This is one of a series of posts in which I will be breaking down every team in baseball. I am by no means a credible source—merely a casual fan who knows a little about baseball and would like to share my observations.
Today we look at the Twins, who have an intimidating group of prospects on their way, none of whom will be a factor this season. It’s the story of, “Yeah, we’re bad now, but just wait…”
Projected Lineup: CF Aaron Hicks, 2B Brian Dozier, 1B Joe Mauer, LF Josh Willingham, RF Oswaldo Arcia, 3B Trevor Plouffe, DH Jason Kubel, C Josmil Pinto, SS Pedro Florimon
In lieu of a traditional preview, here is a month-by-month breakdown of what to expect from the Twins this season. Spoiler alert: It doesn’t end well.
It quickly becomes apparent that Opening Day starter Ricky Nolasco is not an “ace”, which comes as a complete surprise to the Twins’ front office, who handed him the largest free agent contract in franchise history this winter. The team releases him, citing a breach of contract for masquerading as a good pitcher.
Meanwhile in Double-A New Britain, Byron Buxton hits .375 for the month.
The Twins pull off a rare five-game win streak, thanks to a few guys getting hot at the right time. Then a massive snowstorm hits Minnesota, canceling a week’s worth of games, and the team loses all momentum. They lose their next ten.
Meanwhile in Double-A New Britain, Byron Buxton falls into a horrible slump and hits just .350 for the month.
Joe Mauer, no longer on catchers’ legs, starts stealing bases. He swipes fifteen by midseason, surpassing his career high. Things are great until he celebrates one of his steals against the Yankees one night, and Brian McCann takes exception. Mauer, out of respect for the fellow catcher, apologizes and stops stealing immediately.
Meanwhile, Byron Buxton hits .400 and earns a promotion to Triple-A.
Chris Parmelee, left without a position to play after Mauer’s move to first base, asks the team for a trade. The Twins respond by trading Josh Willingham. Parmelee says, “That’s not what I meant”.
Meanwhile, Byron Buxton doesn’t miss a beat in Triple-A, hitting .350.
Aaron Hicks suffers an injury diving for a fly ball that he had no hope of catching. It’s the perfect scenario to call Buxton up to the big leagues, but the Twins don’t want to start his arbitration clock. Instead, they sign Tsuyoshi Nishioka’s cousin, an outfielder in the Nippon Professional Baseball league who promises to be just as good as Tsuyoshi.
Meanwhile, Byron Buxton steals 40 bases in the month of August.
The Twins finally call Byron Buxton up to the big leagues, but only to use him as a pinch-runner. They refuse to give him an at-bat because they “don’t want to give the rest of the league a good glimpse of our secret weapon”. Buxton still uses the opportunity to steal 20 more bases.
Oh—and it almost goes without saying, but the Twins miss the playoffs. Let’s get ’em next year!
Projected Finish: 67-95, Fifth place in AL Central