Minnesota Twins Season Review

2022 was a disappointing season for the Twins. Finishing 80-82, 5 games behind Detroit and 3 games out for the final Wild Card spot was not what management expected. An 8-2 record in the final 10 games was too late a push. Hard decisions need to be made this off-season as salaries are increasing with some contract extensions taking effect. That results in less salary flexibility when GM Doug Graff tries to fill some of the roster holes.

The Good:

SS Nick Gordon continues to shine. Slashing .297/.356/.420 with 38 steals, 107 runs scored, 112 OPS+ and 4.9 WAR. The Twins need Gordon to continue his great production as he enters his age 27 season because his salary will increase to $25,000,000.

2B Luis Carpio took a step up offensively this season, flirting with a .300 average. He finished up .288/.351/.387. Not a power bat, Carpio did help lengthen the line up as the #9 hitter most games. Defensively, he will need to work on improving his range.

CF Magneuris Sierra also improved dramatically this season. Slashing .339/.353/.448 with .801 OPS and a 118 OPS+. Unfortunately, Sierra only appeared in 100 games due to 2 stints on the DL.

RF Desi Godfrey is developing into the brightest star on the Twins roster. The 24 year old was the offensive leader on the squad in just his 1st full season. The numbers speak for themself: .308/.348/.566 with a .914 OPS and a 146 OPS+. All that in 137 games- and that is the concerning part. Will Godfrey stay healthy?

CL Jung-Ho Chang is one of, if not the best, closer, in the game. Converting 40 out of 41 save opportunities, with a 12.3/9 strikeout rate. Chang has been dominant for each of his 3 seasons.

SP Huascar Ynoa has been the presumed ace for the Twins since GM Graff arrived in Minnesota. The 24 year old took a significant step forward in his 3rd major league season. Although not eye popping statistically, he continues to progress. 4 high quality pitches finally being harnessed led to at 9-11, 3.70 record. Next season should see more improvement.

The Bullpen was a strength for the Twins all season, carrying a heavy burden with the sub-par rotation. In addition to Chang, lefty Luis Romano, workhorse Anastasio Lopez, International Free Agent Julian Lopez, veteran Henry Hirsch, hard throwing Jorge Fajardo, Jose Nova (who was converted to a starter at the end of the season), Stu Bliss and Pat Calhoun all provided reliability. The team expects another strong season in 2023.

The Bad:

SP Jose Berrios was extended prior to the 2022 season at $14,000,000+/season. So far, it has not worked out well. 10-12, 4.86 ERA and a 1.48 WHIP. Twins need more.

1B/DH Amaurys Minier started out his career with a 23HR/.282BA season in 119 games. This was followed up by a 43HR/117RBI/.244 BA in 159 games and it appeared he would be the face of the franchise as a legitimate power bat. But in 2021 he dropped to 23HR in 158 games. This season, he started out fairly strong with 19HR as we entered August. But an oblique strain put him on the IL for 6 weeks, basically finishing the season. So, now the front office is left to wonder what he really is. Arbitration eligible through 2024, some decisions will have to be made. Next season will be critical.

C Francisco Mejia was a revelation in 2021, his first with Minnesota. Real good catcher who can shut down the running game, he hit .301. The only downside was a stint on the IL. 2022 was a struggle for him offensively, as he hit .256. Putting him in “The Bad” is a bit too harsh because he is a team leader and his defense ‘plays’. But, we need him to hit more moving forward.

3B was an offensive black hole for most of the season. Tony Dudley came into the season as the #1 3B, based on his leadership, solid defensive skills and a .271 BA in 2021. Colin Moran was signed in the off-season to a 1 year FA contract as back up/semi platoon. Well, Dudley provided nothing offensively (.242/.277/.321 with no power) and Moran was just as bad until the last month of the season (.274/.329/.422). Defensively, neither one really helped. That is why the Twins traded for Gabriel Corporan.

Starting Pitchers, besides Ynoa, were the biggest weakness for the Twins. It is an area that we need to address if there is going to be any improvement for the team. 2022 was just a disaster with Brandon Finnegan (traded to Atlanta), Kohl Stewart, Mike Minor, Luis Gil and Berrios running our outfield ragged. The trade with Atlanta brought Tim Cooney (and Freddie Freeman) over. Cooney started out slowly but did improve as the season progressed.

2024 will see a number of likely changes for the Twins, all with the understanding that we face budget constraints. Jose Nova was moved from the bullpen to the rotation at the end of the season and responded positively. RP Henry Hirsch will be given a chance to take his shot at the rotation, joining Ynoa, Cooney and Nova. The 5th spot will be determined. The bullpen should remain a strength with Chang, Fajardo, A. Lopez, J. Lopez, Romano, Bliss and Calhoun. The outfield will be manned by Godfrey, Sierra, Cochran and Martinez. Gordon, Freeman, Carpio and Corporan will probably be backed up by Dudley and Jose Martinez. Minier will return as the primary DH. Mejia is set behind the plate and may be backed up by defensive genius Ruben Perez.

The Twins prospects are not highly rated but I believe our minor leagues are underrated. P Jose Gonzalez (AA) and P Andy Alston (FSL A) are well regarded by the organization. Greg Watts (AAA), Andy Townsend (AAA) and Dave Garrett (AAA) will all play a role during the 2024 season. For the future, Graff is very excited to follow the development of 1B Chris Curry (FSL A), 2B Dave Ford (FSL A), 1B Billy Brock (MID A), 3B Jared Simpson (MID A), LF Pepe Reyes (MID A), 1B Carol Westerhout (R), 2B Greg Boyson (R), 3B Jim Espinosa (R), LF Stu Prouty (R), 2B Lucio Aguilar (GCL), LF Luis Espinosa (GCL), LF Orkut Erkan (DSL), SS Jake Conley (DSL) and 1B RJ Lester (DSL).

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