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Minnesota Twins Preview and Predictions

Baseball, MLB article at Knup Sports

This is from the American League Central Division

*** Special Note- The day after this was published, the Dodgers traded away veteran outfielder Manuel Margot to the Twins, along with prospect Rayne Doncon, in exchange for shortstop Noah Miller, who was ranked as the No. 23 prospect in the Twins’ system.

Now that Sonny Gray is with the Cardinals, Pablo Lopez is called upon to be the front of the rotation. He has impeccable control and is a workhorse on the mound. He has improved his sweeper and raised his velocity . He has batters chasing. Certainly a CY Young candidate. Chris Paddack is healthy and out of pen into the rotation.Bailey Ober is one of the best .unknown to most, pitchers in the majors. Louis Varland is getting a chance but he needs more than 91 mph. Joe Ryan will get a spot with a wicked four seam fastball.

Jhoan Duran is the closer. His velocity can tick up to 102 mph with mixed command. Brock stewart is a stirkeout guy that has increased velocity with age. Griffin Jax has great control and speed with his sweeper pitch.

Catching is where the Twins may need some help mid-season and it will be divided between Ryan Jeffers and Christian Vazquez. Jeffers claimed the spot in the second half of the season with 10 home runs and a .294 batting average.

The infield has Royce Lewis. He is a lefty hitter with power and pop. He will lead the offense for manager Rocco Baldelli.. Second base has Jorge Polanco when healthy. the Twins picked up his option and he is expensive. Backing him up is Eduardo Julien who is a below average defender. Alex Kirilloff mans first base and is recovering from wrist injuries but a decent fastball hitter.Carlos Correa is the stand out shortstop. He didn’t have the star season he has shown in previous seasons and showing decline in his game.The Twins recently brought in Carlos Santana — a switch-hitter who typically fares better from the right side — to balance a lineup that was quite a bit better against righty pitching than left-handed arms a year ago.

In the outfield, Minnesota will send out Byron Buxton is center field. He is a talent that is oft injured and hard to ely on. When in the lineup he is a Gold glove defender. Matt Waller in left loves to hit breaking balls although he can’t hit lefties very well. Max Kepler in right field hit 36 home runs last season and drove in 96 runs. If he can come close to duplicating that, the Twins are looking good.

Prospects to Watch: Walker Jenkins is an outfielder with plus power and unknown potential. Someday, he is capable of winning the most home runs in a season. Brooks Lee is a shortstop that has shown the ability to slash line drives. Just waiting for an opening.

Predictions: The Twins finish in first place with a 89-73 record.

Next up: Kansas City Royals

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