2010 Minnesota Twins Baseball Preview
For the Minnesota Twins (87- 76) their final year at the Metrodome, where they have resided for 28 years and won two World Series, was bittersweet. Yes, they won the AL Central but that was it. No pennant and certainly no World Series. This season they take up new residence at Target Field. It is a new era.
The pitching staff from last season remains intact. Number one starter Scott Baker (15-9, 4.37 ERA, 162 SO) and number four man Carl Pavano (14- 12, 5.10 ERA, 147 SO) were two reasons for Minnesota’s success. Baker is a fly-ball pitcher with a fine fastball and tricky curve. Pavano, who came over from Cleveland midseason after winning nine, can be uneven but when on-target he is tough to hit.
If righty Kevin Slowey (10-3, 4.86 ERA, 75 SO) is healthy, he’ll be the number two starter. He succumbed to a season-ending injury on August 4. With his stuff, he can place his tight spinning curveball anywhere. Nick Blackburn (11-11, 4.03 ERA, 98 SO) offers a fine curve mixed with an elusive slider. His fastball nips both sides of the plate.
Closer Joe Nathan (2-2, 2.10 ERA, 47 SV, 89 S0) offers a 94-mph fastball and a tight slider that keeps hitters off balance. He’s a dependable, go-to guy. Lefty Jose Mijares (2-2, 2.34 ERA, 55 SO) is an excellent setup man with a two- and four-seam fastball. His weight can be a problem.
Leadoff man Denard Span (.311 BA, 8 HR, 68 RBI) has a quick, compact swing that allows him to spray line drives. He’s a good fielder with a subpar arm but a quick release. Shortstop J.J. Hardy (.229 BA, 11 HR, 47 RBI) is an aggressive hitter who struggles with breaking balls. He’s a fluid fielder. Catcher Joe Mauer (.365 BA, 28 HR, 94 RBI) continues to get better and better. He is a true franchise player who knows how to deliver. Mauer is a topnotch backstop but missed a month last year due to injury. He has to stay healthy for this team to succeed. .
At first base, Justin Morneau (.274 BA, 30 HR, 100 RBI) is a fine fielder and at the plate a solid home run guy. He is coming off of off-season surgery. There is plenty of punch in the outfield, including the bats of center fielder Denard Span (.311 BA, 8 HR, 68 RBI) and right fielder Michael Cuddyer (.276 BA, 32 HR, 94 RBI). DH/OF Jason Kubel (.300 BA, 28 HR, 103 RBI) can smack the ball anywhere. He’s a below average fielder.
The Minnesota Twins possess one of the most solid management teams in the league. Manager Ron Gardenhire is adept at working with new talent and bringing them along and keeping the vets happy and productive. For the fifth time in his eight years in the Twin Cities he finished second in the voting for AL Manager of the Year. GM Bill Smith continues the tradition of bringing players along through the farm system and making solid deals for productive players.
The Twins have taken the division crown five of the last eight seasons. With 2010, it will be six of the last nine. This team looks to be once again tops in the Central Division. They have a solid group of guys.
For more info on the Twins check out the MLB official page for Minnesota baseball news.