After going a lackluster 305-343 (.471) in four seasons under Paul Molitor, the Minnesota Twins were due for a change. The former Hall of Famer proved a much better player than manager. After the 2018 season, Minnesota cut ties with Molitor and hired 38-year-old first-time manager Rocco Baldelli to take the reins. Baldelli promptly led the Twins to a 101-61 (.623) record, their best finish since 1965. Minnesota was the surprise story of the 2019, setting the single-season record for team home runs with 307 and winning its first AL Central title since 2010. Baldelli also became the youngest manager to win Manager of the Year. However, the dream was short lived as Minnesota got swept by the Yankees in three games in the ALDS.
Looking to ensure the 2019 season wasn't a fluke, the Twins invested heavily in their roster this offseason. Minnesota handed out a big 4-year, $92 million deal to third baseman Josh Donaldson and added veteran pitchers Kenta Maeda, Homer Bailey, Sergio Romo, Rich Hill and Tyler Clippard via trade and free agency. The team also exercised options for No. 2 starter Jake Odorizzi and perennial 40-homer DH Nelson Cruz, while also extending Miguel Sano with a 3-year, $30 million deal. Unfortunately, Sano just tested positive for coronavirus and will be sidelined indefinitely. In terms of subtractions, the Twins lost former starter Kyle Gibson in free agency, along with infielders C.J. Cron and Jonathan Schoop.
Minnesota will once again lean on its thumping starting lineup, which returns five players who hit at least 30 homers last season. The Twins scored 939 runs in 2019, second only to the Yankees (943) in all of MLB.
Here is their projected starting lineup:
1. Max Kepler OF
2. Jorge Polanco SS
3. Nelson Cruz DH
4. Josh Donaldson 3B
5. Eddie Rosario OF
6. Mitch Garver C
7. Luis Arraez 2B
8. Marwin Gonzalez 1B
9. Byron Buxton OF
The Twins' starting rotation may not knock your socks off but it's solid. Minnesota will expect another step forward from improving ace Jose Berrios (14-8, 3.68 ERA). Maeda, acquired from the Dodgers, will step in for the departed Gibson.
1. Jose Berrios
2. Jake Odorizzi
3. Kenta Maeda
4. Homer Bailey
5. Jhoulys Chacin
The bullpen will be led by closer Taylor Rogers (2.61 ERA, 30 saves in 2019), along with setup men Romo and Trevor May.
So what do oddsmakers think of the 2020 Twins?
At BetMGM, Minnesota's win total is 34.5 (-110 juice on both sides). The Twins are tied with the Astros for the 3rd-highest win total in MLB. Only the Dodgers and Yankees (both 37.5) are higher. The Twins' 34.5 wins would translate to 93.2 wins based on a 162-game schedule.
The Twins haven't won the World Series since 1991. Minnesota has the 5th-best World Series odds in 2020 at + 1600, trailing the Dodgers (+ 350), Yankees (+ 400), Astros (+ 800) and Braves (+ 1400).
Minnesota has the 3rd-best odds to win the American League at + 800. Only the Yankees (+ 170) and Astros (+ 380) are better.
The Twins are a -159 favorite to repeat as AL Central champs. The Indians are + 300, White Sox + 320 and the Tigers and Royals are both + 8000 long shots.
Donaldson is + 2200 to win AL MVP.
Berrios is + 2500 to win the AL Cy Young. Odorizzi is + 6000. Berrios is + 2000 to lead the AL in wins.
Jorge Polanco has the 6th-best odds to lead the AL in hits at + 1000. Eddie Rosario is + 1600.
Rogers is + 600 to lead the AL in saves, trailing only Aroldis Chapman (+ 400) and Roberto Osuna (+ 500).
With so many big boppers in the Twins lineup, one prop to keep an eye out for is the most home runs by any player. The over/under is 20.5 (-115 both sides). Over/under most RBIs is 47.5 (over -130, under + 100).