Final Record: 78-84
RS/G: 4.56 (13th)
RA/G: 4.78 (22nd)
SB: 47 (27th)
ERA: 4.50 (22nd)
Saves: 37 (22nd)
Strikeouts: 1377 (16th)
(RS/G - Runs Scored Per Game, RA/G - Runs Allowed Per Game)
The Minnesota Twins have been a busy team so far this offseason. After failing to meet expectations in 2018, the Twins front office has added offensive fire power to the lineup in an attempt to compete in the watered down American League Central. The new additions make for fine fantasy baseball options as well.
The Superstar(s): Eddie Rosario & Nelson Cruz
The Twins’ Eddie Rosario has provided fantasy baseball owners with back-to-back strong seasons. With 27 & 24 home runs, respectively, to go along with nearly 10 stolen bases each of the last two seasons, Rosario has shown he can provide across-the-board fantasy production. Last season this production was front-loaded. Not only did Rosario miss the end of the season with a quad injury, but reports also mentioned he had a sore shoulder. This could help explain the massive difference in his first and second half slash lines: .311/.353/.537 vs .240/.262/.361 - a .268 OPS difference! Rosario has also shown enough contact ability at the plate that a decent to helpful batting average can be reasonably projected moving forward. Assuming Rosario can stay healthy and with an improved lineup around him, Rosario could take another step forward in terms of fantasy baseball production in 2019.
We all expect Nelson Cruz to stop performing at this level sometime soon, right? Yet, the 38-year-old masher continues to do just that. The major “issue” for Cruz and his fantasy baseball draft price continues to revolve around the fact that he’s UTIL only. While I can sympathize with the people not wanting to “clog” this roster spot, production is production and a roster spot is just that. Once the elite UTIL only players are taken, I too am much more cautious about filing that spot with someone who can only play there. But with someone like Cruz, who even at his advanced age is still posting underlying power metrics that show no huge drop-off coming, I’d strongly recommend not worrying about it and taking the statistics to the bank.
The Sleeper: Trevor May
After missing the 2017 season with Tommy John Surgery, Trevor May made it back to the mound for 25 innings pitched in 2018. During his brief time back last season, May displayed a strong swing and miss ability (15.4% SwStr%). This is further shown in a K-BB% of 30.1% (again over only 25 1⁄3 IP however). The Twins have a few options in their ‘pen who could take the Closer role in 2019. Trevor May is certainly in that discussion. With a current NFBC ADP of 276th overall, May makes for an attractive late-draft Saves dart throw.
The Guy to Avoid: Jake Odorizzi
There was a time when Odorizzi was at least a serviceable arm to roster in fantasy baseball. Those days are now behind us. Odorizzi’s skills have been on the decline for the past two seasons. Odorizzi never had the skill to make me truly believe in his walk rate, however, that ability has not improved and his walk rate is now catching up. When you factor in a league average swinging strike rate you begin to see trouble brewing. Finally, there’s the fact that Odorizzi allows a ton of fly balls. Last season’s 1.10 HR/9 was actually an improvement over his previous two seasons (1.39 & 1.88, respectively). Things could get much worse for Odorizzi moving forward. Look elsewhere for innings, even in the deepest of leagues.
The Prospect to Watch: Nick Gordon
Gordon split the 2018 season between Double-A and Triple-A. His time in Double-A (181 plate appearances) displayed his typical skill set - below average power, good contact ability, and some speed. Upon moving to Triple-A, Gordon’s skill set cratered as he slashed .212/.262/.283 over 410 plate appearances. Obviously, more work is needed from Gordon before he’s ready for the big leagues. That said, his time could come at some point in 2019, depending on both his repeat performance at Triple-A and also the performances of both Jorge Polanco and Jonathan Schoop at the big league level. Gordon projects to be a decent MI option in 15-team mixed leagues once established.