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Minnesota Twins: 2022 Season Preview

Minnesota Twins: 2022 Season Preview looking at the upcoming season with opening day around the corner, hoping for a bounce back.

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The Minnesota Twins are coming off of a disappointing year where they won just 73 games. This was one of the most surprising downfalls in all of baseball, as the Twins were coming off of back-to-back AL Central championships. The pitching was putrid, and the lineup regressed at nearly every turn. The few bright spots were OF Byron Buxton and IF Jorge Polanco. The Twins also saw promising signs from young arm’s Joe Ryan and Bailey Ober. Both righties project to fit into the rotation, with Joe Ryan taking the bump on opening day. The Twins were one of the most active teams after the lockout, and look for a retooled roster to make the playoffs in 2022.

Departures

SP Michael Pineda – Signed a one year, 5.5M dollar deal with Detroit.

SP John Gant – Signed with international league NPB.

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RP Alex Colome – Signed a one year, 4M dollar deal with Colorado.

RP Taylor Rogers – Traded to the San Diego Padres

C Willians Astudillo – Signed a MiLB deal with Miami.

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C Mitch Garver – Traded to Texas for IF Isiah Kiner-Falefa

C Ben Rortvedt – Traded to the New York Yankees.

SS Andrelton Simmons – Signed a one year, 5M dollar deal with the Cubs.

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SS Isiah Kiner-Falefa – Traded to the New York Yankees.

3B Josh Donaldson – Traded to the New York Yankees.

OF Brent Rooker – Traded to the San Diego Padres

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Acquisitions

SP Dylan Bundy – Signed a one year, 5M dollar deal, formerly with the Angels.

SP Sonny Gray – Traded from Cincinnati for SP prospect Chase Petty.

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SP Chris Archer – Signed a one year, 3M dollar deal, formerly with Tampa Bay.

SP Chris Paddack – Traded from the San Diego Padres.

RP Jharel Cotton – Claimed off waivers from Texas.

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RP Joe Smith – Signed a one year, 2.5M dollar deal, formerly with Seattle.

RP Jhon Romero – Claimed off waivers from Washington.

RP Emilio Pagan – Traded from the San Diego Padres

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C Gary Sanchez – Traded from the New York Yankees.

SS Carlos Correa – Signed a three year, 105M dollar deal, formerly with Houston.

3B Gio Urshella – Traded from the New York Yankees.

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The addition of Carlos Correa stole the show not only in Minnesota, but around the baseball world. Not a single person on the planet thought the best player on the market would end up in a small market like Minnesota, and for good reason. Correa signed the highest AAV deal of any infielder in baseball history. The deal includes opt outs after year’s one and two. The Twins also acquired veteran right-hander Sonny Gray from the Reds for last year’s first round draft pick. On opening day, the Twins once again shocked the world acquiring young starter Chris Paddack from the Padres. The team also made moves around the margins to improve a middle of the pack bullpen. The lineup will look largely the same, with the only changes being Gary Sanchez behind the dish and Gio Urshella and Luis Arraez sharing time at the hot corner.

Projected Lineup (ZiPS Projections)

  1. DH – Luis Arraez (.304/.363/.394, 2.7 WAR)
  2. CF – Byron Buxton (.269/.311/.544, 3.9 WAR)
  3. SS – Carlos Correa (.275/.354/.479, 5.1 WAR)
  4. 2B – Jorge Polanco (.280/.344/.491, 3.9 WAR)
  5. RF – Max Kepler – (.240/.328/.462, 2.9 WAR)
  6. 1B – Miguel Sano – (.231/.323/.508, 2.0 WAR)
  7. 3B – Gio Urshella – (.281/.320/.452, 2.2 WAR)
  8. LF – Alex Kiriloff – (.269/.316/.434, 0.7 WAR)
  9. C – Ryan Jeffers – (.212/.289/.381, 1.4 WAR)

Bench: C Gary Sanchez, IF Nick Gordon, OF Kyle Garlick

The Twins lineup should be one of the better lineups in the AL. The DH will rotate based on the handness of the pitcher they are matching up against, with Arraez and Sanchez splitting time. Buxton and Correa will likely hit back to back somewhere in the order, with the pair already homering twice together in spring training. Polanco is one of the most underrated players in baseball, and will provide stability in the middle of the order. The backhalf of the lineup is where things go boom or bust. Kepler had a great 2019 season, but has been a poor hitter the last two seasons. Gio Urshella is looking to bounceback away from Yankee stadium.

Projected Rotation (ZiPS Projections)

  1. RH Joe Ryan: 6-5, 4.11 ERA, 1.5 WAR
  2. RH Sonny Gray: 10-7, 3.50 ERA, 2.8 WAR
  3. RH Chris Paddack: 9-7, 4.05 ERA, 1.7 WAR
  4. RH Dylan Bundy: 8-7, 4.55 ERA, 1.3 WAR
  5. RH Chris Archer: 4-4, 4.65 ERA, 0.8 WAR

As you can tell by the ZiPS projections, the Twins lineup still has a major edge over the rotation. However, there is hope in Twins Territory that things will bounceback to a respectable rotation. Joe Ryan and Bailey Ober both looked really good in limited innings last year, while Sonny Gray is one of the most under recognized names in baseball. Chris Paddack, who was acquired at the time of writing this, will slot into the middle of the rotation. There is the potential that he is the best pitcher on the staff. Next, Dylan Bundy and Chris Archer are both names that are known, but neither is great. Minnesota has a flurry of young arms waiting in the bullpen or in AAA to get a shot. Kenta Maeda, a top 3 finisher in Cy Young voting in 2020, should return to the squad around the end of July.

Projected Record

Minnesota should be the second best team in the division behind Chicago with the addition of Carlos Correa and positive regression from their pitching staff. Last season, closer Alex Colome blew so many saves in April that it didn’t matter the rest of the way. The bullpen also features known commodities like Tyler Duffey and Joe Smith, as well as prospects Jhoan Duran and Josh Winder. The lineup will put up a ton of runs, but not quite as many as the squad that broke the all-time home run record in 2019.

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Projected Record: 86-76, 2nd in the AL Central

Written By

I am a senior college student studying sports administration. I hope to work in college athletics following graduation. I love the Iowa Hawkeyes, Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Wild, Oklahoma City Thunder, and New York Jets. I hate sac bunts and announcer's insisting teams do not need a 3 at the end of games.

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