|C||Joe Mauer||SP 1||Scott Baker|
|1B||Justin Morneau||SP 2||Carl Pavano|
|2B||Orlando Hudson||SP 3||Nick Blackburn|
|3B||Nick Punto||SP 4||Kevin Slowey|
|SS||J.J. Hardy||SP 5||Francisco Liriano|
|CF||Denard Span||CL||Joe Nathan|
|RF||Michael Cuddyer||RP||Matt Guerrier|
|DH||Jason Kubel||RP||Jose Mijares|
|DH||Jim Thome||RP||Jon Rauch|
|IF||Brian Buscher||RP||Clay Condrey|
Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.
|Key Additions||Key Losses|
|SS||J.J Hardy||Trade (MIL)||CF||Carlos Gomez||Trade (MIL)|
|2B||Orlando Hudson||Free Agency||SS||Orlando Cabrera||Free Agency|
|DH||Jim Thome||Free Agency||C||Mike Redmond||Free Agency|
Top Prospects: Aaron Hicks (OF), Ben Revere (OF), Carlos Gutierrez (P), Wilson Ramos (C), Danny Valencia (3B)
The Twins had a pretty good season in 2009, posting an 87-76 record en route to an AL Central division title. They spent the month of April without their all-star backstop, Joe Mauer. Not that you could necessarily tell, since he posted a career year. Mauer won the AL batting title with a .365 batting average, hit a career high 28 homers, and drove in 96 runs en route to winning the AL most valuable player award as well. The Twins were also led on offense by RF Michael Cuddyer (32 HR, 94 RBI), DH Jason Kubel (28 HR, 103 RBI), and CF Denard Span (.311, 23 SB). 1B Justin Morneau had a solid year as well (30 HR, 100 RBI), although not necessarily quite to the standard of his MVP season.
The starting rotation was a complete mixed bag last season, as they only got 200+ innings from Scott Baker and Nick Blackburn. Late season additions to the rotation of Carl Pavano and Brian Duensing both helped the Twins stay in the race until they finally caught the Tigers during the last weekend of the season. The bullpen pitched extremely well last season, with Joe Nathan (47 sv, 2.10 ERA), Matt Guerrier (5-1, 2.36 ERA), and Jose Mijares (2-2, 2.34 ERA) all posting excellent seasons in relief.
The Twins won the play-in game against the Tigers, but unfortunately were no match for the eventual World Champion New York Yankees. They were swept in 3 games by the Yankees.
Team Outlook for 2010
As has become the standard for the Twins, they didn’t make a lot of flashy moves this offseason, but did make some excellent moves which will help to improve their team for the 2010 season. The trade to acquire SS J.J. Hardy could pay off hugely, as he will likely provide some more power for the Twins, and all it cost them was a player that had essentially been passed on the depth chart. Resigning SP Carl Pavano should also help to bring some stability to a rotation that is sorely in need of it. I particularly like the signing of 2B Orlando Hudson, as it takes a position where the Twins have been weak the past two seasons and brings in a professional hitter who can also provide some solid defense as well.
Unless it gets done during the season, the biggest topic of discussion during the season will be whether or not the Twins can get C Joe Mauer signed to a contract extension. It seems at this point like both sides want to get this done, and that they’re likely to before the season starts. I think it’s really important that they get this done, as Mauer is probably more representative of his organization than practically anyone else in the league right now. Joe Mauer is the face of the franchise for the Twins, and it would be a gigantic hit to the organization if he ends up walking away from the Twins.
The Twins are also moving into a new outdoor stadium at the start of this season. It remains to be seen how it is going to play, but I think that the Twins lose a major home-field advantage that they had with the Metrodome. That roof was the bane of quite a few visiting outfielders’ existence, as the ball would get lost in it on a fairly consistent basis. That said, I think that the Twins still are the class of the AL Central at this point, and should do pretty well in 2010.
Fantasy Outlook for 2010
All sorts of good fantasy players here, with C Joe Mauer leading the way. RF Michael Cuddyer, DH Jason Kubel, RP Joe Nathan, and 1B Justin Morneau will all end up owned in nearly every league. And of course, there is everyone’s favorite high-risk, high-reward starting pitcher in Francisco Liriano. Liriano has been reported that he pitched well at winter ball, but he is a definite buyer-beware type of pitcher for fantasy.
Prediction for 2010
I think that this Twins team is actually better than last year’s version, and remains the class of the AL Central division. I think that barring a huge rash of injuries, the Twins should win the division pretty easily.
87-75, 1st in the AL Central