In 2017, the Minnesota Twins scored runs at a fantastic clip this season. After many years of thinking the Twins were very close to having a well composed offense, that was finally true in 2017. What’s even more remarkable is that they were 16th in the league through the first half of the season, coming on strong with the 2nd best output in the second half of the season, behind only the Cubs.
It’s hard to believe that they will either be as bad as they were in the first half, nor as good as they were in the second half, but it does seem like an average of those two stretches can be reasonably anticipated. In other words, why not expect that the team will be good for about the 7th best offense in the land next season? Maybe you are more optimistic, as players like Byron Buxton and Jorge Polanco should improve without the same abysmal start they had this season, but then, Joe Mauer, Jason Castro and Brian Dozier are all on the wrong side of 30, and any or all of them could step back next year.
So let’s just function under the premise that the team is going to project towards the same type of offensive output in 2018 as they had in 2017. Are there gaps to improve this team? I think that’s kind of a tough sell, frankly, because so much of the Twins’ success in 2017 was driven by excellent defense. Any improvement in the offense must be done with consideration for what it does to the defense. As it happens, the Twins’ worst defenders are often the best offensive players.
Improvements can be made along the margins, perhaps at designated hitter, but that won’t really move the needle for the Twins’ success as much as new starting pitchers will. Any money invested would be better served in going towards extending some of their young stars, rather than bringing in someone to blow Robbie Grossman and Eduardo Escobar out of the water.
The only real way that the Twins would be well served by bringing in a new face to the offensive side of the ball would be if they needed to part with one of their young stars, like Eddie Rosario or Max Kepler in order to add a top of the line pitcher. Otherwise? Expect an offensive unit that looks a lot like the one you saw in 2017.