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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SEATTLE, WA – MAY 18: Outfielders Eddie Rosario #20 of the Minnesota Twins, Byron Buxton #25 and Max Kepler #26 celebrate after a game against the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park on May 18, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. The Twins won 18-4. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA – MAY 18: Outfielders Eddie Rosario #20 of the Minnesota Twins, Byron Buxton #25 and Max Kepler #26 celebrate after a game against the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park on May 18, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. The Twins won 18-4. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images) /

Outfield and Designated Hitter

Outfield: Byron Buxton will be back in center field. That much isn’t up for debate. Buxton was arguably the first-half MVP before his season-ending injury. He lowered his strikeout rate, raised his walk rate, had the highest batting average of his career and was on pace to set career highs in home runs and runs batted in. He was very good at the plate, and his defense was even better.

A lot of the same things can be said about Max Kepler. Kepler set career highs in batting average, home runs, RBI, OPS, OBP, and slugging. His defense was also excellent; as he didn’t have an error all season. He will return as the team’s starting right fielder in 2020 which means the Twins’ outfield will have one open slot: Left Field.

A lot has been made of Eddie Rosario’s possible trade value, but I’m not supporting that. Rosario has been a fan favorite (even if there’s disagreement where he belongs in the batting order) and his talent is undeniable. His strikeouts were down by 20%, his homer rate was up, and he led the team in RBI. He is extremely valuable and should show up as the opening day left fielder.

Designated Hitter: Nelson Cruz was dominant as the DH last season, hitting .311 with a team-high 41 HR and knocking in 108 RBI. He had his best batting average since 2010, his third-highest season total of home runs, and his second-most RBI. Cruz turned back the clock and the team will hope he can do it again. He will hold down the DH spot unless rest is needed.

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