We head to the Twin Cities next as we check out what the Twins have been up to over the winter. The team won their division in 2020 before being losing to the Astros in the opening round of the postseason. They’ll look to go a littler deeper this time around.
Key Additions: Andrelton Simmons, J.A. Happ, Alex Colomé
Key Subtractions: Marwin González, Trevor May, Sergio Romo, Jake Odorizzi, Eddie Rosario
Minnesota will have a tough task on their hands trying to win the AL Central with the White Sox breathing down their necks. With the kind of transactions that took place during the offseason, I see it being Chicago coming out on top. None of the moves the Twins made make them any better. Realistically, the just seemed to replace the value they lost. Happ for Odorizzi, Colomé for May/Romo, and then Simmons for Marwin. The team didn’t really get worse, but they didn’t get any better either. That could end up being problematic as they’ll have a real fight on their hands for the division title.
More so than anything, this team will look to rely on their young talent to help them stay on top. The team has a few prospects that are set to play in Minnesota this year and they could be what this team needs to stay on top. Alex Kirilloff made his debut in the Twin’s short postseason run and looks to be a part of the team’s everyday plans going forward. The steady hitter should fill the Eddie Rosario-shaped hole in the lineup and field. Kirilloff has been lauded for his advanced hitting and should prove to be a valuable middle-of-the-order guy going froward. Trevor Larnach is another guy who should get some of those at-bats once belonging to Baudidou. Trevor displays a lot of the same offensive skills as Kirilloff with slightly worse defense. One of these guys should establish themselves as a legit everyday player by season’s end.
A few other young guys to pay attention to are Ryan Jeffers, Jordan Balazovic, and Jhoan Duran. Jeffers may be blocked behind the plate due to Mitch Garver’s presence, but he should see some time at catcher this season. He showed solid power and a great glove in his small 2020 sample, showcasing his major strengths. Duran and Balazovic are both premium arms with a chance to be solid rotation pieces. Their development may have been stalled due to there being no Minor League season in 2020, but I wouldn’t be all too shocked if they came up this year. If Minnesota is going to stay in front of the pack in their division, one or two of these aforementioned youngsters are going to have to play at a high level right away. I don’t think it’s crazy to think they could do it.
This is a big season for the Twins. They’ve been at the front of their division over the past few seasons and now are faced with serious competition. It will be interesting to see how the team handles 2021. The offseason wasn’t one may people can applaud, but the games have yet to be played. Maybe the Twins end up on top again. Maybe they don’t. Only time will tell.