Baseball Season is Here: 10 Reasons to Be Excited about the Minnesota Twins in 2020
Image courtesy of © Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY SportsPitchers and catchers report to Fort Myers exactly one month from today and there is a lot to be excited about. Here are 10 reasons to be excited about the Minnesota Twins in 2020:
1. The Bomba Squad is back
After breaking the MLB record for home runs in a season in 2019, the Minnesota Twins retained all but two of their key batters (Cron and Schoop) — bringing back 244 of their 307 home runs from 2019. You should expect more bombas and more excitement as the Bomba Squad will be getting their encore in 2020.
2. Year 2 of Rocco Baldelli
Coming off of a season where he won Manager of the Year and pushed a lot of the right buttons in 2019, Baldelli will now be coming into 2020 with a year of experience under his belt. His bullpen usage was questioned by many, but he is beloved by the clubhouse and his experience should serve him well in 2020.
3. Byron Buxton is healthy
After spending 72 days on the injured list and getting shoulder surgery this past September, Buxton should finally be healthy again to start the 2020 season. After posting an .827 OPS in 87 games to start the year, Buxton was finally breaking out as the player who we all hoped that he could be as he topped the Twins’ prospect list for years. Now healthy in 2020, he should be one of the centerpieces of this team.
4. José Berríos in his age 26 season
I wrote last week about how history shows that 26 is the age that pitchers will typically reach peak velocity and strikeout age as they enter into their late 20s. Berríos has been a very solid pitcher up to this point, but there is plenty of reason to believe that he could have ace potential in 2020. Can he put up the same production in September that he puts up in April? That will be the million dollar question.
5. Jake Odorizzi and Michael Pineda are back
While the front office still hasn’t come through on their promise of bringing in “impact pitching” this offseason, the two biggest moves they have made this offseason have been bringing back Jake Odorizzi and Michael Pineda on excellent contracts. Odorizzi was an All-Star in 2019 who posted a career best 4.3 fWAR and Pineda who was outstanding for the Twins down the stretch last year with his 2.96 ERA over his final 14 starts. To bring back these two starters along with Berríos next season should provide the Twins will solid top end pitching again next season.
6. The Twins’ bullpen has potential to be excellent
In 2019 the Twins bullpen finished second in the baseball in fWAR, and from August 1 through the end of the season no bullpen had a better FIP than that of the Minnesota Twins. The Twins will be bringing back all of their core pieces from 2019, in addition to the veteran right-hander Tyler Clippard.
7. A full season of Luis Arráez
Luis Arráez was an unexpected revelation for the Minnesota Twins in 2019. After getting the call to the majors in May, Arráez never relinquished his spot on the 25-man roster. Instead, he flourished with the Twins to the tune of a .334 batting average and .838 OPS in 92 games with the Twins. The most disappointing thing about Arráez’s 2019 season was that he wasn’t called up to the club sooner. Being able to count on Arráez for a full season is just another reason to be excited about this ball club next in 2020.
8. Prospects will get a chance to shine
One of the most exciting things about the 2019 season for the Minnesota Twins was getting to see all of the prospects who were called up and contributed to the team. Devin Smeltzer, Lewis Thorpe, Cody Stashak, Brusdar Graterol and Luis Arráez, among others, all put a memorable stamp on the 2019 season for Minnesota. We should see a similar number of prospects coming up this season that are ready to contribute as well. I would expect Jhoan Duran, Travis Blankenhorn, Brent Rooker, Luke Raley and Nick Gordon to join the team in 2020 as well as potentially the long-awaited debut of Alex Kirilloff.
9. Opportunities to improve the team are out there
Twins Nation has understandably been frustrated with the front office and their lack of impact moves so far this offseason. Even still, the Twins have plenty of opportunity at hand to improve their team before the season or at the trade deadline. Minnesota has the financial flexibility to take on contracts as well as the prospect capital to go after whatever player interests them on the trade market. The roster the Twins bring into spring training might not be the roster they have come September or October.
10. This team is REALLY good
Finally, lest we all forget, this team is REALLY good. The Twins won 101 games last season and a +185 run differential, good for fourth-best in all of baseball. They led major league baseball in 2019 in home runs and were top five in baseball in doubles, SLG, OPS and wRC+. They have a formidable starting rotation (albeit without an “impact arm”) and a potentially great bullpen. This team will be good in 2020, and we should all be really excited about baseball season finally arriving.
Why are you excited about the Minnesota Twins in 2020? Leave a comment below and start the conversation!
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