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Front Page: Baseball Season is Here: 10 Reasons to Be Excited about the Minnesota Twins in 2020

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#1 Matthew Taylor

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Posted 12 January 2020 - 09:00 PM

The Vikings did what the Vikings do and were knocked out of the NFL playoffs on Saturday. While their loss was extremely disappointing for Minnesotans everywhere, it did offer one piece of excitement — baseball season is officially here.Pitchers 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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#2 mikelink45

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Posted 12 January 2020 - 09:12 PM

Most important reason to be excited - baseball is back

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#3 IndianaTwin

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Posted 12 January 2020 - 09:18 PM

Most important reason to be excited - baseball is back


Bad day at game > Good day at office
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#4 IndianaTwin

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Posted 12 January 2020 - 09:19 PM

Bad day at game > Good day at office


Oops. I forgot that there isn’t supposed to be any math.
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#5 bobs

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Posted 12 January 2020 - 10:25 PM

11.We've spent two months trying to answer questions for FO.Two months we'll know what this team will look like.

12.Spring Training means Opening Day is closing in which means winter ends!

13.Green grass at Target Field

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#6 Richard Swerdlick

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 05:37 AM

Baseball is back and we get to read TwinsDaily to follow it.

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#7 TwinsFan268

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 07:08 AM

11. It will be those long summer days filled with Twins games and everything else that makes a summer day nice.

12. We have a few new players that will be fun to try out (Avila, Clippard, not quite as excited about Bailey, Hill)

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i like rally squirrels and bombas, nothing more


#8 Aerodeliria

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 07:33 AM

I recorded both Vikings game. There is a channel called Gaora and they are showing all the playoff games live. My wife said to me, "Sorry about the Vikings," after the sun was setting on another Vikings playoff loss. I told her it was no big deal. Now the Twins ? That's a completely different animal. I've been ready for spring training since the Twins trudged back into their locker room after Game 3.

#9 Jeff A

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 08:14 AM

101 wins is not the team record.They won 102 in 1965.

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#10 rdehring

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 08:53 AM

Thanks for the upbeat beginning to my morning, Matt.The most encouraging points to me are speculating what a full year of Buxton could mean to the Twins.Now lets get his (and Berrios') extensions signed before opening day.I expect that Arraez will be better defensively at second base knowing that is where he will be every day, rather than playing all over the field last year.  

 

And speaking about football.Russell Wilson sure gave my Pack a scare in the second half last night.Damn, he is impossible to contain.Now we get our chance to play the 49ers.Expect the results won't be that different from what you Viking fans saw Saturday...but we can hope for a pleasant surprise, can't we?

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#11 RDLARK

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 10:04 AM

Two notes:

 

First, 101 wins is not the team record. The Twins won 102 games in 1965.

 

Second, when I look at Arraez, I'm not sure I see the star everyone seems to be sold on (at least everyone on Twitter and in the blogosphere). I see a guy who gets the bat on the ball, but without a lot of authority (35% hard hit rate, 24% FB-IFFB%)). He puts the ball on the ground (42% GB Rate) and last year he benefitted from a .355 BABIP. I guess I see him more as a solid placeholder until Lewis is ready to join the club and take over up the middle, not a reason to be excited about the team.

 

All of that said, I'm definitely excited about the team, and I think everyone is sleeping on how good Rich Hill can be when he's healthy. If Berrios takes a step forward and Hill comes back healthy, that's a 1-2 that can compete with anyone in the league come October.

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#12 Matthew Taylor

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 10:13 AM

Thanks to those who pointed out error stating that 101 wins was a team record. This was a mistake and has been edited.

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#13 PDX Twin

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 10:15 AM

Do we have evidence that Buxton is going to be fully recovered by ST, or even by opening day? I remember reading that there was some question about that.

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It's great to get out of the cellar ... as long as you bring something with you.


