The Twins were dreadful last year, and well...they’ll be pretty dreadful this year too.
It would be an accomplishment to win 70 but losing 100 is a real possibility. The big problem isn’t the offense, which features some pretty solid bats in Joe Mauer, Josh Willingham and Trevor Plouffe. There isn't a lot to like in the pitching outside of closer Glen Perkins and maybe Vance Worley. They also feature too many nondescript young position players who really don’t belong on most fantasy rosters.
Here are 10 to watch in 2013.
Justin Morneau (1B): 2012 was a big year for Morneau as he managed to stay on the field for the whole season for the first time since 2010. Some of the skill definitely returned and there is a chance that he can build on that though he’ll probably never again reach elite levels. Last year’s .267-19 is probably a baseline. With conditioning and health, maybe he can hit 25-plus home runs again. He’ll certainly contribute with RBIs.
Trevor Plouffe (3B): Plouffe hit 24 home runs last year and yet plenty of fantasy players still don’t know who he is. You can thank playing in Minnesota for that, where media coverage isn’t exactly East Coast in density and Mauer and Morneau get all the headlines. The power is real and more than repeatable, while his average could rise a bit too (he hit .235 last year). He’s a middle of the lineup hitter just entering his age 27 season. There is upside here. Ryan Doumit (C/Util): It’s amazing what not having to actually play catcher much will do for a player such as Doumit. Since he still qualifies at catcher he’s got a ton of value in AL only and mixed leagues. At age 32 he’s no longer got a lot of upside, but he could match last year's production and .275 with 15-20 hrs is pretty good for someone in a catcher's slot. Chris Parmalee (OF): Another almost unknown member of the Minnesota Twins who can hit for power. He split time between AAA and the majors last year managing 22 home runs in just over 400 ABs. He’ll be asked to take over the right field job this season and get plenty of chances to prove himself. He probably won’t match last season’s overall power totals but he could manage to hit 15 home runs with a .250ish average. Sadly he offers no speed, and he’ll hit towards the bottom of the lineup.
Aaron Hicks (OF): Long term Hicks may be a guy to keep an eye on, but he’s apt to struggle this year as he’s expected to be the Twins everyday center fielder. He’s got moderate power and a good set of wheels. That said his upside is probably .260-10 with 20 or so steals. There is plenty of upside here and at age 22 he’s got plenty of time to find it. Just don’t expect a breakout this year since AAA probably would be a better choice.
Josh Willingham (OF): The 34 year old had a career year last year when he hit 35 home runs and drove in 110. That’s not repeatable. While it’s possible that he’ll fall off a cliff and see things vanish quickly it’s more likely that he’ll ease his way down a gradual slope. Twenty-five to 30 home runs is still more than possible and he could make a charge back towards 100 RBIs. Still I’d bet a little bit lower.
Vance Worley (SP): Worley is a fairly decent pitcher whose results last year don’t reflect, the steps forward that he made in 2011 and even the first half of 2012. The year you should take note of was 2011 when he posted a 3.01 ERA with a 1.23 WHIP with a WAR of 3.2. He didn’t strike out a batter per inning, but he came close, and his number the first half of 2012 looked remarkably similar until elbow issues flared, leading to a meltdown and September surgery for what turned out to be a minor enough issue. He hasn’t impressed in the spring, but the upside here is tantalizing. He could be a major sleeper.
Glen Perkins (CL): Perkins took over the closer role, or at least part of the closer role, midseason 2012 and never looked back. He was forced to share the role last year with Jared Burton and the possibility of that happening again is at least moderately good since few managers love having a left handed closer. Still he’s got better skills than Burton and is aligned for first crack at the job. Consider him among the more reliable of options unless struggles force Ron Gardenhire to reassess the job.
Joe Mauer (C): It seems unlikely that we’ll ever see the return of the power that Mauer displayed back in 2009, but who's complaining? Mauer contributes in runs, average and RBIs, can hit (low) double digit home runs and even steal a base or two. That keeps him among the best of the catcher crop year after year.
Brian Dozier (SS): OK, I wasn’t really planning on including Dozier here, but the Twins are thin and at least Dozier has some upside. He jumped from AA to the Majors last season and had some severe growing pains. His upside for this season is probably minor maybe 10-10 with an average that could approach .250. In shallow leagues and mixed leagues you can probably ignore him, but in deeper or AL only leagues he’s at least worth knowing about.