Minnesota Twins: Why Power Will Not Be an Issue During the 2013 MLB Season

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Minnesota Twins: Why Power Will Not Be an Issue During the 2013 MLB Season
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
Despite Josh Willingham's 35 home runs, the Twins ranked last in the American League with 131 last season. Can they improve in 2013?

Entering 2013, the Minnesota Twins have many flaws on their major league roster.

The lack of quality starting pitching and subpar defense all over the diamond are the most publicized, but the grass isn't exactly greener on the other side of the plate.

In 2012, the Twins ranked last in the American League with the Kansas City Royals by hitting 131 home runs. By comparison, the New York Yankees led the AL with 245.

In other words, power was a problem for the Twins lineup.

But I speak about that in past tense because there are certain things building that will make sure that power will not be an issue in 2013.

One major element is the ballpark the Twins play in.

Target Field has been maligned for being a pitcher's park since it opened its gates for the 2010 season. 

There has been no shortage of current and former Twins venting frustration over their new home's reluctance to allow balls over the fence, but after three seasons there may be a solution.

Last season, the Twins pulled 52 of their 70 home runs at Target Field to left field. This graphic shows that not only have the Twins been pulling the ball, but also that opposing teams have done the same during their visits to Minnesota.

A graph of the home runs hit at Target Field during the 2012 season. (Courtesy of ESPN Home Run Tracker)

In 2012, third baseman Trevor Plouffe and Josh Willingham combined to hit 49 of the Twins' 131 home runs. Of those 49, 93 percent were pulled to left field as shown below.

Trevor Plouffe's 2012 Home Run Chart (Courtesy of ESPN Home Run Tracker)
Josh Willingham's 2012 Home Run Chart (Courtesy of ESPN Home Run Tracker)

There is some concern that Willingham and Plouffe's power surge from 2012 may not carry over into this season. However, the charts say that will not be the case and the Twins will have similar success from their top home run threats

Then there's the other premier hitters on the Twins.

Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer both like to take the ball the opposite way into left field, but that's been hard to do since the Twins moved out of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome.

The two have taken their share of grief for not putting up the power numbers Twins fans have grown accustomed to seeing. Yet neither of them have had a healthy season since 2010.

In 2011, Mauer battled what came to be known as bilateral leg weakness, and Morneau was not himself after suffering a concussion in July 2010.

The result was both hitters having an off year in terms of power while they tried to shake off the rust from 2011.

With another season gone, the faces of the franchise will be ready to contribute in a major way in 2013.

Will the Twins hit more home runs in 2013?

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The rest of the team needs to show improvement, but that can be done with an injection of new blood from the minor league system.

Aaron Hicks, Chris Parmelee and Oswaldo Arcia are all expected to join the major league roster at some point during 2013.

All three were able to show power in the Twins system last year as they combined to hit 47 minor league home runs.

While it's not the same as accomplishing that feat in the major leagues, it still can provide an upgrade for a team that saw predecessors Denard Span, Ben Revere and Darin Mastroianni hit seven home runs all last season.

Hicks and Parmelee will likely get the opportunity to play everyday to begin the season, while Arcia will make an appearance sometime around midsummer.

These three will need to hold down starting jobs to do so, but the new blood, along with the other improvements, can allow the Twins to climb out of the American League power cellar.

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