Ranking the 3 Most Important Twins Players for 2021
Image courtesy of © Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports3. Jose Berrios- SP
Berrios is in an interesting place entering the 2021 season. He has worked his way through the arbitration process by betting on himself to improve instead of taking a team-friendly extension to stay in Minnesota. Now he has two years left until free agency unless the Twins are able to work out an extension this winter. This type of deal would likely need to be north of $100 million and that might not be something the team wants to consider after a season where revenues were limited.
As far as the Twins rotation, Berrios doesn’t have to feel the pressure of being the team’s ace with Kenta Maeda and Michael Pineda helping to solidify the rotation’s front half. Berrios might still have another level to reach as a starting pitcher and that can be scary to think about. Through their age-26 seasons, Berrios has better numbers than Trevor Bauer, this year’s top free agent starter. Bauer took a dramatic step forward in his age-27 season and Twins fans can hope Berrios follows a similar path.
2. Josh Donaldson- 3B
Donaldson was signed last winter to help Minnesota to take the next step while their window of contention is open. His first season in a Twins uniform was a disappointment as he played in less than half of the team’s games while dealing with calf injuries that have plagued his career. When he was on the field, he posted an OPS higher than his career average with a 24 to 18 strikeout to walk ratio, but Twins fans clearly wanted more from the highest paid free agent in franchise history.
The Twins signed Donaldson, because he was coming off a tremendous season in Atlanta where he played over 155 games and posted a .900 OPS with 37 home runs and 33 doubles. Minnesota would love to get that kind of production from the former MVP, but he will be 35 this year and there’s a chance of regression as he continues to age. There is organizational depth at third base, but the Twins need Donaldson on the field and performing at his highest level for the majority of 2021.
1. Byron Buxton- CF
There’s no question that Buxton can alter the game on both sides of the ball, but he has been limited to fewer than 95 games in all but one big-league season. Last year, Buxton hit .254/.267/.577 with 13 home runs and three doubles across 39 games. While he posted a career high OPS, he struck out 26.7% of the time in his 135 plate appearances. The flashes of greatness have been evident, yet the Twins fans are waiting for him to put it all together for an entire season.
Like Berrios, Buxton has only two years of team control remaining, and one has to wonder if the team would consider an extension with their center fielder. The organization’s other options in center can fill-in for Buxton on a short-term basis, but they simply can’t match everything he brings to the diamond.He might be the best five-tool player in Twins history, and he is just entering the prime of his career. If Buxton is on the field for over 120 games in 2021, he has the chance to be in the American League MVP discussion.
What three players do you think are most important for Minnesota in 2021? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
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