Sep 15, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; The Minnesota Twins outfielder Darin Mastroianni (19), outfielder Alex Presley (1), and catcher Chris Herrmann (12) celebrate their 6-4 win against the Tampa Bay Rays in the ninth inning at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

AL Central Research Part 2: Minnesota Twins

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Minnesota Twins Continue to Rebuild With Strong Pool of Prospects

The Indians will have their hands full this year in the AL Central. The Tigers look to be contenders once again. The Royals should be in the mix as well after a sensational 2013 season. Even the Twins and White Sox, despite their flaws and current rebuilds, should prove to be a tough opponent on most nights.

With that in mind, I reached out to the editors of the other AL Central team sites here on the Fansided network and asked them some tough questions about their respective teams. I figured, what better way to gauge how well the Indians might do this year than to do a little research on their primary competitors. I asked each of them a series of questions hoping for some honest and insightful answers. I can’t thank each of them enough for their time.

In part one, we previewed the Kansas City Royals. For part two, we turn our attention to the north and the Minnesota Twins. Looking to get a little more info on just where the Twins stand, I reached out to the editor of Fansided’s Minnesota Twins website, Puckett’s Pond, Collin Kottke. You can see what he had to say about his beloved baseball team below. You can also follow him on Twitter @CollinKottke or @PuckettsPond.

Minnesota Twins:

minnesota twins

Jul 30, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer (7) hits a RBI single in the first inning against the Kansas City Royals at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Projected Lineup:

  1. Alex Presley, CF
  2. Brian Dozier, 2B
  3. Joe Mauer, 1B
  4. Josh Willingham, LF
  5. Oswaldo Arcia, RF
  6. Trevor Plouffe, 3B
  7. Jason Kubel, DH
  8. Kurt Suzuki, C
  9. Pedro Florimon, SS

Projected Starting Rotation:

Closer:

Prospect(s) Most Likely to Make a Difference:

Wahoo’s on First: The Minnesota Twins have had a rough go of it over the past few seasons. With all of the young talent in the minor leagues on the horizon (Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton, Alex Meyer, etc.) how long before you think they finally turn it around?

Collin Kottke: As a Twins homer, I would say 2014. Realistically, it’ll be 2015 or 2016 when it’s all running strong. Miguel Sano should be called up sometime in 2014 and Byron Buxton will be here either in 2014 or right away in 2015. Once those two are here (plus a couple of pitching prospects) the Twins should be competitive. Scary competitive.

Minnesota Twins

Nov 2, 2013; Surprie, AZ, USA; Minnesota Twins center Byron Buxton against East in the third inning during the Fall Stars Game at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Wahoo’s on First: Joe Mauer is making the move to first base full-time. While this move will help keep him healthy, do you think it helps keep him in Minnesota? Is Joe Mauer still part of the long-term plan in Minnesota?

Collin Kottke: The move on its face should keep Mauer much healthier. It’s been more evident the past couple years that catchers really get beat up, so keeping one of the best hitters in the game on the field will help the Twins tremendously.

Mauer will never leave Minnesota. The Twins seem to be scared of the publicity hit of ever considering moving Mauer. We Minnesotans love our hometown boys and the state would go crazy if Mauer was ever in, let’s say, a Yankees uniform.

Wahoo’s on First: Much like the Indians, the Twins are limited to what they can do financially. Are there any moves they made this off-season that excite you? Are there any that have you worried?

Collin Kottke: The Twins are spending less than what they should which is frustrating some fans. I’m okay with it at this point since the Twins won’t really compete in 2014. The moves of bringing in Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes are great first steps to improving a horrid starting rotation. I threatened that if they didn’t improve the rotation, I was going to move on to cover the St. Louis Cardinals.

Wahoo’s on First: As for specific moves, do you think the acquisitions of Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes can turn around a starting rotation that has been underwhelming in recent years?

Collin Kottke: Turn it around? No. They might start getting the car on its wheels and start pulling it out of the ditch. That’s how bad this rotation has been. Nolasco and Hughes probably aren’t good enough to be the top starters on a contending team. On a contender there are 3-4 starters, here they’ll be 1-2. In a couple of years, if they are still here, they’ll be great anchors to the rotation.

Wahoo’s on First: What story lines are you paying the most attention to as the Twins prepare to open spring training? Is it all about how the prospects perform, or are there any positional battles or specific players you’ll be keeping an eye on?

Collin Kottke: The major storyline is going to be about the prospects and finding out when Miguel Sano will be making his major league debut. A couple other storylines would be our worries about Trevor Plouffe and seeing if Jason Kubel makes the major league roster.

Wahoo’s on First: As someone who follows a another team in the AL Central, what do you make of the Indians heading into 2014?

Collin Kottke: I don’t see Cleveland falling off too much from their success in 2013. I forgot that Indians finished just a game behind the Tigers in the AL Central. It’ll be tough to make the playoffs though for the Indians. Detroit is still strong and one of these years Kansas City will actually compete, I’ve only been saying that for five years now. Those Wild Card spots will be hard to come by, too. We all know that the MLB needs to get Derek Jeter in the playoffs one more time…

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Tags: Byron Buxton Cleveland Indians Joe Mauer Miguel Sano

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