Twins: 2017 Fantasy Baseball Preview

MLB: Cleveland Indians at Minnesota Twins

AL East: BAL, BOS, NYY, TB, TOR

NL East: ATL, NYM, PHI, MIA, WAS

AL Central: KC, CWS, DET, CLE

The Minnesota Twins have been quiet this offseason, only signing one player. The team struggled in real life, but do have some fantasy stars.

The Minnesota Twins have finished fifth in the American League Central in four of the last six seasons. It’s hard to finish fantasy value on a team that doesn’t win, but the Twins have a couple of up-and-coming players that will be worth owning.

However, when I say a couple, that’s what I mean. I only have three Twins players ranked inside my top-300. There are one or two more that can sneak in at the end of the season. This should be a pretty short slide show with the lack of fantasy stars.

The Twins have been linked to trade rumors surrounding their second baseman, Brian Dozier.

The Los Angeles Dodgers were interested in the veteran, but nothing has moved past preliminary talks. The Dodgers are still looking for a second baseman, so something could happen before Opening Day.

The Dodgers are still looking for a second baseman, so something could happen before Opening Day.

If that’s the case, the Twins could be in trouble because Minnesota doesn’t have a deep bench or farm system.

The other two ranked players are the third baseman and center fielder. Those positions are pretty deep, so they rank in the second tier of their respective positions.

The starting rotation doesn’t feature anyone with fantasy value. No one had more than 150 strikeouts or an ERA below 3.20. They may work for quality starts leagues but in standard leagues, they are skippable.

The bullpen employs a closer that has sleeper potential. He finished with 17 saves last season and considering the Twins only won 59 games, that’s not bad.

Target Field looks to favor the hitters on paper, but that doesn’t bode well for the pitchers.

Sep 12, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Ervin Santana (54) pitches in the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The rotation has two pitchers I’m watching leading up to the draft. One is veteran Ervin Santana and the other is sophomore Jose Berrios.

Santana went 7-11 with a 3.38 ERA and 1.219 WHIP in 30 starts. He also had 149 strikeouts and 53 walks in 181.1 innings. The strikeout numbers aren’t there, but the ratio stats are good enough to be an SP5 in standard leagues.

Berrios didn’t look all that good in his rookie season. He had an 8.02 ERA, 1.869 WHIP and 3-7 record in 14 starts. The upside is that he is just 23 years old. If he can make the required adjustments in Spring Training, he could be a top-60 pitcher and rosterable.

The rest of the rotation is Hector Santiago, Phil Hughes, and Kyle Gibson. They may have some good starts throughout the season, but they aren’t consistent enough to have in your starting lineup on a weekly basis.

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Cleveland Indians

The Twins bullpen didn’t get much work last season. Like I said, the Twins only won 59 games.

Their closer, Brandon Kintzler pitched in 54 games. He was able to record 17 saves with a 3.15 ERA, 1.233 WHIP, and 35 strikeouts. When he did pitch, he was good. The downside is that he didn’t pitch enough to be worth owning.

Kintzler ranked 118th in games played among relief pitchers. You can’t own a relief pitcher like that. He will be able to be added late in drafts or in the first couple of weeks off the waiver wire.

Ryan Pressly is a deep-league option if you play in a holds league. He had a 3.70 ERA and 1.354 WHIP in 72 games.

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Minnesota Twins

The only move the Minnesota Twins made this offseason was signing catcher Jason Castro.

He hit poorly with the Houston Astros. Castro hit .210 with 11 home runs and 32 RBI. My colleague Ryan Cook questioned if his fantasy value improves with the news. I don’t think so. The park may favor hitters, but the hitters need to make contact for that to work.

Joe Mauer will continue to play first base. He didn’t perform badly, but the position is just so deep that I can’t rank him inside my top 20. Mauer hit .261 with 11 homers and 49 RBI in 134 games. He’s played in 150 games just once in his career.

Dozier crushed the ball throughout the 2016 season. He posted a career-high 42 home runs with 99 RBI and a .268 average. Cook believes you should draft Dozier high this season. While I agree his ADP will improve compared to last season, you don’t need to reach for him.

He is my No. 2 second baseman, but if you decide to pass on him, don’t fret. The position is deep and there is a high likelihood he hits 25 home runs instead of 40.

Miguel Sano will take over third base after the Twins designated Trevor Plouffe for assignment before he signed with Oakland. Sano struggled to connect with the ball on a consistent basis. He hit .236 but was able to hit 25 home runs and 66 RBI.

Sano is my No. 14 third baseman and holds outfield eligibility.

Shortstop Jorge Polanco hit well when he played, .282 with four homers and 27 RBI in 69 games.

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Tampa Bay Rays

The average age of the Twins outfield is 24 years old. I like all three outfielders but on different levels.

Byron Buxton is the center fielder. He, like many other Twins hitters, didn’t make good contact. Buxton hit .225 with 10 home runs, 38 RBI, and 10 steals. Unless something changes, he will tank your average, but the power and speed could help in some leagues. He just makes it into my top 60.

Max Kepler, the right fielder, was better in some aspects. He had a better average, .235, and power, 17 homers and 63 RBI. Kepler only had six steals, but speed is found late.

My other colleague Brad Kelly asked if we should believe in the rookie’s success. I think we should. The average will increase, and if he can keep the power, he will be a top-60 outfielder.

Eddie Rosario is the left fielder. He hit .269 with 10 homers, 32 RBI, and five steals. He’s decent, but nothing special. He’ll make a good utility hitter or off-day fill in.

The Twins DH is Kennys Vargas. He also hit 10 home runs, but that’s best of his 2016 season.

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Tampa Bay Rays

The Twins may struggle again this season. The pitching staff has a lot of holes and the offense can’t on base frequently. They had 11 batters hit at least 10 home runs. That’s the good.

The pitching staff has a lot of holes and the offense can’t on base frequently. They had 11 batters hit at least 10 home runs. That’s the good. The bad is eight of the top batters with at least 300 at-bats hit under .270.

If you do draft a Twins hitter, you sacrifice average in the hopes for some power.