How many baseball fans know that the Minnesota Twins won one less game than the Yankees last year? Not many, I am sure. This is fantasy land though where wins in real life don't necessarily translate into fantasy points.
You will not find many Twins going as high as you might think. One thing that is perfectly clear though is that Target Field is holding back many Twins from decent power numbers.
The 2011 version of the Twins isn't much different than last years team with the only fantasy-wise addition to the offense being Japan's batting champion Tsuyoshi Nishhioka (can you say that three times fast?).
Will Justin Morneau regain form after his season ending concussion last year? Will Joe Mauer's power return? Will Danny Valencia take the next step? Lets take a look!
Don't forget to check out our 2011 Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit
Mixed league auction values in parentheses.
CATCHER: JOE MAUER ($27)
Joe has been the number one catcher off the board in ESPN and CBS leagues this year. He carries questions of health with him, so if you draft him, be prepared for possible injury issues. Target Field is also a problem where Joe hit only one home run at home last year. In this park he will never reach his 2009 power numbers so I am projecting a line of .320/17/90 considering he is healthy for most of the year.
FIRST BASEMAN: JUSTIN MORNEAU ($22)
Morneau was having the best season of his career until July when he suffered a concussion sliding into second base. In fact, there were whispers of MVP coming out of the American League into early summer. It still remains to be seen if he can shake the post concussion symptoms and return to his .300/30/100 RBI form. Huge risk-reward candidate here so the call is yours. If you can get him sixth round or later he is a chance worth taking.
SECOND BASE: TSUYOSHI NISHIOKA ($11)
He lead Japan last year with a .346 batting average so he can certainly stick the ball. Yoshi will throw a few steals in and will certainly score runs hitting in the two-hole for the Twinkies. Currently he is the 18-20th second sacker off the boards in most leagues so at best now he is fantasy irrelevant until we see what he can do.
SHORTSTOP: ALEXI CASILLA ($2)
Qualifying at both SS and 2B, it looks like the Twins would like to give Casilla another shot to start, but it remains to be seen if he can do anything with his chance. He has no power and doesn't hit any better than .270. Alexi was a pretty good base stealer in the minor leagues but doesn't seem to run much at the big league level. He is fantasy irrelevant at this time.
THIRD BASE: DANNY VALENCIA ($10)
Valencia finished third in the AL in Rookie Of The Year voting last year. He hit .311 in 300 AB while showing some pop later in the season. I think a line of .290/14/75 is in the cards for 2011 which unfortunately places him as the 22nd third baseman off many draft boards.
OUTFIELD: DELMON YOUNG ($17)
Young had a breakout year in 2010 going for a .298/21/112 year. Target Field held him to only six home runs though so we can not expect big numbers at least in the HR department. He is a former number one draft pick in 2003 so the potential is there for bigger things from the 25-year-old. Delmon is going in the ninth round or later in most drafts.
DENARD SPAN ($13)
Denard will start in CF and lead off for the Twins. He will steal 25-30 bases with 80+ runs and that is where his worth lies. I recommend maybe a flier on him in the late rounds if you need to boost those two categories. His batting average dropped 47 points from last year so it is reasonable to expect him to come back a bit in that category .
JASON KUBEL ($12)
Kubel still can't hit lefties as he has a lifetime .236 average against them. He posted a .249/21/92 line last year. He will play full time and I am projecting a .260/23/85 type year .
MICHAEL CUDDYER ($12)
Cuddyer qualifies at both first base and the outfield. He had off season knee surgery and should be 100 percent as we start the 2011 season. His HR and RBI totals were down last year. Projections have him around a .280/15/80, being taken right around the same time as Kubel in drafts this year so pick one and roll with him. Early season lineup projections have Cuddyer hitting ahead of Kubel in the lineup.
DESIGNATED HITTER: JIM THOME ($5)
I am listing Jim out of respect because he still has game at the age of 40. Thome is just fun to watch as he hit a home run one out of every 11 AB last year. He qualifies only at DH so he is limited. I don't expect another 25 home run year but if you are desperate for homers and Morneau is limited again, he just might reach 20.
Written by John Marino exclusively for www.thefantasyfix.com
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