2007 Minnesota Twins Baseball Preview
Four of the past five years the Minnesota Twins (96- 66) have been in the post-season. In 2006, they got off to a terrible 9- 15 start but still managed to win the Central Division. But the AL Central has become highly competitive, making it tougher for Minnesota to continue their dominance.
Cy Young winner Johan Santana (19- 6, 2.77 ERA) led the league in wins, strikeouts and ERA. Carlos Silva (11- 15, 5.94 ERA) is the second man in the rotation due to Francisco Liriano’s season ending injury and Brad Radke’s retirement. The rest are babes—Boof Bonser, Matt Garza, Glen Perkins and Kevin Slowey. Closer Joe Nathan (7- 0, 1.58 ERA, 36 SV) brings an arsenal of pitches.
Luis Castillo (.296 AVG, 49 RBI, 3 HR, 25 SB) and Nick Punto (.290 AVG, 45 RBI, 1 HR, 17 SB) are the first and second hitters in a tough lineup that includes the prowess of batting champ Joe Mauer (.347 AVG, 84 RBI, 13 HR) and the pop of MVP Justin Morneau (.321 AVG, 130 RBI, 34 HR). Together Tori Hunter and Michael Cuddyer hit 55 homers in 2006.
The club, that sported a .986 fielding percentage (tied for second in AL) has some sure hands, including second baseman Castillo, who can be brilliant but inconsistent. SS Barlett has a strong accurate arm and fine range. Catcher Mauer has great defensive skills and continues to improve his management skills.
In five years with the Twins, manager Ron Gardenhire has notched a 455- 354-record. He knows how to keep his players focused and energized. He’s shown to be manager of the year material. GM Terry Ryan knows how to manipulate a small payroll and has developed a wealth of young pitching talent.
The Twins’ pitching is young and talented and their everyday players bring a lot to the field. Like the Tigers, there’s a lot of enthusiasm and unpredictability. This is one of the clubs that will make the AL Central fun to watch. If the untested starters can pass the test, this team will be in the mix once again.
For more info on the Twins check out the MLB official page for Minnesota baseball news.