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In 2012, the Twins penciled in an offense that was consistently average in terms of all the other American League clubs (10th in runs, seventh in hits, 10th in RBI, seventh in AVG, fifth in OBP). There are two stats that stand out, however: The Twins were dead last in home runs, but first place in stolen bases.
Statistically, last season, the Twins' biggest strengths were their ability to get on base and steal bases.
Even with the departure of Ben Revere, this Twins team will be fast. In fact, Revere's most likely replacement—Darin Mastroianni—stole 21 bases in only 186 plate appearances.
The key now to improve an average offense is getting runs in. That's why the middle is the most important part to this new-look lineup.
If Joe Mauer can keep up his 2012 form, Justin Morneau can continue getting healthier and Josh Willingham can duplicate his huge numbers from last year, this will be a scary lineup.
But there are others who can contribute as well. This will be Chris Parmelee's first real shot at breaking camp with the Twins. Will we see the Parmelee that posted .229 in 2012? Or is this kid the real deal, as evidenced by his (short) breakout stint in 2011 where he hit .355?
Trevor Plouffe is another kid with big-bat potential in this lineup. A definite 30-home run threat if he stays healthy, Plouffe has a few areas he needs to clean up to become a sure thing at third base for the Twins.
The most exciting addition may be that of Aaron Hicks. He's the Twins' No. 5 overall prospect and is coming off a big year at AA New Britain. According to Baseball America, he has the best strike zone discipline, the best outfield defense and the best arm in the Twins system.
Sounds like Denard Span would have had some competition. Darin Mastroianni definitely will. Regardless of who lands the center field job out of the gate in 2013, expect Hicks to stick sooner rather than later.
Overall, it's hard for me to not get excited about this lineup. Despite the lack of a proven leadoff hitter, there is power, speed and discipline throughout. Throw in two former MVPs and the Twins just might have enough veteran leadership and young talent to amp up their offense tremendously in 2013.