TMS MLB Preview 2009: Minnesota Twins

April 02, 2009 | Comments (0) | by The Hundley

All through March (and early April), Thunder Matt's Saloon will be previewing each Major League team. We'll give you the ins and outs of the upcoming 2009 season, how each team will do, and some other useless crap you'll wish you had never read.

Minnesota Twins

2008 Season: 88 - 75 (2nd Place in AL Central)

SS Adam Everett, P Eddie Guardado, P Dennys Reyes

WELCOME: P Luis Ayala, 3B Joe Crede

1. Denard Span RF
2. Alexi Casilla 2B
3. Joe Mauer C
4. Justin Morneau 1B
5. Delmon Young LF
6. Jason Kubel DH
7. Joe Crede 3B
8. Nick Punto SS
9. Carlos Gomez CF

Starting Rotation: Francisco Liriano, Scott Baker, Kevin Slowey, Glen Perkins, Nick Blackburn
Setup: Jesse Crain
Closer: Joe Nathan

It's now or never for The Twins. Okay, maybe it's not that bad, but this is their last year in The Metrodome, and this lineup and team are certainly built for playing there. The speedy, slap hitters wouldn't cut the mustard many other places or under other coaches. It isn't sexy, but Ron Gardenhire has them contending year after year, against all odds.

They certainly face a lot of "ifs" this year. They can contend in the AL Central if Francisco Liriano can become what he was before his injury. Their offense can get a boost if Joe Crede can stay healthy and if Delmon Young can find his power stroke. The Twins should be able to manufacture runs with their speed, if Denard Span and Carlos Gomez can get on base. Joe Nathan will save damn near every game if they have a late game lead. And if my aunt had balls, she'd be my uncle.

Who knows with the AL Central? The White Sox will almost certainly regress this year, the Tigers still have no pitching, you figure the Indians won't underachieve like last year, and maybe the Royals won't be terrible...hey, this league is for the taking. I could see 86 or 87 wins getting you the central crown. Tampa Bay Light, anyone? It will all boil down to pitching, and barring some career years in the back end of the rotation, I see the Twins coming up just shy of the Central crown once again.

Mr. Sexy Time: Does anyone remember that Justin Morneau won an AL MVP in 2006 and finished second in 2008? Such is life for a Minnesota Twin. Doubly so since he's a Canadian, though theoretically that stance should have softened since NAFTA. You can pencil, no, strike that, you can permanent marker in .300/30/100 for this guy. He's the highest paid Twin ever and the only one to win the Home Run Derby. Booyakasha!

Soon-to-be-Seen In Traction Award: Even though he's getting pushed by nice guy and former QC River Bandit, Joe Mauer, this one goes to Joe Crede. For the past four years Crede's back has been creaky and subject giving out, driving his team and fantasy managers crazy. Rob Dibble and Dan Patrick said Salonpas works.

Rudy Gay Bad Name Award:
Kevin Slowey. Really? A pitcher named Slowey? That's like a male porn star being named Ty Neekoch. (Reach)

For More Reading
Twins Geek
Twinkie Town
Field & Stream