2021 MLB Team Preview: Minnesota Twins

The Minnesota Twins are still the team to beat in the American League Central. That’s the good news. The bad news is that another year has come and gone without the Twins winning a single playoff game. One of the most puzzling and depressing facts found anywhere in Major League Baseball continues to be more and more oppressive as the years go by. The Twins have the talent to compete for a World Series, but their playoff misery in recent years has to be expunged in order for this team to move forward.

What Happened Last Year

The Twins won the American League Central, earning home-field advantage for the playoffs against a Houston Astros team which did not have a winning record in the regular season, which was shortened by the pandemic. The Twins figured to have a big advantage against a team with such a horrible record, but their bats went silent and the Astros completed a two-game sweep of the best-of-three series. The Twins improbably lost their 17th and 18th consecutive playoff games, a mind-blowing run of postseason futility which goes back several seasons. It would be one thing if a team lost a lot of playoff series in a row – such as the Oakland Athletics, who are alongside the Twins in terms of establishing October futility – but the Twins aren’t even winning individual playoff games. Oakland has at least won games in various postseason series; the A’s have the problem of not being able to win the clinching game when they have a chance. The Twins can’t even get to square one in the playoffs. They are good at making playoff series; they have reached the postseason nine times this century, basically every other year on average. They just can’t win series. They are 1-9 in their 10 playoff series, their one win coming against, of course, the Athletics.

Offseason Changes

The Twins’ offseason was notable not for any changes, but for the lack of changes. Nelson Cruz did not retire or go to another team. He will run it back for another year and give the Twins the power which has enabled them to score a lot of runs in recent seasons. Josh Donaldson is back after arriving in Minneapolis last season. Jorge Polanco is back. Miguel Sano is back. Max Kepler is back. The Twins still have that ferocious batting order which should enable them to overpower every team in this division. The Indians are weaker and the Royals and Tigers are still trying to improve their rosters. The Twins have the most fully-formed roster in the division. It’s simply a matter of hitting in the clutch in October.

2021 Outlook

This simply needs to be a year in which the Twins win a playoff series. This is a mental albatross which is oppressing everyone on the team and in the front office. The organization simply needs to get this monkey off its back and enter 2022 with a sense of relief… and maybe an American League championship. Winning the Central won’t be hard; October is this team’s challenge and focus.

Pick: 1st In American League Central

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