Despite another failed Minnesota Twins postseason visit, we should still be optimistic about the future of this team.
Minnesota Twins everywhere are crushed again after the team lost their 18th straight playoff game, falling to the Houston Astros 3-1 on Wednesday. This completed their sweep of the Twins in their AL wild-card series, and ended Minnesota’s season. I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that we lost.
That being said, it is time to end my mourning and think of better days ahead. Now is the time for hope. With that, there is a brighter future for our Twins. This will include players and personnel that are currently on our roster, exciting new players who will or might join us next season, and some possible additions that might help this team.
Note that my colleagues will cover the Minnesota Twins’ impending free agents and their possible fates, and also possible free agent acquisitions in future articles on this site. I’d like to start first with Rocco Baldelli.
I know there were some questions about his decision making in the wild-card series, but I will leave those speculations to others. In Rocco’s first two years, he has brought steadiness, a keen regard for analytics, and patience to the Minnesota Twins’ managerial position.
He appears to have great rapport with all of his players, whether they be veterans or young professionals. He helps keep the team on a steady focus, no matter how they are playing, as you seldom hear about team fights or arguments that aren’t settled quickly. The Twins seem to be a team in solidarity.
As I am an optimist, I think the Twins will bring Nelson Cruz back for another season. His hitting has been nothing short of phenomenal this season, and he has brought a great clubhouse presence to the team.
His work with Miquel Sano seems to be extremely effective, as Sano seems much calmer as a player. It also has helped with Sano making adjustments to his game, such as moving to first base full-time this season.
There were also several players in the everyday lineup that will need to up their games for the Minnesota Twins to be successful. Jorge Polanco, Mitch Garver, Max Kepler, and Miguel Sano all struggled greatly in 2020 and will be looking to bounce back in 2021.
Despite those needed rebounds, you have to be excited when you think about the possibility of having Josh Donaldson for a full year and envisioning Byron Buxton continuing his torrid hitting as he did in the latter part of this past season.
That’s not even mentioning the young talent that the Twins have that will help the team reach even greater heights. Alex Kirilloff, Ryan Jeffers, Brent Rooker, and Trevor Larnach are all ready to take the next step and make the leap into the starting lineup.
With the probable loss of Eddie Rosario in the lineup, two or more of these players could step up and fill the offensive void that the Twins will face when Eddie leaves. And of course, there is a real chance of Jeffers becoming the everyday catcher next year based on his performance in the second half of the 2020 season.
On the pitching side, things are still looking good. Even with the probable loss of Jake Odorizzi to free agency, the Twins still return three incredibly good front-line starters in Kenta Maeda, Jose Berrios, and Michael Pineda.
There are still questions about whether Rich Hill will retire or not, but it opens up possibilities for the likes of Lewis Thorpe, Devin Smeltzer, Randy Dobnak, or the possible addition of a veteran starter.
I think the bullpen will also be a team strength again with returning relievers Tyler Duffey, Cody Stashak, Matt Wisler, Taylor Rogers (yes, Taylor Rogers), Jorge Alcala, and hopefully Trevor May and Tyler Clippard. Even if the Minnesota Twins lose one or two of these pitchers, I believe that Randy Dobnak is ready to step up to become a strong long reliever and spot starter.
The sun will come up tomorrow. There is hope for our hometown team. We just have to stay optimistic. Close your eyes and say it with me “The Minnesota Twins, 2021 World Series Champions” and believe.