State of the Central: Minnesota Twins
The Twins find themselves in a funny situation this season. They are trying to bide their time until their top prospects are ready to make an impact. Yet they are also trying to give the fans a reason to watch their games. This team is in a lot better shape than last season and is maybe 1 full season from being in contention, depending on when Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano are ready to be called up. They also have Alex Meyer and Trevor May waiting in the wings to help provide stability to a rotation that has been terrible for the most part since 2010.
2013 Reord: 36-44, 4th in the AL Central, 7½ games out of first place (As of July 2nd)
What’s going right: The Twins have seemingly found some stability at the top of the rotation in the form of Samuel Deduno and Kyle Gibson. Granted Gibson only has one start under his belt, he still offers hope for a team that hasn’t had quality starting pitching over the last few seasons. Deduno has come in and put together a nice string of starts after starting the season injured and rehabbing in the minor leagues. The Twins also have a ton of promising prospects in the pipeline nearly ready to step into the spotlight and contribute to the major league team. Compared to where this team was one offseason ago, Terry Ryan has come in and refilled the cupboard and has many fans excited about what the future has in store. Glen Perkins is in the midst of a career year as Twins closer and should make the All Star team. Joe Mauer has continued his excellent play the last couple of seasons and has added more power this year. The bullpen on a whole has been a strength for this team, with many relievers proving they are capable of getting Major League Hitters out.
What’s going wrong: The offensive inconsistencies have been masked by the fact that the starting rotation is still a work in progress. Many of the players that had career years offensively last season have regressed. Aaron Hicks started the year as the team’s center fielder, and has been a mess offensively for the most part. This team lacks a true leadoff hitter, which has led to a major drop-off in scoring this year. The rotation has been filled by reclamation projects or minor league depth pieces until the super prospects are ready to start on a full time basis. Mike Pelfrey has struggled to regain his form after Tommy John surgery. PJ Walters has been a disaster and Kevin Correia has come back to earth after a phenomenal start.
Trade Deadline Target: The Twins won’t trade anyone they view as a potential piece down the road when they are ready to contend again. This would include Glen Perkins, who could command a top prospect in return at the very least, but Perkins is valuable to this team once their prospects are all called up because he is signed to such a team-friendly contract. Players like Josh Willingham, Ryan Doumit, Justin Morneau, and Kevin Correia could fetch a prospect in return, but the Twins may simply stand pat at the deadline.
Bold Prediction: The Twins won’t trade any of their key pieces at the deadline, despite an aggressive attempt by the Detroit Tigers to acquire Glen Perkins. The Twins will finish the season under .500 but in 3rd place in the Central. Ron Gardenhire will call it quits in the offseason and the team acquires Mike Redmond from the Marlins to be their manager.