It might be unfair to say that the Twins are a minor league All Star team, but they’re pretty close to it.
They come into this season with a lot of next faces in the field and on the mound.
Not to discredit the Joe Mauers and Justin Morneaus of the world, but Minnesota is undoubtably in rebuilding mode.
The club brought in some veteran arms this offseason, in Vance Worley and Kevin Correia, to go along with some of their upcoming contributors.
Scott Diamond had one of the more impressive seasons in 2012, showing flashes of his upside.
Unfortunately, he’ll start the season on the DL.
The most important newcomer is closer Glen Perkins.
Minnesota has been utilizing a closer-by-committee mindset lately, primarily due to injuries and poor play.
Matt Capps seemed to be the answer during Joe Nathan’s absence, but the team decided that it was time to invest in another direction.
Perkins is a seven-year veteran that has been primarily used out of the bullpen, with one instance as a starter in 2008.
He actually went 12-4 that season, but had a 4.41 ERA.
Since then, Perkins has battled with his ERA, fluctuating between a 2.40+ and 5+ ranges.
He had 16 saves as a part time contributor last year, sporting a respectable 2.56 ERA.
If Perkins is going to be the answer in Minnesota, the Twins will need him to perform at that same level this season.
The Twins have also needed an upgrade in their lineup.
They let both of their centerfielders, Ben Revere and Denard Span, walk this offseason.
It was a head-scratcher at the time, but they just continue to produce quality outfielders.
Aaron Hicks and Chris Parmelee will be the two players to watch this season.
Hicks recently won the job over utility-man Darin Mastroianni in Spring camp, and will look to be a solid contributor in his first major league season.
Parmelee is a natural first baseman that Rod Gardenhire just wants to get in the lineup because of his potential.
Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer don’t appear to be going anywhere, unless it’s by trade, so Parmelee will be slated in right field for the meantime.
The Twins have quality players in their lineup, but they have a bandaid staff.
They’re not going to be an automatic victory on anyone’s schedule, but they’re not going to be contending for a divisional title during this transition season.
The main questions that will determine the success of this team are : can Glen Perkins be an effective full-time closer, can their staff keep them in games, and can these new players be productive throughout the season.
Let’s take a look at who could make an impact on your fantasy team this season…
TWINS PROJECTED LINEUP
1. Aaron Hicks CF Rookie that brings a lot of speed to the table. He’s a .280-type of hitter that can get you around 15+ home runs and 60+runs/rbi’s.
2. Jamey Carroll 2B When in his 11 seasons has he ever been worth a look in fantasy? Keep looking.
3. Joe Mauer C He hasn’t had the power that he had in his MVP ’09 season. The Team has tried to trade him, but his contract is too big. The reason why he remains so valuable is the fact that he plays as much 1B as he does C, which translates to more at bats/points for you. He’s still a top 10 catcher.
4. Josh Willingham LF Great source of home runs, but that’s about it. His batting average rates somewhere around .260, but he’ll get you 25+ home runs. He’s coming off of a career-high season, so expect him to level out from hitting 35 homers in 2012.
5. Justin Morneau 1B He’s not longer elite. His average had dropped to around .270 nowadays, and can barely get to 20 home runs anymore. He’s nothing more than a late or post-draft option at 1B.
6. Ryan Doumit DH His catcher eligibility keeps him in fantasy conversations. He’s the Twins’ ultimate utility player, which offers many opportunities to play everyday. He can hit home runs, but doesn’t hit for average. He’s a late round option.
7. Chris Parmelee RF He’s not a rookie anymore, but he’s not a big name yet either. He’s not going to steal bases, but he’ll contribute elsewhere. A solid balanced player that’ll be worth a look in post-draft pickups.
8. Trevor Plouffe 3B Exploded onto the fantasy scene last year as a home run threat, but quickly crashed and burned. He’s a .230 hitter that does bring a lot of power, if you can deal with how many times he’ll strikeout. He’s not a must-own by any means, but he can be a sneaky power contributor that you can get late.
9. Brian Dozier SS Another .230 hitter that doesn’t bring an overwhelming source of contribution to the table. Wait for him to develop before thinking about investing in him.
1. Vance Worley Had a horrible year, after breaking out in 2011. He was successful as a mid-rotation starter in Philly, so the pressure of being an ace could further affect his production. The only reason you invest in him is if you’re in a large league and you’re desperate for pitchers late in your draft.
2. Kevin Correia He performed miracles at times in Pittsburgh, but not as a number two starter. Keep looking elsewhere.
3. Mike Pelfrey Never did anything impressive with the Mets, so why would a new environment spark his career? Don’t bother.
4. Liam Hendriks He appeared in 16 games last season and got shelled. He takes a lot of risks with his approach, but being overly aggressive, which leads to his 5+ ERA. Don’t invest.
5. Brian Duensing He’s a 5+ ERA type of pitcher that is just keeping the seat warm until Scott Diamond returns from the DL.
RP-Glen Perkins He was a decent part-time option as a closer last season, keeps his ERA under 3, and can get a strikeout here and there. Could get a lot of opportunities because the team should be in a lot of close games, but he’s not someone that you need to go after immediately if closers start flying off the draft board.
Aaron Hicks just might be the lone bright spot for the Twins this season. He has officially won the centerfielder job in Spring camp and will look to hold down that position for a long time. Hicks brings a lot of speed to the table and can hit around 15 or more home runs. He’s more of a player that’ll hit for average than power, but he’ll be a balanced contributor. It’s not official on whether or not he’ll be the everyday leadoff hitter, but he has the tools to assume the role. His fantasy value will increase if he wins that role, otherwise he’s a decent option as your third outfielder while he goes through some growing pains.
If you’re going to invest in a Twins pitcher, it’ll be Scott Diamond. He’s going to start the season on the 15-day DL, but you can still pick him up once he’s healthy. He appeared in 27 games last year for Minnesota, producing a decent 12-9 record in his first full season of action.His 3.54 ERA was the best on the team, and will likely be again this year. Diamond will be towards the bottom of the rotation when he returns, which sets up for favorable pitching matchups. He’s working on increasing his strikeout totals, he’s very durable, and he can go deep into games. When you need some help later in the season, consider the upside of Scott Diamond.