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Is Cruz a MUST signing? And what if he doesn't fit?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 06:00 PM
Let me state I love Cruz and want him back if possible. I not only believe he brings class, experience, knowledge and leadership to the t...
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Rosario Placed on Outright Waiver

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 06:00 PM
https://www.mlbtrade...ht-waivers.html So long, at least temporarily, old friend.
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Trevor May to the Mets?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 04:58 PM
The rumor mill is heating up this afternoon. I’m afraid the Twins won’t be able to outbid the Mets if the rumors of them spending like “d...
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Blake Snell a trade target or not

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 06:00 PM
I would personally be happy to offer up Kirilloff and a few other prospects for him!!! What do you guys think he would cost and would you...
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Arbitration Updates

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 03:00 PM
With some news coming in on the Twins' arbitration-eligible players, I think it'd make sense to start a discussion on the incoming moves....
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Recent Blogs


Ranking the Twins Postseason Opponents and their Chances

Since the first pitch of Opening Day it was a matter of where the Minnesota Twins would slot into the Postseason, and not much of a question as to whether or not they’d make it. At times it’s been a rocky road, and they may still wind up giving away the AL Central Division. No matter what, they can contend with anyone in October.
Image courtesy of © Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
It’s a bit unfortunate that 2020 has dealt the world the hand it has. On the sports front, and baseball in particular, the year has looked nothing like a traditional schedule. With Minnesota putting together arguably the most talented roster in franchise history, it’s unfortunate we didn’t get to see it perform over a full 162-game slate. What still matters however, is that all that talent is at the disposal of Rocco Baldelli when the games become win-or-go-home.

The most likely opponents for the Twins in the Wild Card round of the Postseason look to be the New York Yankees, Houston Astros, or Cleveland Indians. We know the field at this point, and there’s no reason Minnesota can’t be excited about facing any of these teams. In reverse order though, here’s how I’ll argue the stack up, from easiest to toughest.

7. Toronto Blue Jays (Batting 18th Pitching 18th Fielding 18th)

Somewhat of a surprise team, the Blue Jays have competed in what has been an up and down AL East this season. New York looked like a minor league team depending on which lineup you caught them with, and the Red Sox took ownership of the Orioles doldrums positioning. Toronto doesn’t do anything all that well, but they don’t have any glaring problem areas either. Bo Bichette is a stud, and right now Teoscar Hernandez has assumed the production intended for Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Hyun-Jin Ryu has looked the part of the ace he was hoped to be, but they haven’t got much help on the pitching front elsewhere. Ken Giles isn’t coming back either, and the bullpen is plenty beatable.

6. Houston Astros (Batting 22nd Pitching 11th Fielding 28th)

What a difference a year makes. Houston was probably always going to be seen as tough despite the fallout from their cheating scandal due to the number of weapons that can hurt you. Their problem is that many of them have been a shell of themselves, and the pitching isn’t there either. Gerrit Cole is gone and Justin Verlander is done. George Springer and Michael Brantley have hit, but Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa have been awful. You can’t let this team beat you, they have the talent to do so, but it isn’t the scary Astros anymore.

5. Oakland Athletics (Batting 10th Pitching 8th Fielding 3rd)

Taking the Athletics down a notch was the massive loss of Matt Chapman. He’s a superstar and arguably the best defender in baseball at third base. There’s still thump in their lineup with Matt Olson and Marcus Semien, but one through nine isn’t where they’ll beat you. This team can pitch in the rotation and the bullpen, while converting outs at a high clip defensively. Oakland isn’t a team to take lightly but the +53-run differential and overall win tally seems to be aided by a very mediocre AL West.

4. Cleveland Indians (Batting 16th Pitching 1st Fielding 2nd)

By now Twins fans have seen enough of the Indians to know what expectations are. The club can once again pitch, shocker, but they still can’t hit. Jose Ramirez has looked like an AL MVP candidate, but the middle of the order still features a black hole in Carlos Santana. The outfield production is atrocious, and they’ll rely on beating teams in low-scoring affairs. This isn’t a group you want to see in October. Shane Bieber, Zach Plesac, and company can shut down any lineup. That said, there’s warts here and Minnesota has already handled them to the tune of a 7-3 record in 2020.

