For some last year, the Minnesota Twins were an underdog pick to sneak into a Wild Card spot. Instead, they pulled up the rear in the American League, losing the most games in all of baseball.
The Twins were last year’s only 100-loss team. They were good enough offensively, but they could not pitch at all. They had the worst team ERA in the AL. The Twinkies have done nothing to improve on that in the offseason outside of hoping for better health and production from the returning arms.
Roster wise, this is fundamentally the same team that lost 103 games last year, but it’s also very much the same team that went 83-79 the year before.
2016 Record: 59-103
2016 Moneyline Record: -31.29 Units
2016 Over/Under Total Record: 95-59-8
Current World Series Odds: +15500
Current Odds To Win AL: +7500
Current Odds To Win AL Central: +2800
Regular Season Win Total: 74.5
The Twins were bad last year; very bad. They lost more games than anyone, were average at best at the plate and missed having the worse ERA in all of baseball by being just one one-hundredth of a point better than the Diamondbacks.
This team cannot pitch. Ervin Santana is the team’s ace and while he’s proven himself to be a solid pitcher of his career, he’s more of the type of guy you want anchoring the middle of your rotation, not the top.
At least Santana is a proven major league starter. After him, the drop off is stark. He’s the only pitcher to make even a single start last year for this team to post an ERA below 5.
Kyle Gibson after a really good 2015 went 6-11 with a 5.07 ERA and 1.561 WHIP. Hector Santiago may be the number two guy this year and after coming over from the Angels went 3-6 with a 5.58 ERA.
There’s some hope that both those starters can at least be better in 2017 while a healthy Phil Hughes should be better than the 1-7 record and 5.95 ERA he provided in 2016. Minnesota will also hope for a better second try from Jose Berrios. The team’s highly regarded prospect went 3-7 with an 8.02 ERA, completely losing the strike zone after showing very good command in the minors.
After all those question marks in the rotation, the Twins have questions all over the bullpen. Glen Perkins was injured all of last year. If he comes back and pitches like the All-Star closer he was, that helps a lot. But if that doesn’t happen, Brandon Kintzler may be the only reliable arm other than Santana.
Now, on offense, the Twins were at least average compared to the rest of the league and they have a number of young players who could very well improve on their seasons with the added experience.
Miguel Sano worked through some injuries and ups and downs in performance and ended with a 110 OPS+. He’s got some pop in his bat and while he needs to work on improving his contact rate, he at least gives the team a threat in the heart of the order. Meanwhile, Brian Dozier slammed 42 home runs last year and is still in Minnesota despite a ton of rumors with the Dodgers. If you factor in Joe Mauer, who is still a good overall hitter, as well as Max Kepler, who showed promise last year, and even Byron Buxton, who provided a very strong September and reason for optimism, there’s enough pieces to put together a respectable lineup, but is respectable enough given the pitching staff? Probably not.
April 3-6: vs. Royals
April 7-9: at White Sox
April 11-13: at Tigers
April 14-16: vs. White Sox
April 17-20: vs. Indians
April 21-23: vs. Tigers
April 24-26: at Rangers
April 28-30: at Royals
Save for a game against the Rangers, the Twins cannot get out of the AL Central and even then, they’re still playing a team from the American League that’s in the central time zone. Minnesota gets a full tour of the division in the first month of the season, kicking things off at home against a Royals team that’s a bigger enigma than the Twins.
When the month is over the Twins will have played all four AL Central rivals at home and missed out on just the Indians on the road. By the end of that trek, we’ll be able to have a better idea if the 2015 or 2016 Twins are more indicative of this team’s talent.
View this years MLB game match-ups with the complete seasonal schedule for all MLB teams. Each year we will be updating the season schedule with the current information including final scores, so bookmark this page.
The 2017 Major League Baseball season is tentatively set to begin on April 2, 2017, and feature three games, including the 2016 World Series champions Chicago Cubs facing off against the St. Louis Cardinals, which will be ESPN's first Sunday Night Baseball game of the year.
The 88th MLB All-Star Game will be hosted by the Miami Marlins and will be played at Marlins Park on July 11, 2017. It will be televised nationally on Fox.
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