Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The 2015 Twins in Review

The Minnesota Twins have hurt me bad in the past 5 seasons. Starting with the good kind of pain, a 2010 playoff appearance in the first season at Target Field. They got swept, again, by the New York Yankees.

In 2011, the injury bug bit hard, taking its toll on the Twins. Mauer and Morneau lost significant time, the team was not the same defensively (or offensively) without J.J. Hardy at Short, and the pitching took a step back. It was a disaster by all accounts and the Twins lost more than 90 games. An unexpected gut punch that tossed the Twins into rebuilding mode.

The less said about 2012, 2013, and 2014, the better. Just sad, uninspired, and barely watchable baseball.

Fast forward to 2015, and here is the opening day lineup:

SS Danny Santana

2B Brian Dozier

1B Joe Mauer

RF Torii Hunter

DH Kennys Vargas

3B Trevor Plouffe

LF Oswaldo Arcia

C Kurt Suzuki

CF Jordan Schafer

P Phil Hughes

Also appearing in game 1 of the 2015 season, Reliever J.R. Graham and Eduardo Escobar, who pinch hit for Schafer.
Nolasco had a great May before being injured, Gibson struggled to stay consistent

The Rotation to start the season also featured Ricky Nolasco, Kyle Gibson, Tommy Milone, and Mike Pelfrey. Noticeably absent was new free agent acquisition Ervin Santana, who tested positive for a PED and missed the first half of 2015 due to a suspension.

Closer Glen Perkins was perfect in the first half, may have injured himself in the All-Star Game, and finished the year as a late inning set up man for Kevin Jepsen.

Trevor May began the season in AAA, replaced Tommy Milone in the rotation, and was the Twins' best starter in the first half. He ultimately moved to the bullpen to become one of the team's best arms in the late innings.

The Twins fell hard out of the gate, starting the season 1-6. It looked like all of the changes to the coaching staff and the Rotation would be for naught. They started to turn things around in May however, and 2015 became a season to remember.

3 Rookies in particular led the Twins to contention for the first time since 2010:
Eddie Rosario

Miguel Sano

And Tyler Duffey. (psst. I don't have any Tyler Duffey cards - thanks, Topps.)

The #1 Prospect in Baseball also made his debut, to mixed results. Byron Buxton did manage to hit his first two major league homers in the final week of the season, as well as providing elite defense in Center Field.

The Twins also got a big boost from Aaron Hicks, who finally started to figure out MLB pitching in his third season in the big leagues.

All of this made for a very happy rookie manager, Mr. Paul Molitor. The Twins finally avoided a 90 loss season, and actually finished above .500 avoiding a 5th consecutive losing season. Until the final day of the season, the Twins could have possibly still earned a wild card spot. Pretty good for a team that has not had much to cheer about for the last 4 seasons.

Just wait til next year, when Jose Berrios makes it to the show, Buxton and Sano have their first full season together in the majors, and the rest of the team is a year older and more experienced! The 2015 Post Season will be a lot of fun to watch, but I will already be thinking about 2016, just a little bit.


  1. How are the Twins pitching prospects? Seems like if the starting pitching is addressed their would be no reason next year can't be even better. The AL central seems like it is going to be wide open the next few years. The Royals are good, but they are going to have to make some decisions with Alex Gordon and some of the bullpen guys.

    1. Jose Berrios is the Twins' #2 prospect after Buxton, so he's the Twins' #1 prospect. He was ranked #20 overall on MLB.Com, he'll probably shoot up that list. He started the Futures game this year and last year. He's been promoted two levels each year he has been in pro ball and probably should have made the show this year.
      The Twins also drafted several bullpen arms high in the last few years, so they are trying to fill that velocity/strikeout gap in the pen.
      Alex Meyer and Trevor May are the two guys they acquired for Span and Revere respectively. May was fantastic in the rotation and even better in the bullpen this year, Meyer is a right handed Randy Johnson (still ineffectively raw and wild, but he strikes out guys when his control is decent.)
      The Twins also have several high draft picks working their way up in the minors, Kohl Stewart, Stephen Gonsalves to name a couple.

  2. As a non-Twins fan I don't know whether this year was a success or failure for the Twins.
    On one hand they exceeded expectations and were in contention for most of the year. On the other hand they were supposed to be in the midst of a rebuild and them competing in 2015 has cost them a high draft pick in 2016.

    1. It's about right in terms of improvement - the Twins have promoted enough young talent that they couldn't help but be better than they were the last 4 years. I think any time a team can sniff the postseason, they should do what they can to get in - the playoffs are such a crap shoot and a team can get hot at the right time to propel them deep into the postseason. I think that was definitely the Royals last year. Their starting pitching was (and still is) behind the rest of the contenders, but timely hitting and great defense was enough last time around to make it to the World Series.
      I think the Twins make the playoffs next year.