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KCasey

Twins have Cause for Optimism

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The past three years have been rough ones in Minnesota; the tables tell you that. They have been winning games in the mid-60s and flirting with their first 100-loss season since way back in 1982.

However, sides can sneak up on people and, when you look at all that has been happening at the franchise of late, it makes you wonder if the Twins might be able to sneak back over the 70 wins marker and actually go a bit further than that and surprise fans betting MLB World Series.

First point to take into account is that the Twins have finally shunted much of their moribund rotation aside and actually invested in Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes. Both should thrive at Target Field - especially Hughes, who may well be far better outside of the media glare in New York. Together they form what could be a very decent one-two punch.

Neither is an ace but they are solid and should take the team forward; although, the rest of the rotation could give cause for concern. However, the competition could just give the impetus needed for someone to step up and fill in some of the voids.

Young talent is always important for giving a side momentum and a fresh outlook, and the Twins have two valuable building blocks in that sphere, in Miguel Sano and Josmil Pinto. That combination could well be one that the Twins can build a team around as we head into the back half of the decade and take them back to a team that can deliver the goods.

The development of Pinto has had MLB betting pundits wondering what Joe Mauer will be capable of now that he is released from catching duties and doesn’t have to cope with the physical toll the discipline can take on you. He should be able to make good strides this year, especially if he looks after himself in a conditioning sense, and that will help the Twins grow as an entity.

This may be tilting at windmills and taking optimism too far but it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that both Josh Willingham and Jason Kubel can turn things around coming off terrible years. Both have “excuses” for last year and are not far removed from good years, there may be question marks about their durability but both have enough left in their locker to surprise.

If these are some of the upsides for the Twins, you can’t avoid the point that there are plenty of lingering issues also – particularly in centre field - but a line-up with the plus points made above gives the Twins far more room for optimism and surprise than in the past few years.
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