#14 Matthew Taylor

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 10:27 AM

 

Two notes:

 

First, 101 wins is not the team record. The Twins won 102 games in 1965.

 

Second, when I look at Arraez, I'm not sure I see the star everyone seems to be sold on (at least everyone on Twitter and in the blogosphere). I see a guy who gets the bat on the ball, but without a lot of authority (35% hard hit rate, 24% FB-IFFB%)). He puts the ball on the ground (42% GB Rate) and last year he benefitted from a .355 BABIP. I guess I see him more as a solid placeholder until Lewis is ready to join the club and take over up the middle, not a reason to be excited about the team.

 

All of that said, I'm definitely excited about the team, and I think everyone is sleeping on how good Rich Hill can be when he's healthy. If Berrios takes a step forward and Hill comes back healthy, that's a 1-2 that can compete with anyone in the league come October.

Your points re: Arraez are fair. I'd argue that there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about him as a long term staple of this team, though. His near 30% line drive rate and excellent plate discipline (2.8% whiff rate and 27% chase rate) show that his 2019 was no fluke. The defense is the biggest knock against Arraez. We'll see how that progresses (or regresses) in 2020.

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#15 Matthew Taylor

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 10:29 AM

 

Do we have evidence that Buxton is going to be fully recovered by ST, or even by opening day? I remember reading that there was some question about that.

Derek Falvey said in November that Buxton is ahead of schedule and on track for Spring Training.

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#16 puckstopper1

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 11:33 AM

Sorry, but I'm a realist when it comes to the Bombas.

 

Losing Cron and Schoop (they hit 20+% of the dingers in 2019) AND the change to the ball will likely mean many less this season.I'm hoping the Twins can adjust and "manufacture" some runs.

 

I totally agree with the statement that the Twins are a very good team, and should have a very good regular season.

 

Now if we just do something about those pesky postseason issues...

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That Twins 2nd baseman - #29 - he doesn't run, he "ca-rew-zes" - Earl Weaver


#17 Dantes929

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 11:40 AM

 

Your points re: Arraez are fair. I'd argue that there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about him as a long term staple of this team, though. His near 30% line drive rate and excellent plate discipline (2.8% whiff rate and 27% chase rate) show that his 2019 was no fluke. The defense is the biggest knock against Arraez. We'll see how that progresses (or regresses) in 2020.

No guarantees but that is true of everyone new and old alike.Another nice indicator is that he is only 22 but has hit well over .300 at every level over a 6 year career.

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#18 Dantes929

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 11:47 AM

No mention of Dobnak.All he did was throw 160 innings of sub 2.00 ERA in 2019 over 163 innings between minors and majors.  

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#19 Matthew Taylor

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 12:13 PM

 

No mention of Dobnak.All he did was throw 160 innings of sub 2.00 ERA in 2019 over 163 innings between minors and majors.  

I'm super intrigued to see how Dobnak does in 2020. Now that there's "tape" out on him we'll see how teams adjust. He's definitely going to get a shot as our 4th (?) starter to open up the season!

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#20 Darius

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 12:53 PM

Reasons to not be as excited as we could be about the upcoming season:

1). Knowing we aren’t as good as our direct competition for the World Series. We weren’t good enough to merely put up a fight in the playoffs last year....and we did nothing to improve this offseason after blowing hot air and making promises to sell season tickets.

I’m excited for the formality and/or process of baseball. Love having it on the radio in the garage while working, in the boat while fishing, etc. But, I have no expectation of a successful season. I already know that the best case scenario is losing in the division series. Hoping for anything beyond that at this point is delusional and about as futile as attempting to count every blade of grass in my yard.

I can tell you I’m not chomping at the bit to get to any games. If I had season tickets, I’d be pretty pissed off with the organization right now. I’m certainly not signing up for any season ticket packages. I can assure you I’m not alone. Massive wasted opportunity for this franchise to really kick the fan base into overdrive. It’s really a shame.