Minnesota Twins: Projecting the Twins’ Opening Day lineup for 2020

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Minnesota Twins' Nick Gordon (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
Minnesota Twins' Nick Gordon (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images) /
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DETROIT, MICHIGAN – SEPTEMBER 25: Luis Arraez #2 of the Minnesota Twins watches his seventh inning two run home run while playing the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on September 25, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MICHIGAN – SEPTEMBER 25: Luis Arraez #2 of the Minnesota Twins watches his seventh inning two run home run while playing the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on September 25, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

Infield

Catcher:  Mitch Garver will return for the Twins as their primary catcher after hitting .273 with 31 home runs this past season. Garver was a force all year and set a Twins record for most homers by a catcher. He is under contract for four more years and will see a significant upgrade in starts from last season.

First Base: At first base, we know the Twins will likely bring out C.J. Cron at first base for some of 2020. The only question is how often. Cron had a solid season with 25 homers and 78 RBIs, but he was terrible against right-handers, hitting .225 with 80 strikeouts. His number against southpaws were better (.326 with only 27 Ks) but it’s clear he needs a platoon partner.

The team has considered putting Miguel Sano at first base as a solution for when Royce Lewis arrives, and that may be a good solution here as Cron’s platoon buddy. Sano hit .284 against right-handers and the team doesn’t have any minor leaguers ready to bring up. The free-agent market lacks impact batters at the position, so the team will likely stick with Cron and back him up with other players already in the system.

Second Base: Luis Arraez hit .334 in 92 games last year while only striking out 29 times. He may not have a lot of power, but hitting for average is important to a Twins lineup that is full of sluggers with too few people getting on base like Arraez does. He plays smart, doesn’t make a lot of mistakes, and rarely strikes out. With Schoop out the door, Arraez will get the full-time job.

Shortstop: Jorge Polanco is signed through 2025 and earned his spot as the starter at short for the American League All-Star team. Polanco can hit for average, decent power, and plays good enough defense to stay at his position until Royce Lewis arrives. Polanco will eventually lose his spot at short, but that won’t happen in 2020.

Third Base: Sano stepped up in a big way last season, and he will look to keep a good thing going. Sano hit 34 home runs with 79 RBI (in an injury-shortened season) while putting up career numbers defensively at third. He looks a little healthier and happier and has a better approach. Until Royce Lewis arrives, Sano will likely hold down third for a while (unless he plays first or DH).

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