The Minnesota Twins are currently surpassing most people’s expectations thus far, as the team is five games over .500 and leading the AL Central by one game over the defending AL representative in the World Series, the Cleveland Indians.
Over the course of the first third of the season, two players have been carrying the Twins to victory. Third baseman Miguel Sano has been slugging his way to becoming one of the American League’s most feared hitters. Batting above .300 all year and slugging 14 home runs thus far, Sano is no longer the young prospect the Twins hoped to develop but rather he is now a true all-star caliber player. Sano is currently on pace to hit 40-plus home runs and account for 130-plus runs batted in. Starter Ervin Santana is the other Minnesota Twin that has been delightfully surprising this year. At 34 years-old, Santana is in the midst of his best season of his career and looks to continue his high performance into the later months of the year to perhaps help the Twins sneak into the playoffs. The right-hander currently sits at 7-3 on the year while boasting a 2.44 ERA.
If Minnesota wants to ultimately push for a playoff spot, a number of things have to happen. First, they need other guys to step up outside of Sano and Santana. These two have been unbelievable so far but need help from their teammates as they cannot shoulder this team on their own. There is simply not enough talent on the roster for that. Second, they need rookie Phenom Jose Berrios to keep pitching like a bonafide veteran. The young pitcher looks like a future ace-in-the-making but for now the Twins would like to see consistency out of him for the rest of the year. Berrios is currently 4-1 with a 2.77 ERA. Thirdly, the Twins need to be aggressive for an arm at the trade deadline.
Minnesota does not need a number-one caliber pitcher, but possibly an older veteran that could help propel the team into a wild card berth. With a three-headed-monster of Santana, Berrios, and someone such as Matt Cain from the San Francisco Giants, the Twins would have a feared threesome at the top of their pitching rotation heading into the playoffs.
It remains to be seen if the Twins can continue this run. Either way, excitement for this club is higher than it has been, compared to a dreadful 2016 season. Minnesota has lost at least 90 games in five of seven seasons in the stadium and would like to bring some playoffs game back to Minneapolis, which has not happened since Target Field’s inaugural season in 2010.