Thursday, March 1, 2012

2012 MLB Preview #6: Minnesota Twins

Greetings all... off to Target Field...


C - Joe Mauer/Ryan Doumit
1B - Justin Morneau
2B - Alexi Casilla
SS - Jamey Carroll
3B - Danny Valencia
LF - Ben Revere
CF - Denard Span
RF - Josh Willingham
DH - Trevor Plouffe/Joe Mauer/Justin Morneau

Interesting lineup construction here. Mauer and Morneau were both once considered to be top-3 at their positions and both are former MVPs, but both have significant injury questions and are being asked to carry this lineup in a way that I'm not sure they're ready for. There's never been a performance question about Mauer, who has always hit whenever he's on the field AND been above-average defensively, but the injury concern is a mighty one. With Morneau, ever since the massive concussion issues, he hasn't hit at nearly the same clip (.618 OPS in 264 ABs last year). Outside of those two, no one really scares you. The Twins spent a ton of money on Josh Willingham, and while he's always mashed at the plate, he hasn't reached 500 ABs in a season in 4 full years. Span and Revere are speed guys who play defense and provide no pop, and the infield outside of Morneau is uninspiring. Danny Valencia did hit 15 homers last year as a rookie, so if there's increased power, they may have something there.

Starting Rotation

1 - Carl Pavano
2 - Francisco Liriano
3 - Scott Baker
4 - Nick Blackburn
5 - Brian Duensing

Good things first. Scott Baker made the leap (finally) last year with a 3.14 ERA/1.17 WHIP season in 21 starts before getting injured, and while he was shut down early, it seems like he's fully healthy. After that? Eh... Carl Pavano does eat innings (223 in 2011), but notched a 4.30 ERA and that's not #1 starter worthy. On paper, "the guy" should be Liriano, but after he blew up to the tune of a 5+ ERA and 1.49 WHIP last year, there are real concerns about whether he'll ever get back NEAR the guy he used to be. Blackburn and Duensing are major league pitchers, but neither is anything more than a semi-serviceable back-of-the-rotation guy. Uninspired.


Matt Capps anchors the back-end in the closer role fresh off a season that saw him get the job (and lose it back) from Joe Nathan. He converted only 15 of 24 saves, but the peripherals were better than that, and he's an average closer. Elsewhere, Minny needs big-time effort from Glen Perkins, Anthony Swarzak, and Scott Diamond. Best of luck.


76-86, 4th in Al Central

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