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Minnesota Twins 2020 Outlook


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Coming off a 101-win season and setting the MLB record for most home runs in a season, the Twins are looking like a very dangerous offense yet again in 2020. Is this the best offense in the MLB at this point? This lineup is crazy, there's no holes in it. Even if a few guys regress a bit, it's still very, very strong-

C- Garver
1B- Sano
2B- Arraez
3B- Donaldson
SS- Polanco
LF- Rosario
CF- Buxton
RF- Kepler
DH- Cruz

The bullpen is looking pretty good as well. Taylor Rogers is the best arm out there, but Tyler Duffey, Trevor May, and Zack Littell all had strong second halves. Sergio Romo will be returning and Tyler Clippard is joining the team to give us some veteran leadership. We'll also have options between Smeltzer, Thorpe, Dobnak, Harper, and a few others to round things out.

Starting pitching, as is tradition in Minnesota, is going to be the key. The Twins were really hurt by Bumgarner and Wheeler having a different destination in mind. They did well to pick up low risk pitchers in Rich Hill and Homer Bailey, and I actually don't think their rotation is going to be that bad once Pineda is back. Berrios, Odorizzi, and Pineda is a solid top 3, and if Bailey pitches as he did last year, he's a serviceable 4/5. Then we'll have some options for the last slot between Smeltzer/Thorpe/Dobnak, plus Graterol later on in the year. Expecting some solid innings from Hill when he returns as well. Plus, the farm system is loaded with talent and the Twins should have no problem being able to pay the price for a frontline starter at the trade deadline. Whether they'll do that, who knows, but they should be able to afford it. The team would really, really benefit from adding a true ace and pushing everyone else down a slot in the rotation.

To touch on the rest of the division, the Royals and Tigers won't be a threat. The White Sox have made some big news this offseason and could be a problem if anything goes right, but they'll also be relying on a lot of guys without much of any experience. If everything goes well for them and Anderson/Moncada/Giolito prove last year wasn't a fluke, Eloy/Robert/Madrigal meet or exceed expectations, and Kopech/Rodon return strong from injury, the White Sox could be a headache. Alternatively, if some or all of those things don't happen, the Sox could still be a year or two from making a push for the division title.

Then there's the Indians. It's a little hard for me to say what to expect from them. Their rotation will still be great and give them a high floor. They have a few good pieces on offense, but a lot of holes as well. The bullpen doesn't look like it'll be a big factor one way or the other. The obvious unknown here is what will happen with Lindor. I personally don't think they'll pull the trigger and trade him this year, which as a Twins fan I'm ok with. He'll burn the Twins a few times this year no doubt, but I don't think the Indians have what it takes to compete with Lindor right now, and every day they hold him after the season starts, his value to another team drops. They *could* do really, really well by trading him now and getting some talented youth that could contribute for the next 5 years. Or they could hold him for now, probably not have enough pieces to make a run, and then trade him for less or lose him outright to free agency later on. I don't think the Indians will be a cakewalk, they'll still be solid, but I think it's safe to say the Twins have a higher floor and higher ceiling than them right now.

All in all, this looks to be one of the best rosters the Twins will have in quite some time. It's a fun time to be a Twins fan, and expectations are high. Looking forward to seeing what they can do this year.

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15 hours ago, 2ndCitySox said:

Is the bouncy ball still in play for 2020? If so I think the twins offense will be about the same as last year

I think this is such an under rated question for both fantasy and wagering purposes. Are we going to know the answer with certainty prior to the start of the year? or will we have to use a wait and see approach while using a comparison between the upcoming and previous season?

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14 hours ago, jonninho said:

I think this is such an under rated question for both fantasy and wagering purposes. Are we going to know the answer with certainty prior to the start of the year? or will we have to use a wait and see approach while using a comparison between the upcoming and previous season?

