2018 Minnesota Twins Expert Predictions and Odds to Win the World Series
On the surface last year was a decent-but-unremarkable season for the Minnesota Twins. They won 85 games to grab the last wild-card spot and then lost the wild-card game to make their postseason life last for one night. Fine, but not earth shattering. But when you consider that the team lost a league-worst 103 games in 2016, last year was just incredible.
Massive improvements are kind of what this team does, though. They won the World Series in 1987 after winning 71 games the year before and then went from worst to first to again win it all in 1991. But things are different this year. Last year no one saw them coming, and there were no expectations. Now fans expect to see the same kind of season - or better - again, and opponents are going to be ready for them. So, are they up for the challenge?
Twins 2018 Projected Lineup
The team was active in the offseason. Much of the changes were with pitchers - and they might not be done there yet. They made a very nice addition, adding Logan Morrison on a low-risk, one-year deal to DH. He has solid power and can bat cleanup. He's added to the lineup that led the majors in runs after July 31. If there is a negative it's that he is a lefty, and that means that there will likely be six lefties in the starting lineup. But that's not a disaster, and it will be an advantage in some cases.
There are a couple of questions, though. First is Miguel Sano. First, he suffered a shin injury last year and had to deal with surgery and rehab in the offseason. He's not a small guy in the best of situations, and he's bigger now because of the lack of activity, which isn't ideal and will have to be addressed - especially if he wants to last at third base. Second, he's also being investigated by MLB for sexual assault. In this era, that's a concern, and he could be in line for a significant suspension. That would be a problem, and the uncertainty until a decision regarding him is made by the league will be a distraction.
The other, more positive, questions surround Byron Buxton. He's only 24, but it seems like we have been waiting for the 2012 second-overall pick to emerge forever. He took big steps forward in center field last year, winning a gold glove. If he can keep the progress going then this is the year he could become a superstar.
Twins 2018 Projected Rotation and Closer
As I write this we are in a place where ideally the team would add another starter. Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn are two guys who aren't signed yet who get mentioned with this team a lot, and that would be ideal. They have a couple of decent arms in the rotation, but they are lacking depth - especially early on when Ervin Santana will be out with a finger injury for a month or two.
They traded for Jake Odorizzi in the offseason, and he'll enter the season as the likely No. 1 starter - at least until Santana is back. Right now Jose Berrios, Kyle Gibson and Adalberto Mejia are the middle of the rotation, and Phil Hughes is the fifth starter. Anibal Sanchez was added in the offseason and will likely be a long reliever to begin with, but he could start. They added Michael Pineda from the Yankees, too, but he had Tommy John surgery in July and could miss as much as the whole season. The return of Santana will help, and there are a couple of youngsters who could come up and be relevant at some point, but they still need some help, because right now this rotation is their weakness.
The bullpen is solid as long as 40-year-old Fernando Rodney is still capable of closing. They have some middle-range guys like Zach Duke, Trevor Hildenberger and Addison Reed, who will likely set up Rodney to start, who could be decent. It's not the best bullpen out there, but it's better than the rotation - and it needs to be.
Twins Futures Odds
The Twins are at +5000 at BetOnline to win the World Series, which puts them behind 16 other teams. It feels like there is a touch of relative value there - especially if they add a pitcher. They are at +2500 to win the AL and the +650 second choice to win the truly-awful AL Central. They are massively behind heavy favorites Cleveland at -500, and that's fair - the Twins are more likely a wild-card team than a divisional winner anyway. The season win total sits at 82.5, with the over the popular choice at -130. Miguel Sano is at +2500 to win the home run title, which puts him firmly in the second tier of contenders, but it is hard to bet that given the uncertainty around his suspension status.
Twins 2018 Predictions
I like this team. If Santana comes back well, they add a pitcher, and Sano isn't gone for too long, then I could really like this team. I like the offense, the bullpen should be solid, and the rotation has a little potential with help. They overachieved somewhat last year, it seemed, but they shouldn't be a flash in the pan and they are on the rise. The division is horrible, so that will help with some wins. I like them as a wild-card team.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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