Reasons for optimism?
The primary concern last year was almost certainly injuries. Just like you couldn't assume last year that essentially every player of value would be hurt, you can't assume that this year either. A healthy Mauer, Morneau, Casilla, Span and even Nishioka will do nothing but help. That's more than half of a lineup. That, and they added two players that can hit for power from the right side, an issue for the Twins since they moved to Target Field. The offense is going to be so, so much better. It has to be.
And the pitching, is, well, not as good. The bullpen, additionally, has nowhere to go but up. Matt Capps is an up and down player, which means this year has to be an "up" (terrible logic, but it gives me hope) which may help the bullpen. The rotation, too, could stand to be healthier. Francisco Liriano is now going to be a couple years removed from major injury, and Scott Baker will take advantage of the spacious outfield and the speedy outfielders behind him. Even potential new Twin Jason Marquis has ramped up his ground ball rate and improved his control over the past couple of seasons. He won't be an ace, but, if used properly, will certainly be an asset.
And now, because there will be an injury or two, the team has experienced minor leaguers to step in. At the very least, the step down won't feel quite as dramatic, given that we will all have seen it before.
So, you know what? Go Twins. I don't think it will be so bad.
Labels: Minnesota Twins