 

Wait and see, but it will probably be pretty clear after 3-4 weeks of regular season if the ball is juiced or not. I don't know if anything could be taken with more than a grain of salt related to Spring Training results.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Losing Graterol definitely hurts long term. But Maeda is a quietly pretty nice addition to the rotation. They're still lacking a true #1, but Berrios, Odorizzi, Maeda, Pineda, Hill is a pretty solid rotation once Pineda/Hill are back. Until then, Bailey and whoever between Thorpe/Dobnak/Smeltzer should be able to hold down the fort. I don't love the deal since Graterol's upside seems almost limitless, but I think it could work out better than you'd think based on gut reaction

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1 hour ago, Hollywood42 said:

Losing Graterol definitely hurts long term. But Maeda is a quietly pretty nice addition to the rotation. They're still lacking a true #1, but Berrios, Odorizzi, Maeda, Pineda, Hill is a pretty solid rotation once Pineda/Hill are back. Until then, Bailey and whoever between Thorpe/Dobnak/Smeltzer should be able to hold down the fort. I don't love the deal since Graterol's upside seems almost limitless, but I think it could work out better than you'd think based on gut reaction

You seem a knowledgeable fan.  Can you tell me who this Smeltzer?  I just saw his name the other day and stared at it blankly not knowing a thing about his.  Well I don't know much about Thorpe or Dobnak either to tell the truth.  Are they all a sixth arm place holder type guy?  I seem to recall Dobnak wasn't bad at the end of the season. 

Minnesota's pitching rotation has been a mystery to me as an outsider.  And apparently to Minnesota as well since they have been trying hard all off season to upgrade.  Looks like mission accomplished now.

By the way would Graterol stayed a reliever with the Twins and a future closer or were they thinking of him as a starter eventually?

Edited by The Big Bat Theory
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29 minutes ago, The Big Bat Theory said:

You seem a knowledgeable fan.  Can you tell me who this Smeltzer?  I just saw his name the other day and stared at it blankly not knowing a thing about his.  Well I don't know much about Thorpe or Dobnak either to tell the truth.  Are they all a sixth arm place holder type guy?  I seem to recall Dobnak wasn't bad at the end of the season. 

Minnesota's pitching rotation has been a mystery to me as an outsider.  And apparently to Minnesota as well since they have been trying hard all off season to upgrade.  Looks like mission accomplished now.

By the way would Graterol stayed a reliever with the Twins and a future closer or were they thinking of him as a starter eventually?

 

Smeltzer, Thorpe, and Dobnak are all considered low ceiling types with potential to be back end rotation starters, middle relief, or shuttle arms. So essentially outside of Odorizzi and Berrios, they had a bunch of borderline MLB players. Maybe one or two hit, but they desperately needed a mid rotation starter, and with the addition of Maeda probably still could use another starter.

Twins moved Graterol to the bullpen last season so it looked like they viewed him as a reliever. If they thought he had a high ceiling as a starter they probably would not have made the trade, IMO.

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4 minutes ago, Sidearmer said:

Smeltzer, Thorpe, and Dobnak are all considered low ceiling types with potential to be back end rotation starters, middle relief, or shuttle arms. So essentially outside of Odorizzi and Berrios, they had a bunch of borderline MLB players. Maybe one or two hit, but they desperately needed a mid rotation starter, and with the addition of Maeda probably still could use another starter.

Twins moved Graterol to the bullpen last season so it looked like they viewed him as a reliever. If they thought he had a high ceiling as a starter they probably would not have made the trade, IMO.

Thanks.  And I agree they need one more starter to ensure the AL Central.  They may slip through with what thy have this season now with Maeda but Cleveland still has three pitchers better so Minnesota has to hope their bats can help out that rotation because we know most of Cleveland's bats won't help out theirs.

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2 hours ago, The Big Bat Theory said:

You seem a knowledgeable fan.  Can you tell me who this Smeltzer?  I just saw his name the other day and stared at it blankly not knowing a thing about his.  Well I don't know much about Thorpe or Dobnak either to tell the truth.  Are they all a sixth arm place holder type guy?  I seem to recall Dobnak wasn't bad at the end of the season. 

Minnesota's pitching rotation has been a mystery to me as an outsider.  And apparently to Minnesota as well since they have been trying hard all off season to upgrade.  Looks like mission accomplished now.

By the way would Graterol stayed a reliever with the Twins and a future closer or were they thinking of him as a starter eventually?

