Tuesday, February 26, 2013

2013 MLB Preview #28: Minnesota Twins

Greetings! We're back with the used-to-be-interesting Minnesota Twins!

Projected Starters - Joe Mauer (C), Justin Morneau (1B), Jamey Carroll (2B), Pedro Florimon (SS), Trevor Plouffe (3B), Josh Willingham (LF), Aaron Hicks (CF), Chris Parmalee (RF), Ryan Doumit (DH)

Let's start with the positive. They have a really nice collection of middle-of-the-order bats... when they're actually on the field. Joe Mauer is still the 2nd-best catcher in all of MLB (behind Buster Posey), and he's actually coming off of a year where had 641 plate appearances. He's a 5-6 WAR player when he's healthy and a fantastic cornerstone guy despite being violently overpaid. After that, Josh Willingham is a proven slugger who slugged .524 last year (in a pitcher's park) and hit 35 home runs. Justin Morneau isn't near the player that he was pre-concussion, but he showed signs last year. The reason that Minnesota's offense is scheduled to take a step back this year, however, is the loss of both of their table setters. Denard Span (and his nearly 4 WAR last year) and Ben Revere have departed in favor of the completely unproven duo of Aaron Hicks and Chris Parmalee. Yikes. Ryan Doumit could be a nice X-factor, but his really value would come if he could catch (he can't) and he's probably just league-average if he's playing 1st base or DH-ing. It's not a disaster here, but they're going to need a lot from Aaron Hicks and he's never touched the field in a MLB game.

Projected - Vance Worley, Brian Duensing, Kevin Correia, Scott Diamond, Liam Hendriks/Mike Pelfrey

This is the problem. No Minnesota pitcher reached even 3 WAR last season, and they've done nothing to upgrade the rotation. Vance Worley was brought in as the return for Ben Revere, and while he's actually pitched reasonably well, he's never reached even 140 innings in a season. Duensing, Correia, and Diamond are all in the mold of a low-end (aka 4th or 5th) starter, and none of those guys have even the slightest tick of upside. Hendriks was an abomination last year in his 16 starts (5.57 ERA, 1-8 record) and he'll be pushed by former Met Mike Pelfrey. It's not pretty.

Projected - Glen Perkins (closer), Jared Burton, Alex Burnett, Anthony Swarzak, Casey Fien, Josh Roenicke

They lost Matt Capps! I'm being sarcastic because, well, Matt Capps isn't a very good pitcher, but let's move on. Glen Perkins produced the 3rd-best WAR on the team despite pitching just 70 innings (lol), but he's actually very good. He struck out 9.98 batters per 9 innings and posted a 2.56 ERA while pitching in mostly high-leverage spots, and there's no reason to expect that to decline. After that, however, is a giant pile of question marks. Minnesota has gone ultra-cheap, and that can be seen in the bullpen.


In a bad division (after Detroit), I guess it's possible that Minnesota could put it together and semi-compete, but I don't see it. With the low-impact rotation that they'll trot out, there's really no upside, and they'd need their bullpen and lineup to be outstanding to have a chance. It's time to develop some arms and/or spend some money to take advantage of the prime of Joe Mauer and company. Remember when they opened Target Field and there was that revenue influx?


65-97, 5th in AL Central

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