The Twins certainly hope that Target Field will host Postseason baseball for the second time in three seasons in 2012.
This might be the absolute boldest of all predictions, but hear me out:
1. The division isn't exactly top-heavy. The Tigers ran away with it in 2011, but were aided largely by excellent seasons from Jhonny Peralta, Alex Avila, Doug Fister, and Jose Valverde, all of whom will have to prove those campaigns weren't a fluke for the club to win 90-plus again. Outside of Justin Verlander, their rotation has a lot to prove. That may be why the club is possibly in the Matt Garza derby.
2. The Twins fill the offensive black holes with competent hitters who should provide a great deal of improvement over the likes of Brian Dinkelman, Rene Rivera, Steve Holm, among others. Doumit, Willingham, and Carroll all help fill roles that were either left wide-open by the previous General Manager, or didn't have the depth required once an everyday player went down. This team is considerably deeper.
3. Every hear of Murphy's Law? Well that applies to the Twins in '11, as everything possible under the Minnesota sun went wrong for the club last season. Even Francisco Liriano's no-hitter was unsightly, as he walked six hitters and only tossed 66 of 123 pitches for strikes. Every single regular, with the exception of Danny Valencia and Michael Cuddyer, missed significant time with an injury. Drew Butera, Matt Tolbert, Luke Hughes, and Rene Rivera won't combined for 1000 PA again, either.
4. This club should simply catch the ball. Last season, the Twins infield saw a 30 point rise in ground ball BABIP from '10. That's absolutely huge for a team fanned a mere 6.0 per nine innings last season, or a full whiff off the league pace. If Carroll, Casilla, and Valencia catch the ball in the infield, look for guys like Carl Pavano and Nick Blackburn to reap the benefits.
All in all? This is probably about a .500 ball club as it currently sits. There's still time to make a few moves, as Dan Wheeler's agent reached out to the Twins in the last week, and there's still room for more positivity to be added to an already relatively positive offseason.