For the record, this isn’t an article to discredit anything the Yankees have done all season long or bash them for any reason. The Yankees are having a great season and have a great chance to make a deep run into October. The purpose of this article is to credit a team who was basically written off all year long. Let’s take a look at the initial projections for the Minnesota Twins heading into 2017.
Minnesota Twins PECOTA 2017 Projection: 77-85
Minnesota Twins BleacherReport Projection: 62-100
Minnesota Twins USA Today Projection: 66-96
Minnesota Twins 2017 Record: 85-77 (clinched the 2nd AL wild-card spot)
Heading into the 2017 season, the expectations were very low for the Minnesota Twins. Coming off a 100+ loss season in 2016, there was little to no expectation amongst fans other than another rebuilding year. I would argue it’s still a rebuilding year, but they proved a lot of people wrong in 2017. The Twins are heading to the playoffs.
Sure, they didn’t go out and win their division, but they did sneak their way into the 2nd wildcard spot where they will square-off with the New York Yankees.
Not many expected Joe Mauer to have the season he is having. You’re not seeing major power from Mauer, but he has remained a consistent bat in the middle of the lineup all season long. Dozier is one of the game’s best second basemen and continues to prove his worth.
Along with a steady veteran presence in the lineup, the Twins have had some unexpected power production from young players. Eddie Rosario has 27 home runs, Miguel Sano has missed over a month and still has 28 home runs and Eduardo Escobar has 21 home runs on the year.
With the emergence of Byron Buxton in the 2nd half (.305 avg, 11 HR, 35 RBI), the Twins have snuck their way into the postseason. Up until they clinched, I don’t think anyone was even relatively considering the Twins as a legitimate wildcard threat.
Pitching was without a doubt the Twins biggest weakness heading into 2017 season and it still remains an issue, but they’ve produced enough to get by. Take a look at some of the starting pitching numbers below.
The Twins have to have a lot of things go right in order to take down Aaron Judge and the Yankees tonight, but I will certainly be rooting for it. Who doesn’t love a good underdog story? Coming off a 103 loss season, the Twins were all but written off heading into 2017. With some young production and steady veteran leadership, the Twins will look to continue their cinderella story into October.
Tuesday, Oct. 3 – 8:09 p.m. (ET) – ESPN
Ervin Santana (16-8, 3.28 ERA) takes the mound for the Twins. The Yankees will turn to their young star Luis Severino (14-6, 2.98 ERA). It should be noted the Twins held off young slugger Miguel Sano from the playoff roster (that can change for the next series if they win).
Can Ervin Santana quiet the young stars of the Bronx? Tune in tonight for our first taste of October baseball in 2017. Cheers.