Minnesota Twins: Best Case Scenario for the Twins in 2022
It’s hard for Minnesota Twins fans to continually wait through this lockout without imagining the possibilities for the season ahead. We imagined the lows of the season earlier this week, and while that’s a good exercise in Minnesota pain, we thought it was a good time for a little optimism.
Remember, back in 1986, the Minnesota Twins finished sixth in the division, losing 91 games. The next season, the 1987 Twins brought home the first professional title in Minnesota sports history. The 2021 Twins lost 89 games and finished last in the division too, so for the purposes of this scenario, let’s imagine what would happen if lightning strikes twice.
We take a look at what the best case scenario for the Minnesota Twins’ 2022.
We’ll start with the best case scenario for the lockout. MLB is putting together an offer to the players to end the lockout. In this dream, that proposal is accepted. It might not happen in real life (it probably won’t), but it happens for real here.
With the market now wide open, the Twins are aggressive in free agency. The team brings in Carlos Rodon, Michael Pineda, Zach Davies, to build an above average rotation and competition for Dylan Bundy, Bailey Ober and Joe Ryan. To supplement the bullpen, they add Brad Hand and Mychal Givens for to high-incentive deals to help lock down the closer role.
For shortstop, they can’t afford Trevor Story or Carlos Correa, so they add Jonathan Villar to a one year deal to hold down the fort until Austin Martin or Royce Lewis arrives. Spring Training arrives in late February, and the Minnesota Twins make it through without any major injuries.
This is when the 2022 Twins start looking like the 1987 Twins. For starters, Byron Buxton stays healthy. Buck is an absolute superstar, hitting .300 and 35 homers with one of the team’s best individual seasons since Joe Mauer won MVP.
The lineup is also boosted by bounceback years from Mitch Garver and Josh Donaldson (who excels in a designated hitter role) and another All-Star performance from second baseman Jorge Polanco.
Ryan Jeffers, Nick Gordon, and Luis Arraez offer a deep bench that helps the team make a push for the division crown. Trevor Larnach, Alex Kirilloff, and Jose Miranda all are more than capable as rookies, and the lineup is the best in baseball. But the Twins’ rotation is the big question mark. The free agent additions offer an answer.
Carlos Rodón repeats his 2021 season, going 16-9 with a 2.97 ERA and 200 strikeouts, giving the Twins the ace they had been sorely missing since Johan Santana was traded. Bailey Ober, Dylan Bundy, and Zach Davies (who serves as a key swingman through injuries) are a solid 4-6 for the Twins. Michael Pineda performs as a solid three and Joe Ryan is a stellar No. 2 starter.
Tyler Duffey, Taylor Rogers, and Caleb Thielbar form a lethal setup setup trio for Brad Hand, who bounces back in his home state. Mychal Givens, Randy Dobnak, and Jorge Alcala, are very good filler as well.
This combination of a strong lineup, deep bullpen, and solid rotation wins 94 games and steals the division away from the Chicago White Sox. Then, the team gets to the playoffs, and for the first time since 2002, things really get rolling.
Not only do the Twins get the playoff monkey off the back, they win the first series against a injury-riddled Houston Astros team that barely snuck into the playoffs. Next, the Miracle Twins face off against the Tampa Bay Rays, who won 100 games for the second year in a row, and after a brutal seven game series, the team emerges victorious when free agent addition Jonathan Villar hits the go-ahead blast in the eighth inning.
In the World Series, the Twins fall behind 2-0 to the high-powered Los Angeles Dodgers, but the team’s greatest weakness coming out of the lockout, the pitching, takes control and helps the team win four of the final five and earns the Twins’ first championship since 1991.
Now yes, this is a lofty goal, and no, there isn’t a lot of evidence to back up that this could happen. But we can dream, right? While this lockout drones on, Twins fans can imagine the dream scenario, a third ring for a fanbase that sorely needs it.