What Happened To The Once Competitive Twins? Can They Turn It Around?

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Thursday January 17, 2013

After very disappointing seasons in 2011 (63-99) and 2012 (66-96), the Twins look to rebound in 2013.

After very disappointing seasons in 2011 (63-99) and 2012 (66-96), the Twins look to rebound in 2013.  The Twins were a model franchise from 2002-2010.  They won the AL Central Division in 6 out of the 9 years – and one of the years they didn’t win the Division included a 1 Game playoff loss to the White Sox in 2008.  Will 2013 be a return to competitiveness or end up as another rebuilding year?

Kyle Holland (MLB Reports intern):

In 2010 the Minnesota Twins seemed like they would be having themselves a good club in upcoming years. To start off the exciting season they opened up a brand new stadium. Target Field has quickly become one of the most beautiful stadiums in all of baseball. The team ended up with a 94-68 record, quite impressive considering Justin Morneau was knocked out for the remainder of 2010 with a concussion on July 7. They reached the playoffs coming in first in the AL Central proving they didn’t need Morneau to be a successful franchise. They got swept by the Yankees in the ALDS for the second straight year. Even though they were swept, nobody was ignoring the regular season record. It seemed as if they had years to look forward too.

So now comes the 2011 season. Fans had big hopes for their Twins the summer of 2012. No injuries coming into opening day and they had made some moves in the offseason. They signed Japanese shortstop Tsuyoshi Nishioka to fill a whole in the middle infield. Carl Pavano and Jim Thome were also resigned by Minnesota. 2011 looked like it would be a year like 2010 for the Twins.

Awesome Stop Motion Video from a Twins Fan at Target Field

Morneau was injured twice between the 2010 and 2011 season. They proved to be fine without Morneau in 2010, but 2011 was a different story as him, and other key contributors went down with injuries.

Morneau was injured twice between the 2010 and 2011 seasons. They proved to be fine without Morneau in 2010, but 2011 was a different story as him, as other key contributors went down with injuries.

All was not well in Minnesota. Injuries is what killed them. They had a plethora of injuries including  Joe Mauer, Morneau, Francisco Liriano, Jason Repko, Jim Thome, Denard Span, and even more than that. On May 1, the Twins had 7 players hitting below .235 in the starting lineup. This was arguably the lowest point of the entire season for the Twins.

Although the Twins made a couple fights to maintain in the race, including being 5 games out of the AL Central at one point before the All-Star break, they wouldn’t end up in the playoffs again, or even close for that matter. They ended up finishing 63-99, the worst in the AL, failing to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2008. Even though the fan base was still strong, they were highly disappointed by the 2011 campaign.

2012 was once again disappointing only improving by 3 games finishing with a record of 66-96. Fans obviously disappointed again had one thing on their minds: Will their Twins ever get back to the ways of 2010 and the decade prior?

Probably their biggest move for rebuilding this offseason was the trade for Vance Worley and pitching prospect Trevor May. They decided to ship of OF Ben Revere to Philadelphia in exchange for Worley and May.

In 2011, Worley finished third in Rookie Of The Year Voting. He ended up finishing 11-3 with an impressive 3.01 ERA through 131.2 IP. Even though he had an off-year in 2012, he was definitely a prospect that the Phillies were looking forward to have in their rotation as he was getting older. He’s going to be a huge help in the less-than-impressive Twins rotation in years to come. He’ll get better as he learns and ages considering he is only 25.  The Twins also picked up Starting Pitchers Correia and Peflrey, however they are coming off sub-par and injury riddled years respectively.

May on the other hand, will not be starting 2013 in the Majors. He has never experienced anything over Double-A Baseball, and his numbers are not very impressive at that level. He finished 10-13 with a 4.87 ERA through 149.2 IP. He was one of the Phillies top prospects and may get a cup of coffee in the big leagues in 2013. He is going to need to progress through the years at only 23. He has had 4 years of Minor League experience.

These two aren’t going to bring the team back from the misery of the last couple years but they will certainly help. The Twins are going to need to make some big changes during their rebuilding seasons if they want to be in contention within the next couple years. Their pitching is a must as is hitting. Seeing how they finish in 2013 will be interesting – but it will likely not include a Post Season Appearance. They will be improved from what they were the last 2 seasons, perhaps even finish with a winning record, but the Twins faithful will have to wait a little bit longer to see their team playing  again in October.

Joe Mauer had a great comeback season in  2012 - hitting for a 3 Slash Line of .319/.416/.861 after hitting just .287/.360.729 the year before.  He needs his battering mate Justin Morneau to return to his MVP status if the club wants to compete with AL powerhouse teams

Joe Mauer had a great comeback season in 2012 – hitting for a 3 Slash Line of .319/.416/.861 after hitting just .287/.360.729 the year before during an injury-riddled 82 games. He needs his battering mate (Justin Morneau) to return to his former MVP like-self if the club wants to compete with AL powerhouse teams like: DET/NYY/LAA/TEX/TB and TOR for a playoff position.

(*The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com*)

Welcome  to our newest Baseball Intern: Kyle Holland:

a kyle holland

Kyle is a life long baseball fan outside of Boston. He is a sophomore in high school has played baseball since he was 5. Although growing up in one of the best baseball towns in the major leagues, he has been a Giants fan since 2009. He credits his aunt with the Giants being his favorite team as she lives in San Francisco. Some of his favorite players include Buster PoseyStephen DrewTrevor BauerStephen Strasburg, and Minor leaguer Danny Hultzen.  You can find Kyle on Twitter 

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Posted on January 17, 2013, in MLB Player Profiles, The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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