Byron Buxton, Jose Berrios, and the team looks primed for an AL Central run in 2019
Spring is in the air and the Minnesota Twins will be kicking off their regular season today at Target Field. The Twins enter the season playing the Cleveland Indians, the most likely team Minnesota will be battling for the AL Central title.
The Twins will be led my new manager, Rocco Baldelli – the youngest manager in the MLB at 37 years of age. He’s a people person and can connect with the players around the clubhouse. That will be important moving forward with the young roster of the Twins.
Speaking of young players, centerfielder Byron Buxton is hoping to turn things around after a rather disappointing 2018 season. After hitting .156 in just 90 at-bats last season and spending most of the season either injured or in the minor leagues, the former No. 2 overall pick has prepared for a bigger 2019 year.
Buxton added about 20 pounds of muscle this offseason, simplified his swing and has been working on his mechanics since October – much earlier than what he’s done in the past. Thus far, it appears that his work during the offseason has payed off. This spring training he’s hitting .410, with four homeruns and 15 runs batted. It’s a small sample size, but the Twins will need him to perform like this if they want to turn the page and enter postseason play.
Starting pitcher Jose Berrios is another player to watch this season. Berrios will be the opening day starter for the first time in his career and will be looking to make his second straight All-Star game. He will need to stay consistent this year and lead a weaker pitching. Another thing worth noting, he does have the ability to be in contention for the AL Cy Young Award.
The other player that has had big expectations is first baseman Miguel Sano. He’s supposedly in the best shape of his career right now but will spend the first two months on the Injured List this season after getting stitches for a laceration on his ankle. Sano, along with Buxton and Berrios will be three key players that will determine how far this team will go.
There will be some new faces on the roster this 2019 year. The more notable names to remember are outfielder/first baseman Nelson Cruz, second baseman Jonathan Schoop, first baseman C.J. Cron, pitcher Martin Perez, outfielder Marwin Gonzalez and pitcher Blake Parker.
The Twins have a real shot at winning the division title this year, which would be a big turnaround after not making it last year. The Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals and Chicago White Sox aren’t going to be much of a threat to the Twins this season.
The Indians and Twins are the two teams to keep an eye on. Cleveland has a strong team, but they didn’t make any improvements over the offseason, losing many key players. Getting to the playoffs and winning the division is going to be the goal for this young-exciting Minnesota team.
Header photo courtesy of the Associated Press.