 

I really like Smeltzer as a fan. Probably not the highest ceiling, but he could be a back end guy. But his story is amazing, he beat cancer as a child and now he's in the big leagues. He sells shirts with the proceeds going to help offset costs for pediatric cancer patients. There's an awesome picture of him meeting Chase Utley as a kid when he was going through treatment, then them standing side by side in the Dodgers clubhouse in spring training. Super easy to root for and he's a solid pitcher. Far from overpowering stuff, but he makes it work

Dobby is fairly similar to be honest, minus the backstory (interesting background, just nothing like Smeltz). Of course got recognition for Ubering in the offseason as a minor leaguer, to starting G2 at Yankee Stadium last year (Pineda's suspension really screwed us). Dobby could stick as a back end guy, but might be a AAAA player too. Really haven't seen all that much from him yet. Thorpe has a bit higher of a ceiling than the other two but isn't seen as a frontline guy by anybody. The thought was that the Twins were going to get what they could out of those 3 while waiting for Hill and Pineda to get back, but now with Maeda that'll be a bit lesser of a concern. Unsure who has the inside track to the rotation out of ST though, probably will be a true ST competition

Book was still out on Graterol as SP/RP. Word broke a few weeks ago that we were going to use him as a RP this year, but weren't ruling out SP in the future. Made sense as he can be a dominant reliever now, but needs to get stretched out before starting. Thought was let's get the most out of him we can now and then reevaluate in a year. But with a strong pen even without Graterol and still some holes in the rotation, i think it made sense to move him for Maeda. We can afford not to have him in our pullpen, and while he has immense upside, we do need some help in the SP now. Maeda also gives us another solid long term option as Berrios and Pineda were the only 2 proven SPs under contract past this season

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Graterol had a lot of injuries in his brief career. 

Someone who throws 100 mph. Had elbow surgery in the past and missed 2 months last year.

Twins think they still have some top pitching prospects in Jordan Balazovic and Jhoan Duran to groom. 

With the lineup the Twins have, Maeda does not need to be great to have a good year for the Twins.

Same with Rich Hill, Homer Bailey, Jhoulys Chacin, Pineda or who ever else comes out of spring training with a starting job.

The pitching staff on paper looks a lot better than it did a year ago.

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2 hours ago, rabaak said:

Graterol had a lot of injuries in his brief career. 

Someone who throws 100 mph. Had elbow surgery in the past and missed 2 months last year.

Twins think they still have some top pitching prospects in Jordan Balazovic and Jhoan Duran to groom. 

With the lineup the Twins have, Maeda does not need to be great to have a good year for the Twins.

Same with Rich Hill, Homer Bailey, Jhoulys Chacin, Pineda or who ever else comes out of spring training with a starting job.

The pitching staff on paper looks a lot better than it did a year ago.

On paper it still doesn't look great, but they have so many potential quality options that some of it has to pan out. They are shotgunning starting pitching. The Maeda move was brilliant IMO. 

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11 hours ago, 2ndCitySox said:

On paper it still doesn't look great, but they have so many potential quality options that some of it has to pan out. They are shotgunning starting pitching. The Maeda move was brilliant IMO. 

The starters only have to be mediocre with the lineup the Twins have. Hold the other team to 3-5 runs and let the Bomba squad provide the run support should work for most games.  Here are the 2019 runs per game ranking. Adding Donaldson can't hurt for 2020.

Rank Team 2019 Last 3 Last 1 Home Away 2018
1 NY Yankees 5.77 3.67 4.00 5.42 6.13 5.22
2 Minnesota 5.73 2.33 1.00 5.40 6.06 4.56
3 Boston 5.56 3.33 5.00 5.46 5.66 5.45
4 Houston 5.51 3.67 2.00 5.76 5.25 4.94
5 LA Dodgers 5.44 4.67 3.00 5.38 5.49 4.82
6 Washington 5.31 4.67 6.00 5.45 5.18 4.76
7 Atlanta 5.22 2.67 1.00 5.27 5.17 4.62
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No doubt that the lineup will carry the team. Playoff time could be a bit dicier, since teams that have had success have also had some true aces. 

Of course, if the Twins are at or near the top of the division come mid-summer (as expected), then could trade for a TOR starter then, even if it's just a rental. 

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