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A.L. Central

“That’s Amore!” Minnesota Twins 2016

2010It wasn’t that long ago that the Twins were perennial playoff contenders from the American League Central. It’s been a few years since their last playoff appearance (2010). That team featured Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Jason Kubel, Michael Cuddyer, Delmon Young, and Francisco Liriano. Of the six, only Joe Mauer remains on the roster and his production has declined due greatly to the wear and tear that a life-long catcher endures. Still, when I think of the Minnesota Twins, I think of a working man’s team. This is to be said of nearly all five teams in the AL Central.

Buxton and SanoIn 2015, the Twins would finish 12 games behind the division leading, and eventual World Series Champions, Kansas City Royals. They fell just short of the Wild Card game finishing three games behind the New York Yankees and Houston Astros. 2016 looks like a year in which Brian Dozier and Trevor Plouffe lead the way followed by up and coming youngsters Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano. In a division that has deadly offensive teams such as the Kansas City Royals, Chicago White Sox, and Detroit Tigers it’s great to see a Minnesota Twins team that is ready to show up to the party with many young, powerful bats.


Notable Off-Season Moves:

December 1 – Signed free agent 1B Byung-ho Park. Park slashed .281/.387/.564 with 210 home runs and 604 RBI in nine season of professional baseball in Korean Baseball Organization (KBO).

December 12 – Invited non-roster RHP Jose Berrios to Spring Training.

While there weren’t many major moves, I like the addition of Park. While his power numbers realistically won’t translate to MLB he’s shown the ability to hit the ball with authority and hit his first grand slam two days ago. At $12mil over four years, Park could wind up being a steal for a miniscule amount of money.

Projected Batting Order:

CF – Danny Santana .280/2/25
2B – Brian Dozier .250/30/90
RF – Miguel Sano .252/28/90
3B – Trevor Plouffe .254/20/84
1B – Joe Mauer .290/10/75
DH – Byung-ho Park .265/20/74
SS – Eduardo Escobar .260/10/58
LF – Eddie Rosario .258/9/51
C – Kurt Suzuki .267/7/49

Projected Pitching Rotation:

Phil Hughes (RHP) 12-8/3.86/150K
Ervin Santana (RHP) 10-9/4.10/115K
Jose Berrios (RHP) 11-11/3.60/140
Tyler Duffey (RHP) 5-9/3.89/101
Tommy Milone (LHP) 9-7/3.55/121
Kevin Jepsen (RHP) [Setup] 2.99/26 Holds/60K
Glen Perkins (LHP) [Closer] 3.09/30 Saves/59

Minor League Maestro Spotlight:

Byron Buxton, CF

ETA: 2016

I predict Buxton starts out in AAA. He looked overpowered during much of the time spend with the Big League club. However, Buxton could see an early call-up if he shows the ability to hit Major League-ready pitching. There’s no questioning his hitting ability, defensive prowess, and speed. He will be a great addition to Fantasy Teams as soon as he starts producing at the Major League level. Expect a .270 average with 90+ runs and 30+ SB for years to come.

Jose Berrios, RHP

ETA: 2016

I truly believe Berrios secures a rotation spot out of Spring Training. The Twins had a weak rotation during much of the 2015 season. That being said, they are due for a strong, young arm and Berrios is that. He brings a mid 90s fastball, plus-curve, and a changeup that is as effective as any pitch in his repertoire. Berrios is my pick for AL ROY.

Max Kepler, RF

ETA: 2016

Kepler played a lot of center field in the minors. However, this will not be the case with Byron Buxton manning center field for the foreseeable future. There’s a slight possibility Kepler earns the starting right field job out of Spring Training. The key for Kepler is staying healthy. 2015 was a big season for Kepler as he hit .318 with nine home runs and 71 RBI. There will be growing pains in 2016, but he should get a great amount of time to learn on the fly for the Minnesota Twins.

Fantasy Outlook:

ParkThere are many bright spots on the Twins roster. There’s no questioning Brian Dozier, Miguel Sano, and Trevor Plouffe will be owned in nearly 100% of leagues. While Joe Mauer is on the decline, he can still provide some offensive production as a late-round draft pick. While Byung-ho Park’s (featured image) power numbers won’t translate identically in MLB, he could surprise with 20+ HR. He is another player that could be a sleeper pick while many owners overlook, or neglect, Park’s power potential. Jose Berrios is the only starting pitcher I’m targeting in the Twins rotation. While others may be adds during the season, Berrios has the greatest upside and potential. In leagues that have holds as a category, Kevin Jepsen could provide great production with 20+. As always, Glen Perkins is one of the most undervalued closers in the game. Look for another season in which Perkins rewards owners with 30+ saves in 2016.


Season Projection: 81-81 (4th in AL Central)


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Major League Fantasy Baseball Weekly Show: Join Lou Landers and Kyle Amore live on Thursday March 10th, 2016 from 8-10pm EST for episode #4 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Weekly. We will discuss player positions and help prepare you for the coming draft season. This will run every Thursday as a live broadcast that will take live callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. This week we will discuss the short stop and 2nd base players to target or avoid in 2016.

This week’s guests are Marc Foster and Nick DeSisto. Marc was a writer with us in 2012 and 2013. He is one the original 8 core members who has been playing in our leagues since 2008 and he will be a frequent guest on our shows this year. Nick is going into his 3rd year as an MLFB owner and he will also be a frequent radio guest this year.

Come join a lively debate!


(Click the RED link below to listen to the show)

Major League Fantasy Baseball Show: Join Corey D Roberts on Sunday March 13th, 2016 from 7-9pm EST for this week’s episode of the Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show. We are a live call in radio show so we encourage callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. We begin the division by division break downs with everything fantasy and MLB relevant in the A.L. East.

Our guests this week are Zak Sauer and Hernan Batista. Zak is a writer with Hernan is a key owner in our leagues and will be a regular guest on our shows this year.

Come join a lively debate!

I’m a former collegiate and semi-pro baseball player. Chicago sports are the love of my life [Cubs, Bears, Blackhawks, Bulls] as well as European football. I promise Cubs fans that if Theo can’t bring a World Series, I will knock down all doors until I work my way up to GM and bring home a World Series to the Northside of Chicago!

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