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The Sharks Break Down the AL Central

 

Minnesota Twins

Mark’s Take

Scott’s Take

Lineup

1. Denard Span

2. Tsuyoshi Nishioka

3. Joe Mauer

4. Justin Morneau

5. Delmon Young

6. Michael Cuddyer

7. Jim Thome

8. Danny Valencia

9. Alexi Casilla

 

Kubel’s probably getting lost in the shuffle barring injury. There are too many lefties and Target Field killed his power. Nishioka was the big offseason acquisition and his impact is a question mark, but his floor seems high and his ceiling low; just how the Twins like them. His infield defense should mask the deficiencies by Casilla though. Valencia was a good second-half story and waiver pickup for those who were desperate, but if you draft him he’s much more likely to end up on waivers by mid-April than impacting your team.

Lineup

1. Denard Span

2. Tsuyoshi Nishioka – interested to see what he can bring. He led the Japanese league in average last year.

3. Joe Mauer

4. Justin Morneau – health?

5. Delmon Young – just scratching the surface last year?

6. Michael Cuddyer

7. Jim Thome

8. Danny Valencia

9. Alexei Casilla

Nice, steady, productive lineup here. Kubel’s likely out a spot here, but will still have an impact on the season. No one here stands out as a buy-low candidate, but there are some guys that your league mates might buy higher on, namely Valencia. Let them have him.

Rotation

1. Francisco Liriano

2. Carl Pavano

3. Kevin Slowey

4. Scott Baker

5. Nick Blackburn

Rotation

1. Francisco Liriano

2. Carl Pavano

3. Kevin Slowey

4. Scott Baker

5. Nick Blackburn

I’m not overly excited about this rotation, but if they are all healthy, they can eat innings – and more importantly – keep the Twins in games.

Bullpen

Closer – Joe Nathan

R – Matt Capps

R – Pat Neshek

L – Brian Duensing

R – Anthony Swarzak

L – Jose Mirajes

L – Glenn Perkins

The closer battle and how the injured players are rehabbing are really the only story lines outside of Nishioka to monitor here. The Twins are the steady organization everyone else in the Central wishes they were.

Bullpen

Closer – Joe Nathan

P – Matt Capps

P – Pat Neshek

P – Brian Duensing

P – Jose Mijares

P – Glenn Perkins

P – Alex Burnett

If Nathan is healthy, there’s no question this is his job to lose. And if he’s healthy, what a bullpen they have.

Most overrated player

Morneau. He still commands a premium price and isn’t over his concussion issues, so I’ll pass. Mauer in one catcher leagues would be the mention here if it weren’t for Morneau’s head.

Most underrated player

Slowey, if he can figure out how to pitch with screws in his wrist or Baker if he can get healthy and learn how to pitch beyond the fifth inning. Neither are strong bets but at their going rates it’s certainly worth the gamble.

5 Questions

1. Was Pavano’s 2010 a fluke?

The Twins are banking on it not being one. Don’t expect a repeat in 2011 but it won’t be as bad as the Yankee years.

2. Can the aces in the bullpen stay in one piece?

There was a time when Neshek-Nathan was arguably the scariest tandem in the game, and adding Capps to the mix could be lethal if those guys come back healthy.

3. Does Target Field really sap power?

Yes, which is why you will see more Thome and less Kubel because Thome has the raw power to overcome the unfavorable park.

4. Is this the point in Young’s career when he flatlines? Continues his ascent to his peak? Or has he peaked?

His runs batted in total in 2010 scream fluke, but he still has room to grow. He’ll probably be the type to maintain around 25 home runs per year and have one year where he gets hot and hits 30-plus.  

5. What happens if injury strikes an injury laden rotation?

The Twins do a remarkable job grooming the same type of player, guys that induce weak contact and don’t walk anyone. They should be able to get by, but they’d prefer not dipping into the farm until 2012 because it’s green.

 

 

 

 

 

What this team needs to win

The Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox to not overcome their problems. The Twins are who they are and will win the Central again if their competition doesn’t get it this year. This is a 90-win team, again; little more and not much less.

Most overrated player

Morneau. Too many question marks here for me to feel comfortable. If he’s healthy, sure.

Most underrated player

Baker. At his price, I’ll take the risk on him and take it to the bank. Baker has his issues last year, but there’s a lot of upside.

5 Questions

1. OK, Young. Can we expect more?

Those wanting more will be left wanting.  I still like Young (last year I think was the only year I didn’t draft him), but don’t necessarily trust him to continue to improve.

2. Can the pitching staff provide enough quality innings?

Well, Pavano found himself a nice spot in this rotation last year, and I expect a similar year this year. The key here is the health of Slowey and Baker.

3. Is Nathan going to be ready for the start of the season?

You bet, and at his price, I’ll be buying.

4. Do the Twins have enough offense to compete with the White Sox?

With Morneau healthy, yes.  If he’s out, I’m not so sure.

5. Will the bullpen be able to carry this team?

Again, health is the key. If everyone stays healthy, and they’re all intact, this bullpen is scary.

What this team needs to win

A repeat of last year where their competition in the division faded.

About Fantasy Sharks

FantasySharks.com began in 2003, disseminating fantasy football content on the web for free. It is, or has been, home to some of the most talented and best known fantasy writers on the planet. Owned and operated by Tony Holm (5 time Fantasy Sports Writer Association Hall-of-Fame nominee,) Tony started writing fantasy content in 1993 for the only three fantasy football web sites in existence at the time.