What would you say the biggest story has been from the Twins’ spring training? I would venture to say that it is the fact that team is going to have fans at games, starting on opening day. Sure, that’s not really a Spring Training story, but not much has happened since Spring rolled around.
There are two general lines of thought about this. Why is this happening, and what does it mean?
There are a couple of reasons why. First is the logistics surrounding the thing that has led everything to be the way it is in this moment – Covid 19. They are playing in front of limited media, and only playing the same handful of teams over and over again. There simply aren’t as many eyes on the team or the players. Mountains are less likely to be made out of molehills, and the fun stories from camp simply aren’t filtering out to the masses, or the home crowds waiting in Minnesota.
Another important reason is that the Twins roster is set, and it seemed to have been set from the moment everyone arrived in camp. There were no roster battles to really engage in or capture our attention, and, knock on wood, everyone has remained healthy since the beginning of camp. There is very little intrigue out of camp this year, and that seems like a good thing.
What will the quiet spring mean going forward, though? I have to hedge on this as well, unfortunately, but I’ll veer towards the positive. Sure, the pessimistic person might believe that a lack of competition could leave the team without an edge coming into camp. The lack of diversity in opponents could leave hitters, in particular less well rounded.
While those factors may be true, I would push back with something rarely seen in Twins Territory: Optimism. All teams are facing the same Covid issues, and will face the same lack of opponents this spring. The Twins pitching staff will gain the advantages the hitters don’t have. Another tailwind for the Twins is the veteran make up of the roster. Not only will they overcome rust a bit quicker, but the lack of camp competition will allow some players, particularly guys like Max Kepler or Miguel Sano, still young and improving, a chance to iron out kinks and work on new approaches without fear of losing their job.
The stories have been few and far between out of Fort Myers, but have no fear. The stories will really start one week from Thursday.