The Minnesota Twins have one of the best farm systems in baseball. It took a blow with Miguel Sano needing Tommy John surgery, but Byron Buxton and Alex Meyer should see some time in the Majors this season. Their future is very bright.
The Twins are only expected to win 70 games this season, but I’m more optimistic than that. The AL Central is down as a whole and could squeak out some victories against the bottom half of the division.
The Twins spent some money this offseason by signing Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes. Should they have spent significant money on those pitchers when they are at least two seasons away from contending?
Here is the 2014 MLB season preview for the Minnesota Twins.
2013 Win/Loss Record: 66-96
Key Additions: SP Ricky Nolasco, SP Phil Hughes, RP Brooks Raley, C Kurt Suzuki, RP Matt Guerrier & OF Jason Kubel
Key Losses: C Ryan Doumit, OF Clete Thomas, RP Josh Roenicke, SP Pedro Hernandez & SP Liam Hendriks
Interleague Schedule: NL West + Milwaukee Brewers
Projected Starters: Josmil Pinto, Joe Mauer, Brian Dozier, Trevor Plouffe, Pedro Florimon, Josh Willingham, Alex Preley, Oswaldo Arcia & Jason Kubel
Projected Starting Rotation: Ricky Nolasco, Kevin Correia, Phil Hughes, Mike Pelfrey & Vance Worley
Closer: Glen Perkins
Fantasy Sleeper: OF Oswaldo Arcia – Most fantasy owners look at the Twins outfield and drool at prospect of Byron Buxton, who may eventually be called up. Arcia will be overlooked and fall farther than he should. He will only hit around .250, but is a nice source of power and RBI. In five-outfielder leagues, the pool gets thin in a hurry. Arcia would be a great #5 outfielder and one you should target if he’s still available late in your fantasy draft.
Prospect To Keep Your Eye On: SP Alex Meyer – I would have listed 3B Miguel Sano in this section, but he tore his UCL and needs Tommy John surgery. Byron Buxton is also interesting, but they are bringing him up slowly and may not sniff the Majors until September. Meyer is the most NL-ready ready top prospect in the farm system. The Twins acquired him in the Denard Span trade before last season. He had a shot to win the #5 spot in the rotation, but will start the season in the minors. He has an elite fastball and a nice off-speed curveball in his arsenal. Keep an eye on him since the Twins could bring him up before the All-Star Break.
Team Analysis: Minnesota has been rebuilding the last few years and their top prospects are on the cusp of being called up. Their Major League roster isn’t too shabby, but they are in need of some impact bats and starting rotation depth. They signed Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes to help their rotation, but their rotation won’t be solid until prospects Kohl Stewart and Meyer make it to the Bigs. The Twins officially moved Joe Mauer to first base for longevity reasons and to free up at-bats for Josmil Pinto. They’ll need Mauer’s bat since the rest of the lineup doesn’t bat for average. Trevor Plouffe and Oswaldo Arcia will hit for power, but may not crack .250. The AL Central is top-heavy with the Tigers at the top and the Royals as a possible Wild-Card contender. I don’t like Cleveland or Chicago this season and I have Minnesota winning just a couple more games than both squads. I like the youth and upside of many of the players. I think the Twins will surprise some people this season.
2014 Wins Over/Under Betting Line: 70.5 (Prediction: UNDER)
2014 Projected Win/Loss Record: 76-86 (3rd AL Central)
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.