Last season, the Minnesota Twins had a record of 78-84. That record was good enough to get them to second place in the American League Central Division. The Cleveland Indians won the division title in 2018, the same as they did in 2017, and 2016 as well. The last time the Twins won the AL Central Division title was in 2010, their first year at Target Field. However, Things could be very different in 2019.
The Twins have added more power to their lineup, and have added one new face in the bullpen so far as well.
The Twins Will Win The American League Central Division
On October 2nd, the Twins fired manager Paul Molitor just one year after he was awarded American League Manager of The Year honours. They replaced Molitor with former Tampa Bay Rays field coordinator Rocco Baldelli on October 25th.
Since Baldelli’s hiring, the Twins have signed five free agents. C.J. Cron, Nelson Cruz, Blake Parker, Jonathan Schoop, and Ronald Torreyes. The Twins may not be done adding pieces to their roster either.
The addition of Parker helps fill the void of closer out of the bullpen. Last season, Parker went 2-1 with a 3.26 ERA in 67 games. He earned 14 saves in 66.1 innings pitched with the Angels.
DH/OF Cruz adds more than just his power bat to the middle of the lineup. They also add his veteran presence to the dugout and in the clubhouse. This is an underrated signing by Minnesota.
Another underrated signing could be the addition of the second baseman Schoop. Schoop split 2018 with the Milwaukee Brewers and the Baltimore Orioles. He played 85 games for Baltimore and 46 with Milwaukee. Schoop struggled a bit at the plate when he joined Milwaukee, hitting just .202 in those 46 games. He had four home runs with Milwaukee and 17 with Baltimore giving him a total of 21 on the season. Schoop proved he is capable of hitting 30 homers in a season when he hit 32 in 2017 with Baltimore.
Filling #7’s Shoes
To fill the huge hole on right side of the infield left by Joe Mauer at first base, the Twins signed former Rays first baseman C.J. Cron. Cron adds depth to the heart of the lineup as well. He hit 30 home runs last season while driving in 74. He is thought of as more of an offensive player, but his 6’4″ frame will provide a very solid defensive presence at first base. In 61 games started at first base last season, Cron had 2 errors and 46 double plays turned. He also had 463 putouts.
To the rest of the Major Leagues, on paper, the Twins look like they might still be a step or two away from being true Postseason contenders, but it does appear that they have added the necessary pieces needed to make the jump to the top of the American League Central. Their biggest problem last season was their bullpen. So far, the Twins have only added one piece to the bullpen, although they did get rid of a few of their relievers.
Spring Training is only a month away, let’s see what the Minnesota Twins can bring to the table in 2019.
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