The Twins are our favorite team. They give spring, summer, and autumn an extra twinge of excitement. The Twins make our best days better, and, even when they lose, they provide an escape from our bad days. So naturally, when the Twins have any legitimate shot at playing well, we like to think they will win more than their opponents, and more than everyone else in the Central, especially more than the White Sox.
Here’s what the Twins Twins think about the Minnesota Twins and the AL Central this season (We’ve averaged our win totals to give a consensus pick).
First Place: Minnesota Twins (90-72)
Eric says: The Twins, more or less, are the same team they were a season ago. We are a bullpen full of questions away from greatness, but I suspect we’ll perform mostly the same, as an unconcussed Morneau, and a rebound year from Cuddyer should offset any power outage in the bullpen.
Paul says: The Twins are taking a big gamble with an unproven middle infield, especially Casilla who has almost no offense to speak of. It will take some time for Nishi to fine his rhythm and with Mauer and Morneau “nursing” injuries coupled with the questions about the strength of the bullpen I think the Twins come back to the pack this year and have to fight for the division crown.
Second Place: Chicago White Sox (87-75)
The White Sox are built around scoring runs, which is pretty easy to do at US Cellular Field. So I think their bats will have a little extra pop at home, but I think they’re going to give runs back in the field, and at the end of the season everyone will look back at a Chicago White Sox team that, for whatever reason, underachieved.
With the best power hitting lineup in the division Chicago will definitely score a lot of runs this season. Chicago had a successful off season, but the status of Peavy remains of high concern. Chicago’s rotation is filled with question marks; will they be able to keep enough runs off the board to allow their offense to win them games?
Third Place: Detroit Tigers (86-76)
The Tigers will be hot out of the gate (excluding their opening day loss to the Yankees) and will enjoy a lead in the AL Central through much of the first half before clubhouse drama and the lack of a solid back of the rotation starter derail the chances in the 2nd half of the season.
Detroit looks to finish over.500 this season, and will be in the hunt for the division title all season; however I see a lack of bullpen depth keeping the tigers from finishing strong and the fall to third in the division.
The Twins Twins have vastly different ideas about the Indians and the Royals, as a result, our analysis differs a bit from the corresponding win totals listed, bear with us.
Fourth Place: Cleveland Indians (67-95)
While the White Sox will be victims of under achieving, I think the Indians will enjoy a moderate level of success. They will still play poorly at times, but I think they’ll score runs, and their youth will keep them fresh as they head into the dog days of August. I’ve only got them winning 72 games, so they’re not great, but they’ll definitely play a part in who wins the AL Central.
It’s hard to pick a team to lose 100 games, but it’s even harder to see the Tribe winning any more than 62. I considered giving them the benefit if the doubt and picking them to win 63, but I don’t know where that extra win would come from. The Indians are rebuilding, and could be for a few years to come. Sixty-two, that’s as high as I can go.
Fifth Place: Kansas City Royals (65-97)
105 losses are pretty terrible. In 2005 the Royals lost 106 games, so this will not be the worst Royals team ever, but they’re going to be bad. Billy Butler will turn in a solid season at 1B, but the Royals will hurt in the field, on the mound, and at the plate. Better days are ahead for Royals fans, but they’re not here yet.
Whether or not this pick surprises anyone, I have the Royals playing a solid second half after they being their prospects up to the bigs. With all the talent they have waiting in the wings, the only questions are 1, how early will they stay making call ups, and 2, how bad will their record be at that point? The Royals will have a rough go at it early in the season, but will still come out ahead of this year’s cellar dwellers, the Cleveland Indians.
The division will be tight at the top, and it will be a dog fight towards the end, but the Twins have proven they can win late with the season on the line. The question all Twin fans want to know is, can we get a W or two in the post-season?