A New Year typically comes with people trying to make changes in their life, whether that be going to the gym more, spending more time offline, or saving money for an important purchase, and people make resolutions to meet those goals. I’m sure a lot of baseball fans have them, but I think there may be a few resolutions the Minnesota Twins players have as well.
Let’s get this out of the way first: the hitters weren’t the reason that the Minnesota Twins missed the playoffs. The abhorrent pitching staff is what almost dragged the team to 100 losses, but the lineup could be a lot better.
We make up four New Year’s Resolutions for the Minnesota Twins lineup.
With that in mind, we put together several resolutions that would benefit the whole lineup in the New Year and in the 2022 season and help the team take a big step forward after a disappointing year last year.
New Year’s Resolution for the Minnesota Twins Lineup No. 1: Stay Healthy
Injuries play a big role in every season, but for the Minnesota Twins, they were a big reason that the lineup failed to meet expectations. Byron Buxton, Alex Kirilloff, and Mitch Garver played less than 70 games due to injuries in 2021. Josh Donaldson, Luis Arraez, and Max Kepler also dealt with injuries over the year.
Though it’s not something players have a lot of control over, the team can work a little to adjust their play slightly and remain more healthy throughout the season. If the Twins’ lineup can stay on the field, the team will improve greatly.
New Year’s Resolution for the Minnesota Twins Lineup No. 2: Get On Base More
The Minnesota Twins were one of the best teams in baseball when it comes to slugging last year, finishing fifth in the American League, a huge reason that they finished sixth in the AL in OPS. They can bring that number up even more with a boost to their on-base percentage.
Of the Twins’ primary contributors, only Josh Donaldson, Byron Buxton, Nelson Cruz, Luis Arraez, and Mitch Garver were the only Twins to reach a .350 OBP or higher. Of those five, only Donaldson and Arraez played more than 85 games with the team last year.
If the Twins want to score more, the team needs more people on base (though hitting better with guys in scoring position would help), the team needs to draw more walks and improve their batting average in the coming season.
New Year’s Resolution for the Minnesota Twins Lineup No. 3: Be more Aggressive on the Basepaths
The Minnesota Twins finished tied for fifth-worst in baseball when it came to team steals with 54. That’s a bit confusing, especially considering the speed this team has. Byron Buxton is one of the fastest players in baseball, and Max Kepler, Luis Arraez, Jorge Polanco, and Nick Gordon are all pretty quick.
This year, the team will be even younger, with Trevor Larnach likely getting more playing time and Jose Miranda leading the list of speedy top prospects likely hitting the big leagues this year. If the team is more aggressive in 2022, there’s no reason that they can’t jump into the top half of the MLB.
New Year’s Resolution for the Minnesota Twins Lineup No. 4: Get a Little Luckier
The Minnesota Twins were one of the top teams in baseball analytically in barrel percentage (first), hard hit percentage (fourth), exit velocity (third), and strong in launch angle (thirteenth). They also finished fifth in expected batting average, third in expected slugging percentage, fourth in expected weighted on-base average, and third in expected weighted on-base average.
With all of these high analytics numbers, how did the team finish seventeenth in batting average, eighteenth in on-base percentage, and eleventh in OPS? Simply put? Bad luck. The Twins graded out as one of the least lucky teams in baseball last year, and a simple bounceback to closer to the norm would be a huge boost for them.
Similar to injuries, there isn’t a lot that the team can do to control this. but if the Twins can complete these New Year’s Resolutions, the lineup just may be able to carry the team to a Wild Card spot after all.