Minnesota Twins: Ranking the Eight AL Playoff Contenders

ojohnson
Kenta Maeda of the Minnesota Twins delivers a pitch against the Detroit Tigers. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Kenta Maeda of the Minnesota Twins delivers a pitch against the Detroit Tigers. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
3 of 3
Next

Playoff Contender No. 4: Chicago White Sox (Chance they play the Minnesota Twins first round: 5%)

Overall Grade: 3.875

Rotation: 4

Bullpen: 4

Lineup: 4.5

Bench/Intangibles: 3

The Chicago White Sox may be the Twins’ closest competitor for the division crown, but they certainly aren’t as complete of a team as the Twins. The White Sox have a solid rotation, as Lucas Giolito is a good Game 1 starter and Dallas Kuechel and Dylan Cease are very good backup starters.

The bullpen is good, not great, but their lineup is their biggest strength. Tim Anderson, Eloy Jimenez, and MVP candidate Jose Abreu lead the best offensive unit in the AL. They have a good bench too, but they’re winning in spite of their management. That management could be the reason they see a quick postseason exit.

Playoff Contender No. 3: New York Yankees (Chance they play the Minnesota Twins first round: 25%)

Overall Grade: 3.875

Rotation: 4.5

Bullpen: 4

Lineup: 3.5

Bench/Intangibles: 3.5

The dreaded New York Yankees improved on paper, but were ravaged by injuries throughout the year. They hobble into the playoffs after getting beat by the Blue Jays, and really don’t look that threatening to anyone outside of Minnesota.

The rotation is good, and Gerrit Cole is one of the best starters in the league, and following him with Masahiro Tanaka and a resurgent J.A. Happ is very impressive. If they need a fourth starter though, there aren’t many options.

The bullpen is good, but has underperformed for the number of big names they have, keeping them from earning a four. The same can be said for their lineup, where D.J. LeMahieu, Luke Voit, and Gio Urshela are the only high performers in 2020.

On top of all this, Aaron Boone has yet to prove he’s a high level playoff manager, and their depth is a little suspect. This is still a very good team, but not one that Twins fans should be afraid of. This simply isn’t their year.

Playoff Contender No: 2: Minnesota Twins

Overall Grade: 4

Rotation: 4.5

Bullpen: 4.5

Lineup: 3.5

Bench/Intangibles: 3.5

For the Minnesota Twins, as our hometown team is getting hot at the right time. The rotation led by a true ace in Kenta Maeda, and followed by Michael Pineda and Jose Berrios, who are getting smoking hot at the right time. The only reason they miss a five is Rich Hill isn’t a perfect fourth starter and there isn’t a lot of postseason experience from starters outside of Hill.

The bullpen is a definite strength, and a couple meltdowns over a long season shouldn’t take away from that. Sergio Romo has loads of playoff experience as a former closer for a three-time World Series champ. Tyler Clippard also offers postseason experience, and the only thing this group lacks is a true lockdown closer. Taylor Rogers is a relief ace, but he hasn’t been great in 2020.

For the lineup, this grade depends on which lineup shows up. The Twins have been producing lately as the team gets healthy, but they spent most of the season struggling mightily. If they keep this hot streak going into the playoffs, this grade will improve too. This group has lots of playoff experience (Nelson Cruz and Josh Donaldson especially).

The Twins’ bench is good. Marwin Gonzalez and Jake Cave offer good depth when they are used as bench guys, and Ryan Jeffers is fantastic. This roster has been to the playoffs before and is getting another shot to prove themselves. As far as managers go, Rocco Baldelli led this team to 101 wins in 2019 and is on a 100 win pace in 2020. Now it’s time to prove himself in the playoffs.

Playoff Contender No. 1: Tampa Bay Rays (Chance they play the Minnesota Twins first round: 5%)

Overall Grade: 4

Rotation: 4

Bullpen: 4.5

Lineup: 3.5

Bench/Intangibles: 4

There is a reason that the Tampa Bay Rays are headed for the one seed, and that’s because they don’t have any holes. As a team, they are the most complete group in the American League, with a rotation with four good starters, a very deep bullpen with several different guys who can get saves, and a manager who is one of the best in the league.

The only question is the lineup. The team has a deep bench, but they also strikeout a lot and struggle hitting for average. They do get on base a ton, and slug really well, so that shouldn’t matter as much, but as far as teams go, this is a pretty complete unit.

Next. Minnesota Twins: Projecting a Twins Infield for the Playoffs. dark

facebooktwitterreddit