Minnesota Twins: 5 moves that led the Twins to the AL Central title

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DETROIT, MICHIGAN - SEPTEMBER 25: Eddie Rosario #20 of the Minnesota Twins celebrates his two run home run with Nelson Cruz #23 in the eighth inning while playing hte Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on September 25, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MICHIGAN - SEPTEMBER 25: Eddie Rosario #20 of the Minnesota Twins celebrates his two run home run with Nelson Cruz #23 in the eighth inning while playing hte Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on September 25, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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DETROIT, MICHIGAN – SEPTEMBER 25: Manager Rocco Baldelli of the Minnesota Twins looks on after a 5-1 win over the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on September 25, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MICHIGAN – SEPTEMBER 25: Manager Rocco Baldelli of the Minnesota Twins looks on after a 5-1 win over the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on September 25, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

Hiring Rocco Baldelli as manager

After the 2018 season came without a postseason berth, the Twins’ brain trust of Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey and General Manager Thad Levine decided it was time for a change. Although Paul Molitor had done his best to adapt to the current state of analytics-driven baseball, Falvey and Levine wanted to get their own guy in the dugout, which turned out to be Rocco Baldelli.

When Baldelli was first hired, it was easy to be skeptical of what the Twins were selling. As a 38-year old coming from the Tampa Bay Rays organization, a new-age style of thinking was what the Twins and several other teams brought him in for an interview. What they received was a style of working smarter and not harder.

This started in spring training when Baldelli let his players take live batting practice and trusted his players to know what to do to get ready. When the season began, Baldelli made sure to keep his players fresh and although injuries have taken their toll late in the season, he’s gotten the most out of his team.

The postseason will be a different crucible for Baldelli, who should get consideration for the American League Manager of the Year Award, but with subtle changes, it was a great start to what would lead to a division title.

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