Minnesota hasn’t won the AL Central since 2020, and the team has undergone an overhaul the last two seasons. Many veteran pieces that helped the club win back-to-back division titles are gone, so there are questions about how the team will perform during the upcoming campaign. Here’s what national writers say about the Twins, which naturally includes some good and some bad.
The Twins received votes in the category of being one of baseball’s most underrated teams, but the White Sox and the Guardians were also on the list. When picking the division winner, the Twins finished with 29% of the vote in second place behind the Guardians (54.8%). This position seems like an appropriate spot for the Twins, with Cleveland coming off a season where they won the division by more than ten games. Dan Connolly thinks Carlos Correa will be playing with “a monumental chip on his shoulder,” which could be exciting for Twins fans to watch.
Fifteen of the 28 ESPN writers believe the Guardians will win the AL Central. Chicago finished with the second most votes (7 votes), and Minnesota was third (6 votes). Their write-up focused on how the White Sox can catch the Guardians in the division and didn’t mention the Twins, even though they finished one vote behind Chicago. Minnesota received two votes to be an AL Wild Card team, one more than the White Sox. It seems unlikely that any AL Central teams will accumulate enough wins to earn a Wild Card spot, so the Twins will need to win the division to qualify for the playoffs.
The Sporting News uses a projection model to predict the standings of every MLB division. According to their model, Cleveland projects to win the division with an 84-78 record. Minnesota is second with an 82-80 record, and the White Sox finish one game behind the Twins. SN said, “It’s hard not to see the upside in Minnesota.” They believe in the starting pitching staff and some young position players that will be added to the current core. Like many outlets, predicting how injuries will impact the Twins is hard. Their writers believe Cleveland will significantly outperform their projected win total, which might make it hard for the Twins to keep pace at the top of the division.
MLB.com doesn’t mention the Twins in their division winner predictions because their writers believe the division belongs to Cleveland. Their writers feel that the Guardians will use the same formula as 2022, with strong starting pitching and a high-contact offensive approach. Minnesota also doesn’t figure into their AL Wild Card discussion, with Seattle, Toronto, and Tampa projected to qualify for those spots. In MLB.com’s awards preview, Rocco Baldelli received votes as a candidate for AL Manager of the Year. However, nearly every contending team’s manager received some votes.
CBS Sports might have the highest view of the Twins from any national outlet, with three of their six writers picking them to win the division. All six of their writers have the Twins in first or second place in the division. Maybe this is more of a sign of them not believing in the White Sox, who finished third on every ballot. Only one of their writers has the Twins as a Wild Card team, but that has more to do with much of the group believing they will win the division.
Out of 27 FanGraphs writers, 12 picked the Twins to win the AL Central with 12 votes going to the Guardians and three going to White Sox. The Twins also received two votes as the final AL Wild Card spot, so 14 of their writers believe they will qualify for the postseason. Surprisingly, four of their writers believe the Twins will be the number two overall seed in the American League.
Only one USA Today writer has the Twins making the playoffs. Jesse Yomtov lists the Twins as his third AL Wild Card team behind the Rays and the Mariners. Five of their seven writers have Cleveland winning the division, with the other two voting for Chicago.
Who’s projections will be the most accurate? What do the Twins need to do to beat the odds? Is there a chance for an AL Central team to qualify as a Wild Card? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
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