With the recent power booming in the AL East, there's been a team in the shadows doing just as well: The Minnesota Twins.
With names like Morneau, Mauer, Cuddyer, and so on, the Twins have one of the most well-rounded lineups in the majors. Able to get hits, homers, and play great defense gives the Twins a chance to win everyday. They've been on a little bit of a slump recently, though, and are only 1.5 games up on the Tigers.
The recent rumors of the Twins trading for Cliff Lee brought a very bright chance for the Twins to not only make the playoffs, but make a serious run for a title. Imagine a rotation with Lee, Baker, Liriano, and the red-hot Pavano; the Twins would go from a good team to a great team very quickly.
With Lee also having a complete game streak going, trading for him would solidify the AL Central title. Being able to go deep into the ball game, Lee would give a breather to much of the Twins' bullpen.
Going away from the pitching part of the game, we now focus on the "Golden Boys," Mauer and Morneau. With arguably the best catcher and one of the top first basemen on the same team, the Twins' three and four hitters pack a powerful punch. Morneau is putting up MVP-like numbers and Mauer just starting to get into his groove, which gives the Twins a chance with or without Lee.
Elsewhere on the Twins' roster, Delmon Young is showing everyone lately why he was drafted first overall. Giving the Twins an extra boost in ball games, Young is joined by two other great corner outfielders, Cuddyer and Kubel, who have also been putting up some good numbers.
The Twins' infield is a defensive juggernaut. Hudson, Hardy, and Punto give hitters havoc when they make contact. However, having Hardy on the DL has been a minor setback for the Twins. Luckily, he'll be back shortly. The recent offensive struggles for Nick Punto has also give the Twins some problems. Look for Danny Valencia to get more game time.
Recently pounding two homers against the Tigers, Twins' designated hitter Jim Thome has shown everyone why he is one of my favorite players. No pitcher in the MLB can forget about the slugger.
Looking at the long-haul:
- The Twins look like the front-runner for Lee. With the Minnesota's new payroll, don't count out him resigning with the Twins after the season is over.
- Look for the Twins to give away Ramos, Blackburn, or possibly Valencia for Lee.
- If Valencia is still around, he could be getting used to Target Field.
- Don't count out the possibility of the Twins permanently having Cuddyer at 3rd. This move gives the Twins an opportunity to fit more players onto the field, allowing Thome to DH, with Kubel in the field.
- The Twins may go out looking for a 3rd baseman such as Lowe.
- Justin Morneau wins the AL MVP.
- Cliff Lee wins the AL Cy Young, with the Minnesota Twins. He also re-signs with the team following the season.
- Minnesota finishes with a record of 95-67, winning the AL Central over the Tigers.
- Twins win the World Series 4-2 over the St. Louis Cardinals. Delmon Young wins the World Series MVP.