In 2008, the Minnesota Twins finished 88-75, barely missing the playoffs after losing a one-game playoff against the Chicago White Sox. I highly doubt the Twins will be good enough to have a chance at a one-game playoff this year.
All third basemen
The Twins seem to always find a way to win when people doubt them, so I could easily be wrong here. They also have Liriano back for a full season, and have a pretty nice rotation overall.
Unsustainable BABIPs and BA w/RISP rates.
Joe Crede, Luis Ayala
MAYBE Delmon Young, but nobody knows with this guy.
Key(s) To Success
They need Joe Crede healthy, Delmon Young to finish developing, Carlos Gomez to be good - basically some solid offensive production outside of Morneau and Mauer. I don't know if they can get that.
They also need to improve in relief. Losing Reyes and Neshek being out again will hurt. Mijares should be solid for them again, though.
Also, they are completely screwed if Mauer's health concerns turn out to be serious.
C: (Joe Mauer)
1B: Justin Morneau
2B: Alexi Casilla
SS: Nick Punto
3B: Joe Crede
LF: Delmon Young
CF: Carlos Gomez
RF: Denard Span
DH: Jason Kubel/Mike Cuddyer
RP: Luis Ayala
RP: Craig Breslow
RP: Jose Mijares
RP: Matt Guerrier
SU: Jesse Crain
CL: Joe Nathan
2009 Projection: 84-78
The Twins have definitely been sort of an anomaly every year. Somehow they end up finding a way to win. I doubt it happens though. Again, the offense is going to struggle. Span will come way back down to earth (.342 BABIP in 2008), I'm not a fan of Gomez, and their infield outside of Morneau/Mauer is a mess.
Their rotation should be good. I'm a huge fan of both Slowey and Baker, and both could be very good in addition to Liriano. Their bullpen concerns me, though. There's not much there outside of Nathan.
Overall, I just think this team got really lucky last season, and won't continue to win games the way they did then. I definitely think that many Twins fans will be disappointed in 2009.
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