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2009 AL Previews: Minnesota Twins

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Team Name: Minnesota Twins

2008 W-L Record: 88-75

Place in division: 2nd

2009 Projected Lineup

Player

Pos.

Joe Mauer

C

Justin Morneau

1B

Alexi Casilla

2B

Nick Punto

SS

Brian Buscher

3B

Delmon Young

LF

Carlos Gomez

CF

Michael Cuddyer

RF

Jason Kubel

DH

Key Bench Players

Player

Pos.

Brendan Harris

IF

Denard Span

OF

Mike Redmond

C

2009 Projected Rotation

Player

Pos.

Francisco Liriano

SP1

Scott Baker

SP2

Kevin Slowey

SP3

Nick Blackburn

SP4

Glen Perkins

SP5

Key Relievers

Player

Pos.

Joe Nathan

Closer

Jesse Crain

Setup

Craig Breslow

Setup

Jose Mijares

Specialist

2009 Outlook:

As Dave Cameron discusses here, last year the Twins were lucky to win 88 games. This offseason they didn't do a whole lot to shore up an awful offense and defense.  Instead they are depending on young players getting better. Last year the Twins had three outfielders of 24 or younger (Young, Gomez, and Span) play a total of 398 games. They also had 23 year-old Alexi Casilla play 98 games at primarily second base. The Twins are hoping that Span (who will spell all three OF positions) will put up the solid production from last year going forward; that Gomez, Young, and Casilla will do something with the bat; and that Delmon can't possibly be as bad in the field as he was last year. Throw in a full year of a healthy Cuddyer and Liriano (instead of the terrible Livan Hernandez), and you see what the Twins will need to succeed. The big issue, though, is that is a lot of chips that need to fall right. The Twins will also need a relatively young staff-- with only one guy that really strikes guys out-- to keep teams from scoring runs on a pretty bad defense (that has guys projected at +9, -1, -4, -8, +3, -6, +12, and -8). They have Harris on the bench who ranges from awful to terrible as well. All in all, I would not expect much from the Twins, although I thought the same thing last year when they finished second in the division.