2022 Minnesota Twins Season Preview

2022 minnesota twins preview
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The Minnesota Twins look ready to get back to contention in 2022. After some significant offseason acquisitions, fans will be prepared to put last season in the rearview mirror. The Twins were 73-89, a disappointing dead last in the AL Central after winning the division title in 2019 and 2020. The Twins enter the 2022 season with huge aspirations. After the lockout, they did sign the top free agent and made a handful of moves to prove they wanted to win again. Plus, there are a ton of youngsters who can benefit from the veterans for guidance and leadership. But for now, here’s the preview for the upcoming season for the Twins.

Catchers

Ryan Jeffers, Gary Sánchez

Expect Ryan Jeffers and Gary Sánchez to split up the catching duties. Jeffers is the better defensive catcher as he will have a slight edge behind the plate. It will come in handy with DH-at bats available for Sanchez against left-handed pitching. As for Jose Godoy, they are keeping him on the roster as the third catcher as it keeps Jeffers and Sanchez open for pinch-hitting or DH duties. Gody figures to be called up at some point, but not just yet.

Infield

Luis Arraez, Carlos Correa, Nick Gordon, Jorge Polanco, Miguel Sanó, Gio Urshela

Carlos Correa has made a huge first impression with his new team. He’ll likely hit in the No. 3 spot in the Twins lineup. On days Correa will be off, Jorge Polanco looks to be the primary backup for the World Series Champion. As for Miguel Sanó, he’s improved since he transitioned to a full-time role during the 2020 season. He’ll be there to stay at first base, with Alex Kirilloff to serve as his primary backup. If Sano’s bat goes quiet, the Twins won’t be afraid to move him into a reduced role. The split of playing time could come into question, especially after turning to Kiriloff. Entering the season with a fifth double-play partner, Jorge Polanco will continue as the everyday second baseman. Last season, he set career bests with 33 home runs and a .503 slugging percentage. Nick Gordon could step in if necessary.

There appears to be a logjam of third basemen for the Twins’ 40-man roster. It could be challenging for Luis Arraez to find consistent playing time at any position. Gio Ursehla is the better defender, but third base and the DH are likely Arraez’s best shots for at-bats.

Outfield

Alex Kirilloff, Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, Kyle Garlick 

The Twins’ three outfielders are set. Kirilloff, Bryon Buxton, and Max Kepler are locked into their starting spots from left field to right field. Considering there’s no true backup center fielder behind Buxton, Kepler appears to be the primary backup in the middle.

Starting Rotation

Joe Ryan, Sonny Gray, Dylan Bundy, Bailey Ober, Chris Archer

While the Twins’ lineup looks good, the starting rotation is in rebuilding mode. The Twins will be without Kenta Maeda, whos recovering from Tommy John surgery, and Randy Dobnak, who suffered an injury to his right middle finger. Rookie Joe Ryan will get the ball on Opening Day. Ryan is the first Twins rookie to start on Opening Day since Tom Hall in 1969. The rotation’s depth isn’t enough to even after the additions of Sonny Gray and Dylan Bundy. There is uncertainty about how the back half of the rotation will perform. Gray should continue to be a reliable starter for the Twins.

The 32-year old posted a 136 ERA+ and a 3.00 strikeout-to-walk ratio over the last three seasons. Bundy posted a 6.06 ERA in an injury derailed 2021 season, just making 19 starts. However, his 2020 season was better, posting a 3.29 ERA over 65 2/3 innings of work. Bailey Ober and Chris Archer will fill out the rest of the rotation. Ober has a 4.19 ERA in 20 career starts, whereas Archer has been limited to six games in the past two seasons. If he can find consistency in his fastball and slider, the Twins rotation would be better for the time being.

Bullpen

Jorge Alcalá, Danny Coulombe, Jharel Cotton, Tyler Duffey, Griffin Jax, Jhon Romero, Taylor Rogers, Joe Smith, Caleb Thielbar, Josh Winder

The bullpen lacks impact arms. The Twins will want someone to pitch multiple innings from some relievers. But, expect some of Minnesota’s relievers to be in short-stint leverage situations. Taylor Rogers, Tyler Duffey, Jorge Alcala, Joe Smith, and Caleb Thielbar fit the bill. The Twins need big things from Alcala, who can provide a big arm in middle to late innings. It will be intriguing to see how Jharel Cotton, Josh Winder, and Griffin Jax will be deployed in the group.

2022 Minnesota Twins Season Preview Outlook

Minnesota has a bounce-back in its sights. For a team who’s coming off two consecutive down seasons, the Twins did well to shake up its roster with interesting offseason moves. Correa is an elite shortstop, and integrating him and Sanchez into the lineup will ensure the Twins are among the league leaders in offense. If the Twins can stay healthy and the pitching compliments the batting, the outcomes for Minnesota in 2022 could be endless.

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Players mentioned:

Ryan Jeffers, Gary Sánchez, Jose Godoy, Carlos Correa, Nick Gordon, Jorge Polanco, Miguel Sanó, Gio Urshela, Alex Kirilloff, Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, Brent Rooker, Sonny Gray, Dylan Bundy, Joe Ryan, Bailey Ober, Josh Winder, Taylor Rogers, Tyler Duffey, Jorge Alcalá, Joe Smith, Caleb Thielbar, Cody Stashak, Jharel Cotton, Lewis Thorpe, Griffin Jax, Jhoan Duran