Opinion: On the 2013 Minnesota Twins; why fans should be optimistic about the future

Plus 5 things they need to do to be suc­cess­ful this season

After a mis­er­able last two years for the Min­nesota Twins, the team and fans are look­ing for an improved team in 2013. The Twins made many improve­ments to the team in the off-season. They traded away Denard Span and Ben Revere to the Nation­als and Phillies respectively.

In return the Twins got some much needed pitch­ing. From the Nation­als the Twins got Alex Meyer. Meyer is a hard throw­ing, tall, right-hander who lights up the radar gun and has a nasty slider. He is also work­ing on a change-up which some scouts say has got­ten much bet­ter. MLB.com has Meyer as the Twins num­ber three prospect on their Twins Top 20 Prospects. Meyer could see time with the Twins in 2013 but it is likely we won’t see him until the 2014 season.

In the Ben Revere trade, Min­nesota acquired pitch­ers Vance Wor­ley and Trevor May. Wor­ley will jump right into the Twins rota­tion while May will likely start the sea­son at the Twins Double-A affil­i­ate in New Britain. May is listed at num­ber seven on the list of the Twins top 20 prospects.

The Twins cer­tainly have revamped their dis­mal rota­tion that we saw last year. The Twins also signed for­mer Pirates right­ies Kevin Cor­reia and Mike Pel­frey. Both those guys are expected to jump into the rota­tion along with Worley.

So what will the other pieces of the rota­tion look like? Well, The rota­tion will be led by the only return­ing starter from last sea­son, Scott Dia­mond. Dia­mond had some­what of a break­out sea­son in 2012 record­ing 12 wins for the Twins which led the team. The Twins will have plenty of com­pe­ti­tion for that fifth spot in the rota­tion. Those options include famil­iar names to Twins fans such as Brian Duensing, Liam Hen­driks, Cole DeVries, Sam Deduno and Anthony Swarzak. There is also Kyle Gib­son. Gib­son is com­ing off Tommy John surgery last sea­son but is healthy now and on the Twins 40-Man Roster.

The Twins also have non-roster invi­tee Rich Harden. Harden is also rehab­bing from an injury and is at Twins camp hop­ing to get a shot to pitch at the Major League level once again.

There is no doubt the Twins can hit the ball. They have a good offen­sive team; with main­stays like Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau and Josh Will­ing­ham fill­ing out the mid­dle of the order, Min­nesota has good offen­sive pro­duc­tion sur­round­ing them. Trevor Plouffe is look­ing to hit the ball well again this year after hit­ting 24 home runs last season.

So with all said, he are five things the Twins will have to do to be suc­cess­ful in 2013;

  1.  GOOD PITCHING – First off they need good pitch­ing to be suc­cess­ful. This is by far the most impor­tant of the five. After hav­ing an ERA (earned run aver­age) of 4.77 as a team (third worst in major league base­ball) the Twins will have to give up less runs. The guys in the rota­tion will have to go deep into the games and throw a lot of innings. Qual­ity starts are impor­tant in base­ball and you need to give that bullpen a rest once in a while.
  2. OFFENSIVE PRODUCTION – The Twins no doubt have a very good heart of their order. Mauer, Will­ing­ham and Morneau are going to hit the ball. The rest of the lineup has to fol­low suit. Trevor Plouffe hit 24 home runs last year, but only drove in 55 runs. That run pro­duc­tion needs to increase which begins with get­ting on base.
  3. GETTING ON BASE – Min­nesota fin­ished the sea­son with the sec­ond fewest strike­outs in Major League Base­ball and the fifth best on base per­cent­age in the Amer­i­can League. This needs to con­tinue. Guys get­ting on base in front the mid­dle of the Min­nesota order are going to help the Twins. If they get on base Mauer, Morneau, Will­ing­ham, Ryan Doumit and Plouffe will drive them in.
  4. GOOD DEFENSE – Last year was a bad year defen­sively for the Twins. They fin­ished year in the bot­tom ten among best team field­ing per­cent­ages in base­ball. Defense has been a hall­mark of the Min­nesota Twins recently. They need to clean things up defen­sively in order to have a shot. With play­ers like Pedro Flo­ri­mon and Jamey Car­roll in the infield, the Twins need to be stronger defensively.
  5. LEADERSHIP – Min­nesota needs some­one to step up and be a leader. Being a leader is just as impor­tant at the pro­fes­sional level as it is at the col­lege and high school lev­els. They need play­ers like Mauer to be a leader and inspire the team to play with pas­sion. Look at the 2012 Oak­land A’s; that team played with a pas­sion for the game and was excited to be there every night. You just don’t see that with the Twins. Too often they get deflated when they get down early in a game, but if they can keep their hopes high, they have a really good chance at winning.

This year may not be the Twins year, but Twins fans should be excited about the future. The Twins have done a great job of rebuild­ing this fran­chise from the ground up. The farm sys­tem is solid with play­ers who have tremen­dous upsides. Twins fans have to be patient and hope­ful for now. With play­ers like Byron Bux­ton, Alex Meyer, Miguel Sano and many oth­ers, the Twins have a solid group of prospects mixed with a group of good vet­er­ans who can take this team back to post­sea­son and beat those damn Yan­kees in the first round for once.

Tar­get Feild

Image cour­tesy of Flikr.com
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