Surprise: Minnesota Twins
The Twins’ playoff odds chart doesn’t exactly look like a roller coaster, but it’s impressive nonetheless. What’s probably most impressive of all is how steady those odds remained upon getting into the 90% range. Minnesota had a 91.1% chance of reaching October as early as May 21st, and that number never fell below 90.0% the rest of the season. Even more so, it didn’t fall below 95.0% for the majority of the summer.
So, even with the Indians making a couple hard charges, rookie manager Rocco Baldelli had everything under control. And of course, the biggest storyline for Minnesota this year has to be all the homers. They enter yet another postseason matchup with the Yankees by boasting 11 different players with 10-plus dingers during the regular season. Five of those sluggers went over 30 homers, too: Nelson Cruz (41), Max Kepler (36), Miguel Sano (34), Eddie Rosario (32), and Mitch Garver (31).
When thinking about having to tame the Yankees, Minnesota’s pitching will have to step up. They have a solid one-two punch in Jose Berrios and Jake Odorizzi, who both produced 4.0-plus fWAR this season. But in a short series, someone else will have to step up as the Twins will attempt to get the ball in the hands of their bullpen, whose 7.1 cumulative fWAR was baseball’s third-best mark.