Minnesota Twins 2011 Preview

2010 Record: 94-68

2011 Projected Roster

  • Catchers: Joe Mauer, Drew Butera
  • Infielders: Justin Morneau, Tsuyoshi Nishioka, Danny Valencia, Alexi Casilla, Jim Thome, Luke Hughes
  • Outfielders: Delmon Young, Denard Span, Michael Cuddyer, Jason Kubel, Jason Repko
  • Starters: Francisco Liriano, Carl Pavano, Nick Blackburn, Brian Duensing, Scott Baker
  • Bullpen: Joe Nathan, Matt Capps, Jose Mijares, Jim Hoey, Dusty Hughes, Kevin Slowey, Glen Perkins

Notable Signings

  1. Tsuyoshi Nishioka: 3 years, $9MM

Notable Losses

  1. Brian Fuentes
  2. Jon Rauch
  3. Orlando Hudson
  4. JJ Hardy
  5. Matt Guerrier
  6. Jesse Crain

Top Prospects

  1. Aaron Hicks: OF
  2. Miguel Sano: 3B
  3. Kyle Gibson: RHP
  4. Ben Revere: CF
  5. Oswaldo Arcia: RF

Key Position Battles

  • 5th Starter: Scott Baker vs. Kevin Slowey – This is a battle that Rod Gardenhier has already made a decision on but it was their one true battle in camp so we will delve into it anyways with my opinions on how it should have played out. Both Baker and Slowey are solid options to round out the Twins rotation and coming off very similar seasons(and springs.) Plain and simple, Baker we considered to be the number one going into 2010(with Liriano facing injury concerns and Pavano coming off an awful year) so he clearly has higher hopes and the higher ceiling; meaning he should get the look at 5th starter for the Twins. 5th Starter Pick: Scott Baker

The Minnesota Twins, led by one of the best managers in the game Rod Gardenhier, some how find a way to get themselves in the playoffs every single season. I just can not see it this season. Their new ballpark seemed to sap superstar catcher Joe Mauer of the increasing power he showed in his MVP campaign of 2009. Maybe his numbers will be

7 Days until Opening Day 2011

enhanced by the return of his battery mate Justin Morneau(the other half of the M&M Bros) and the protection he will bring to Mauer in the lineup. Morneau was playing at a very high level last season before a concussion derailed his season, he will look to get back to his MVP caliber ways. It feels like Delmon Young has been in the league for a while now but he is only 25 years old and finally came into his own last season by jacking 21 homers and driving in 112 runs. If he continues to progress in the right direction he could be primed for a huge year. Denard Span regressed last season but still brings great speed while Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel are wildly inconsistent. It is hard to say how Tsuyoshi Nishioka will translate in the American game, coming from Japan. Two players on the complete opposite ends of their careers may be the difference makers for the Twins; Jim Thome and Danny Valencia. This lineup could use some extra punch and Thome, who should reach 600 career home runs this season, should bring the power and Valencia brings a solid contact bat and the ability to get on base for the big boys. The pitching staff is very hard to read this year. It appears that Francisco Liriano’s injury problems are behind him and he could be poised for a huge year considering he dominated last season but still had an extremely high BAbip. Carl Pavano appears to have revitalized his career and Brian Duensing impressed in both the bullpen and rotation last season. Speaking of the bullpen, which is usually a strength in Minnesota, the Twins may be in some trouble this year. They lost a handful of key pieces from the ‘pen and did not replace them accordingly. Joe Nathan is coming off major surgery and may not be his same self while his set up man Matt Capps is very good he has shown shades of inconsistency. There are no other real notable names in this bullpen and it will likely prove to be a weakness of this Twins team, as opposed to the usual strength.

WTP Projected 2011 Record: 85-77

 

 

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About jacarfagno

Live, Breathe, and Bleed Baseball
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