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Wednesday, March 2, 2016

2016 FANTASY BASEBALL AROUND THE CAMPS: MINNESOTA TWINS

Fort Myers, Fla.-Yes the heyday of Ron Gardenhire and Justin Morneau/early Joe Mauer golden era with the Minnesota Twins is now firmly in the past but the current collection of players carries some solid upside under the steawardship of Paul Molitor.  In particular the Twins have a decent collection of young hitters led by Brian Dozier, Byron Buxton, and Miguel Sano but there are some glaring issues in the rotation which is led by journeyman Ervin Santana.  Yeah that bad.  So as always let's take a closer look at the Twins and see what are some of the themes centering around the team this spring.

1.  Is it beyond time to finally stick a fork in Joe Mauer?  If you are asking that question now, you are quite a bit behind the times.  We have been talking about how vastly overrated Mauer has been for years as his 2008 season goes down as one of the biggest outlier flukes ever.  Even that season aside, Mauer was once considered the best pure hitter in baseball who supplied a glowing average and terrific counting stats in runs and RBI.  Those days are no more as Mauer can't even hit for average anymore, his power is as bad as ever, and his body is completely betraying him.  Even worse, Mauer has not carried catcher eligibility for a few years now which eliminated almost all of his value.  Now just a name and nothing else, let Mauer rot on the wire.

2.  Speaking of young players, Miguel Sano looks like he wants to challenge for the home run crown in 2016.  The kid is certainly capable as Sano has teh type of Giancarlo Stanton natural power which will have him sailing past 30 home runs this season and maybe approach 40.  Moving to the outfield for 2016, Sano will carry third base eligibility for at least one more season.  As potentially great a power hitter as he is, Sano also carries some major resd flags which are centered on his horrid K rate.  Topping out over 30 percent last year, Sano will be lucky to hit .240 unless he gets some BABIP help.  This is not Nolan Arenado or even Todd Frazier here in terms of average so that has to be weighed in what price you are willing to pay at the draft to own his thunderous bat. 

3.  Bad batting averages seem to be the Twins' thing as Brian Dozier is no Tony Gwynn either.  Yeah Dozier is another average liability as he has actually gotten worse with his K Rate since becoming a regular a few years ago.  .240 is about as good as you are going to get here considering the whiffs but Dozier has been terrific in the other four standard categories to more then make up for the average hit.  While his days of 20 steals could already be finished, Dozier can be the very rate 25 home run hitter at second base while scoring 100 runs. 

4.  Byung-Ho Park's bat carries some thunder doesn't it?  Yes the Korean League can be more than called into question in terms of quality of opposition but Park has put up some silly home run totals there the last few seasons.  Remember that Jung Ho-Kang hit very well the second half of last season once he found some comfort against Major League pitching and any contact Park makes will go a long way.  The draft price is not out of control here which makes a late mid-round sleeper selection not the worst idea in the world as Park could be quite a good power value capable of hitting 25 home runs. 

5.  How ugly is the starting pitching?  Honestly if you own anyone in the Twins rotation, you should try fantasy golf.  Ervin Santana, Phil Hughes, Ricky Nolasco, Kyle Gibson, and Tommy Milone are all SP 5's at best and some not even that.  The only Twins arm you want to keep tabs on is top prospect Jose Berrios who could be up as soon as May.  His arrival would be a run to the wire event as his power arms can strike out a bunch of batters in a hurry. 

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