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A.L. Central

2017 Team Preview: Minnesota Twins

Let’s not beat around the bush here. The Twins are not a very good baseball team. Just two years ago the team led by Tori Hunter was a competitive squad, but last season the team faltered to the tune of a 59-103 record. The franchise is now in the midst of a rebuild under the leadership of a new front office that has set its course.

The bright side for Twins’ fans is that they have a pair of budding superstars that have already arrived to Target Field in Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton. They both have endured their fair share of struggles so far in their young careers, but they possess the type of talent to become franchise cornerstones. These two are the headliners but there is also a collection of other promising young players, like Max Kepler and Jose Berrios, that the Twins hope will compliment those superstars. All of these young guys will need to make the necessary adjustments in order to solidify themselves as productive, everyday players at the next level.

The future of the Twins hinges on the development of young, homegrown talent. Rebuilds are a slow, enduring process that is difficult on the fans and frustrating for ownership, but it is a necessary evil in order to build a team that can sustain championship contention. The success this season will not be measured by the Twins’ place in the AL Central standings but rather on the development of young talent at all levels of the franchise.

Notable Additions & Subtractions for 2017

The Twins lost two notable members from the 2016 roster. The first was left-handed pitcher Tommy Milone who signed with the Milwaukee Brewer this offseason. The other departure was corner infielder Trevor Plouffe’s decision to sign a free-agent contract with the Oakland Athletics. Neither is a franchise altering loss and will most likely benefit the team long term as it provides playing time opportunities for some of the younger players.

The most important acquisition of the offseason for the Twins was the signing of free agent backstop Jason Castro. His experience will help lead the pitching staff and he adds a veteran presence to the Twins’ clubhouse. The team also signed free agent righty Matt Belisle to add depth to the bullpen.

The other moves this winter came in the form of MiLB contracts to a number of veteran MLB guys. This list includes the likes of Craig Breslow, Ben Paulsen, JB Schuck, and Chris Gimenez. The only lock to begin the year on the big league roster is Breslow. The others are all still competing for one of the final roster spots. The most likely to win a job is Chris Gimenez as the Twins could use a backup catcher. Schuck and Paulsen appear destined for Triple-A to begin the year.

Projected Opening Day Lineup

jea 2878 twins royals

  • Brian Dozier (2B)
  • Byron Buxton (OF)
  • Joe Mauer (C)
  • Miguel Sano (3B)
  • Kenny Vargas (DH)
  • Max Kepler (OF)
  • Eddie Rosario (OF)
  • Jorge Polanco (SS)
  • Jason Castro (C)

Projected Opening Day Rotation & Notable Bullpen Arms

  • Ervin Santana
  • Hector Santiago
  • Kyle Gibson
  • Phil Hughes
  • Adalberto Media
  • Bullpen
    • Closer – Brandon Kintzler
    • Set up – Ryan Pressly
    • Set up – Matt Belisle

*Trevor May – will miss 2017 with TJS

*Glen Perkins – surgery on torn shoulder labrum (6/23/16): questionable to start season

Prospects to Know for 2017

Jose BerriosUSATSI_8442262.jpg

Berrios technically is not a prospect since he logged 58.1 innings with the Twins last year, but since he will begin the year in Triple-A this season he deserves recognition here. His debut for the Twins last season was less than ideal as he looked totally overmatched. In fourteen starts he finished the year with a 3-7 record and an 8.02 ERA. The 22-year-old Puerto Rican native has an electric repertoire that includes a mid-nineties fastball, sharp curveball, and an above average changeup that he employs as his out pitch. Berrios has the talent to thrive in the bigs but now needs to refine those tools. His peak potential is that of a number two or three starter, and he could be used as a streamer later in the season once he gets called back up.

Adalberto Media

Mejia was acquired by the Twins at last year’s trade deadline in exchange for Eduardo Nunez. He is a thick-bodied lefty known for his ability to throw strikes and keep the ball down in the zone. He offers a fastball that sits in the low nineties that is complemented by an above average slider and average changeup. The ceiling for Mejia isn’t particularly high but he profiles as a back-end of the rotation starter that will begin the season in the Twins’ rotation and could deserve a look in deep mixed and AL-only leagues

Key Spring Training Position Battles

Fifth Starter

Headed into camp the back end of the rotation was the biggest question mark. When Spring Training began there were a handful of guys vying for the job including Adalberto Mejia, Tyler Duffey, and Jose Berrios. Since camp started the list has slowly been trimmed down, and the most recent cut was Berrios as he was optioned to Triple-A. The last two battling for the job were Adalberto Mejia and Tyler Duffey. It is now clear that Mejia will start the season in the rotation but all three are likely to log their fair share of innings throughout the season.

