Identify the next crop of young stars
Top prospects Brooks Lee and Austin Martin may make their MLB debut in 2024, which is outrageously exciting.
Veteran players and their experience in the postseason can help a team make a run, but an influx of top younger talent can make a difference. Look at the Arizona Diamondbacks, who have a young team that has beaten veteran teams like the Dodgers and Phillies and is now playing for a World Series title. Both Lee and Martin had great seasons in the minor leagues, and it's time to get them to the major league level in some capacity. It's hard to see elevating Martin and Lee not helping the Twins win.
Continue to position Carlos Correa as the team's leader
Carlos Correa had a postseason to remember for the Twins. He averaged .409 at the plate with four RBI and a run scored across two series. It was a big deal for the Twins to be able to bring Correa back to Minnesota last winter and the results paid off in the end. He is a proven leader in the clubhouse, one that the team needs to continue positioning as a key figure in the clubhouse -- especially with young stars up-and-coming.
Correa struggled during the regular season to meet the expectations many fans had put on him, especially with the major contract that he signed last offseason. However, the Twins saw what he is capable of during their short playoff run. Correa will be a big part of the Twins success moving forward.
Figure out the starting rotation behind Pablo Lopez
No matter what the Twins do on the offensive side, pitching is perhaps the most critical area the team must figure out a plan for.
While it sounds obvious, pitching is a huge part of winning championships. Sonny Gray and Kenta Maeda are going to be free agents, and the future with the Twins rotation is uncertain. In 2024, it will be Pablo Lopez, Joe Ryan, Bailey Ober, and Chris Paddack with the potential for Louie Varland to join the starting rotation. Varland could be an asset to the Twins out of the bullpen if he is not a part of the starting rotation.
A case can be made to look for other starting options and have Varland stay in the bullpen. The Twins need to examine if Varland adds more value coming into the game in key situations out of the bullpen or starting every five days. It's hard to see Dallas Keuchel, who is a free agent this winter, returning to the Twins rotation in 2024. Lopez, Ryan, and Ober all appear to be locks for the 2024 rotation, with Lopez looking like an ace while Ryan and Ober performed well overall too despite some struggles. Ober pitched 144.1 innings this season, which is significantly higher than any other year. The Twins will need to secure depth in the four and five spots of the rotation to give themselves the best opportunity at a deep playoff run.
"We have a good base to work with," Falvey noted, and it's true.
With Lopez, Buxton, Correa, and other key pieces of the core under contract for the coming years, and high-performing prospects on their way to the major leagues, the future is as bright as it's ever been for the Twins. The new expectation is no longer simply winning a game in the postseason, it's to be playing late into October and bringing a World Series title back to Minnesota.