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5 Reasons the Minnesota Twins Could Be the Surprise Team of 2013

Matt LindholmContributor IIAugust 16, 2012

5 Reasons the Minnesota Twins Could Be the Surprise Team of 2013

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    The 50-67 Minnesota Twins' 2012 campaign might look dim, but their future is quite the opposite.

    Clearly, 2012 is not the year of Minnesota's return to AL Central glory from the 63-99 embarrassment of 2011.  However, 2013 might be the year they surprise everyone.

    Despite their record, the Twins are showing signs of promise with their newest roster moves and improved healthiness of their lineup.  

    The following article evaluates how the Twins could be the surprise team of 2013.

Call-Ups

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    Perhaps the best thing the Twins did in May was call up Ben Revere and Scott Diamond.

    Since the Twins called up Revere in May, they are 36-39 (.480) with him in the game.  Revere has posted a .319 BA (fifth in the AL), four 3B, 28 SB (second in the AL), and 46 R.  His infectious smile and never-say-die hustle resembles Kirby Puckett.  Obviously, Revere's work ethic and production aren't the only reasons why the Twins jumped .100 winning percentage points since his mid-May call-up.

    Starting pitcher Scott Diamond has been extremely consistent since his May arrival to Minnesota.  Currently, Diamond has pitched a 10-5 record, 2.97 ERA, around seven innings per outing, and a .271 BAA through 121.1 IP.  The Canadian is currently on pace to go 14-7 on the year and theoretically 20-10 if the Twins had him at the start of the season.

    A .319 hitting No. 2 hitter and a starting pitcher who can win two-thirds of the time are going to jump start any team.  Look out 2013. 

2012 Acquisitions

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    Without a doubt, Minnesota's three "big" acquisitions of the offseason have had the biggest payoff thus far in the season.  The Big Three of course are Josh Willingham, Ryan Doumit and Jamey Carroll.

    Willingham is on pace to hit 42 HR, 122 RBI and 97 R, with a .261/.373/.544 line.  His consistent productivity and clutch hitting are going to be a vital part of the Twins' success next season.

    Doumit has been another consistent addition to the Twins lineup.  The defensively versatile switch-hitter is batting .294/.341/.493 with 14 HR and 59 RBI (on pace for 19 HR and 82 RBI).  Solid numbers like this will carry over to next year and truly help the 2013 Twins.

    Though Carroll's .245/.332/.289 might not win him any roster spots on fantasy leagues, the scrappy UT player's defensive reliability is noteworthy.  The improvement he brought to Minnesota's middle infield has helped improve the 13th-ranked defense of 2011 to ninth in 2012.  If the Twins want to be back on top, they need consistency in the middle infield.

Trades and Releases

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    The Twins rightfully cut ties with dead-weight pitchers this season, Jason Marquis and Francisco Liriano.  The two combined for a 5-14 record and 6.38 ERA, through 134 IP.  The two also combined for a salary of $8.5 million.

    The Twins could also look to do the same with Nick Blackburn and Carl Pavano.  These two have a combined 6-13 record and 6.79 ERA, through 156.1 IP.  Blackburn and Pavano collectively are paid $13.25 million for 2012.

    Ridding the team of inefficiencies and inflated salaries will allow the Twins to call up talent or even sign better talent for 2013.

Big Names Are Coming Around

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    The injured plagued trio of Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau and Denard Span are finally healthy.

    Mauer has been healthy and much more consistent this season.  The Minnesota native is hitting .320/.416/.438 and has appeared in 108 games with 45 games left in the season.  Last season Mauer played in just 82 games and hit a meager .287.

    Morneau, perhaps out of all of Minnesota's players, had the most to prove this season.  Though he is not back to his old self, Morneau has shown us that he still has a lot of gas left in the tank.  Thus far, the 31-year-old is hitting .276/.338/.478 with 16 HR and 58 RBI (on pace for 22 HR and 82 RBI).

    Span is not the premier leadoff man from 2009 (.311/.392/.415, 10 3B and 97 R), but he has been consistent this season.  Span is hitting .287/.351/.397 with 31 2B and 58 R.  With a healthy Mauer and Morneau behind him, Span needs to get on base and score.

    If these three remain healthy next season (especially Mauer and Morneau), the Twins' chances of winning the AL Central are greatly improved.

The Fans

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    Despite a horrendous season, the Minnesota Twins managed to have the second-best attendance in the AL in 2011.  2012 is a different story.

    So far in 2012, the Twins have dropped down to sixth-best in attendance, averaging 4,000 fewer attendees per game than in 2011.

    Simple economics tells us that the fewer paying customers a company has, the less money they will make.  In other words, in 2012 the Twins are profiting 11 percent less than in 2011 (on ticket sales).

    Plain and simple:  

    • Wins=Happy Customers=$$$
    • Losses=Unhappy Customers=Less $

    Customers aren't happy with losing.  This will force the Twins organization to improve their lineup and subsequently win more games in 2013.

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