Backup Catcher

Chris Gimenez, John Ryan Murphy, prospect Mitch Garver are all competing for the backup catcher role on this team. Offseason signing Jason Castro will receive the lion’s share of innings behind the dish for the Twins, and all three of these backup options are defense-first catchers that don’t provide much punch with the bat. Needless to say, none are relevant for fantasy owners.

Designated Hitter

Byung-Ho Park had quite the rocky rollercoaster of an offseason. In the offseason,  the Twins’ outrighted him off the forty man roster but he cleared waivers and remains on the team. He headed into Spring Training this year with a chip on his shoulder and the tall task of having to secure a roster spot. At the start of camp, it was a three-horse race for the DH role as Park competed with Kenny Vargas and Robbie Grossman. Both Vargas and Grossman have battled some minor nagging injuries in camp and Park has done nothing but rake. It appears Vargas will begin the season as the primary DH but the job is far from secure.

Fantasy Breakdown

There is plenty of fantasy value on this Twins roster. Sure, it’s not quite a star-studded lineup yet but there are a number of guys that make a solid Miguel+Sano+Baltimore+Orioles+v+Minnesota+cXKC56wMBuKlcontribution to your squad. The two names that stand out are young talents Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton; both have potential through the roof. Buxton is the more appealing of the two because of the stolen bases he’ll add. Sano, on the other hand, is a pure power bat. Obviously, he’s not as valuable in the modern game but the potential for thirty homers is enticing. Both guys have severe strikeout problems and will hurt your average.

The stud in this lineup is Brian Dozier, but given the depth at second base and home run output you can find around the league, it may be better not to overdraft him. If you’re looking for a boost in average, Joe Mauer is your guy. He won’t provide the elite numbers he used to but he’s a steady contributor.

The only good starting pitching option for fantasy purposes in this rotation is Ervin Santana. He’s nothing special but won’t hurt you. Depending on the depth of your league, Hector Santiago is a potential option but he’s coming off the worst season of career and is a risky pick. Finally, Brandon Kintzler will open the season and can provide some saves. The problem is that he’s on the Twins and opportunities may be scarce.

Final Thoughts

It’s definitely a rebuilding season for the Twins and the process will take a few more years, but there are some bright spots that give fans some hope. Fantasy owners need to pick and choose their spots with these guys but there is value that can be found.

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Major League Fantasy Football 2017 League Openings

(Click the RED link below to listen)

Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join Corey D Roberts, and Kyle Amore live on Sunday March 26th, 2017 from 7-9pm EST for episode #80 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio. We are a live broadcast that will take callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. This week we will discuss players in the draft going for nice bargains.

Our guest this week is Steve Hamilton. Steve is a writer, and editor with majorleaguefantasysports.com focusing on baseball. His articles publish every Saturday.

You can find our shows on I-Tunes. Just search for Major League Fantasy Sports in the podcasts section. For Android users go to “Podcast Republic,” then download that app, and search for “Major League Fantasy Sports Show”

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(Click the RED link below to listen)

Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join Corey D Roberts, and Kyle Amore live on Sunday April 2nd, 2017 from 7-9pm EST for episode #81 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio. We are a live broadcast that will take callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. OPENING DAY SPECIAL! We will discuss some of the days events as well as relevant fantasy baseball updates.

Our guests this week are Ron Shandler, and Bilal Chaudry. Ron is FSTA Hall of Famer, and one of the pioneers of fantasy baseball. You can find his work at ronshandler.com. Bilal is a veteran owner in Major League Fantasy Baseball leagues and frequent radio guest.

You can find our shows on I-Tunes. Just search for Major League Fantasy Sports in the podcasts section. For Android users go to “Podcast Republic,” then download that app, and search for “Major League Fantasy Sports Show”

Native Mainer. Ski the East. I enjoy dynasty league formats and am partial to Latin American prospects. Currently living in the Dominican Republic.

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@CraigMish No convincing needed. It was the set up for, in my opinion, the most lopsided trade of all time. I still can't believe MLB didn't block that deal. Smh

About 6 hours ago from Corey Roberts's Twitter via Twitter for Android

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