relief role, but the Twins relievers have far more of a contact based approach tha tcan land them in trouble.
If everything goes well for the Twins, they may be able to hit their way into contention and threaten the Kansas City Royals for the American League Central title. However, they need a great deal to go right for that to happen.
Next: Can they hit enough?