Minnesota Twins – Predicted Finish: Fifth Place, AL Central.
Let’s talk pitching. I – like everyone else who writes about Twins pitching – will be pretty harsh toward those guys. I’ll be getting my negativity out in this post because the truth hurts so much….here [points to heart]. Among the 14 teams in the American League in 2012, the Twins were last or next to last in almost every pitching category except walks issued. They were bottom of the heap in hits allowed, home runs allowed, strikeouts per 9, earned runs and wins. I could go on and on, but if you look closely, you’ll notice that each of those categories has negative consequences with your fantasy baseball team.
Now let’s talk hitting. National League pitchers hit better than the Minnesota Twins’ middle infielders in 2012 and this will continue in 2013. It’s true. No reason to even check the numbers. Just believe me.
Crackerjack Fantasy Options: Mauer, Willingham, Morneau
The Twins projected lineup will be thin, but that doesn’t mean that the heart of the lineup won’t yield some fantasy goodness. We’ll get to Mauer later, but let’s talk about Morneau and Willingham for a moment.
Morneau is healthy this year. I know, I know. It’s hard to put a lot of trust in him and the MVP seasons will never be there again. But let’s not forget that he is a former MVP, and players with a good eye at the plate tend to see their skills erode more slowly. A healthy Morneau can give you a couple dozen homers and actually help you in the AVG column. The secret is that you should get him for cheap in your fantasy baseball draft. Don’t be afraid to take a late flyer, hoping that a healthy Morneau can provide you with sneaky value.
It seemed like WIllingham came out of nowhere to post his 2012 numbers, but the reality is that he’s always been a pretty good player when on the field. In early mock drafts I’ve seen him fall too far. Don’t be afraid to take him as a 3rd outfielder because he possesses the the skill to hammer home another 30+ homer season. But his fantasy baseball value – like Morneau’s – will depend on how far he is falling in the draft. Snatch them both up if you feel like you can get them for a bargain, but don’t reach for either of them.
Crackerjack Fantasy Options: None.Seriously, I can’t believe the Twins will trot our what they’ll call a major league pitching staff and I’m not creating a table for them. This rotation has been assembled from spare parts and I don’t mean that in the movie sort of way where they bond together, realize the true potential hidden deep within, and go on to win it all in the end. I mean it in the saddest way possible.
For the sake of comprehensiveness I’ll will list their names, but it’s not worth anyone’s time to run the projections: Vance Worley, Scott Diamond, Kevin Correia, Liam Hendriks, and Mike Pelfrey after he recovers from Tommy John surgery. None of those gentlemen will help your fantasy baseball team in any way, and most will actually do damage to your team if you roster them.
Glen Perkins will be solid in the closer role, but I can’t imagine more than 30 saves coming his way.
Fantasy Star: Mauer
Mauer gets more attention for want he doesn’t do, than for what he does. He’ll not hit more than a dozen home runs, it’s true. But there aren’t many guys in baseball who give you a better shot at hitting over .320. Plus, he scores a lot of runs hitting in the 3 hole, plus he’ll give you a solid RBI total. Remember the art of coupling your fantasy baseball players. Pair Mauer up with a big home run hitter, but poor average slugger, and you’ve got a balanced fantasy baseball core.
Plus, call it a hunch, but I think Mauer will have a pretty good season in 2013. Fewer games at catcher was just what the doctor ordered, so he should be healthy and ready to lead the Twins.
Fantasy Bust: None
No one is expecting much fantasy value from this team so thee isn’t much distance to fall and bust. This isn’t a team that suffers from unrealistic expectations. If anything, Twins players may come at a value in the draft as the lack of star power may leave other owners avoiding them.
Fantasy Sleepers: Plouffe
Few know that Trevor Plouffe was a former first round draft pick. While his path the the majors wasn’t straight and to the right, his contact skills have been slowly trending in the right direction. The Twins are so devoid of major league talent that he’s assured of at bats and – believe it or not – there is 30-homer power in there. If he can get off to a better start than he did in 2012, then Plouffe could be a waiver wire steal.
There you have it: the projected 2013 lineup for the Minnesota Twins. It’s going to be another year with close to 100 loses in the Twin Cities.
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