3. Chicago White Sox (Batting 1st Pitching 9th Fielding 9th)

The rivalry has certainly been renewed, and it doesn’t matter who wins the division, the Southsiders will be coming for Minnesota plenty in the years ahead. The Twins split the season series with Chicago, and while a couple of those contests were lopsided, Rick Renteria’s club has the bats to do plenty of damage on their own. I think this unit is still a year away from settling into their own, but a series going up and down that lineup on a nightly basis would be as tense as it gets. Lucas Giolito is not an arm that has owned the Twins, and the rotation is barren behind him and Keuchel. Still though, it’s the bats that make this club worthy of a no-fly zone.

2. New York Yankees (Batting 7th Pitching 14th Fielding 13th)

Going on season numbers for the Yankees are relatively hollow considering the amount of time they were without key players. Now a healthy Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton have returned, and all bets are off. Gerrit Cole is an ace in every sense of the word, and Masahiro Tanaka is plenty consistent in his own right. I actually don’t think New York’s rotation is that much better than Minnesota’s but turning to Cole twice in a short series could be the trump card. There are questions as to whether Judge and Stanton have enough at bats to feel comfortable, but both are capable of going off at any time. Throw in Luke Voit and D.J. LeMahieu and you’ve once again got an opponent to avoid.

1. Tampa Bay Rays (Batting 11th Pitching 10th Fielding 8th)

Maybe I’m overrating the Rays a bit given the opportunities they had against a more lackluster Yankees lineup, but this feels like the most complete team in the American League. Kevin Cash has this club clicking on all cylinders, and most of the names are guys a national landscape would gloss over. Brandon Lowe is a superstar, while Willy Adames has finally started living up to his potential. Tyler Glasnow is a problem on the mound and Nick Anderson may be the best reliever in baseball. Up and down this roster is a group of guys that constantly embody next man up, and anyone is capable of producing on a nightly basis. It’d be a fun narrative series for the Twins, but not one I’d want to willingly sign up for.

*Overall ranks based on Fangraphs fWAR totals

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6 Comments

What are the Twins' fWar ranks, for reference?
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Nash Walker
Sep 24 2020 11:32 PM
I agree with your rankings Ted. I may rather see the Rays than Yankees if no more than to avoid pain.
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Kevin Urdahl
Sep 25 2020 12:46 AM

I'd also rather see the Rays than the Yankees. But I'd also rather see the White Sox than the Indians now that Ramirez is on fire to provide something to go with that pitching. But truth be told, I'd take the Twins over all of them. They are peaking at the right time. I'm feeling the magic!!!

Short season, long season, it doesn't matter. September baseball is fantastic! The next three days are going to be thrilling to see how everything plays out.
    • Melissa likes this

Just for clarification - are these for any series, any round or just the first round?The reason I ask is when it is mentioned in the Yankee section about "turning to Cole twice in a short series", I hope that refers to the Division Series and not the first round.  

Pitching depth will be huge in this postseason, in my opinion.There are no off days in the best of 5 series, so only way Ace goes 2 times is on short rest.In championship round also no off days and none between the 2 rounds either.So if you go 5 in first round and pitch Ace on short rest, you will still only get them 1 time in second round either on short rest or normal rest but then going to a starter who may not have pitched for two weeks.  

 

If you feel you have the depth and a good matchup you may want to go fifth starter for game 5 of second round, then you will get Ace game 1 and a second game if needed in third round.With the no built in off days pens depth will be tested too.I think the Twins actually fair well in this situation with a deep pen overall and deeper starting rotation too, not top heavy but their 4th and 5th starters are better than most I think. 

    • Melissa likes this

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