Hope springs eternal, and for fans of all 30 Major League Baseball teams, hope is always eternal in spring.

That includes those who cheer for the Minnesota Twins, a club that grew accustomed to winning in the 2000s before three straight years of 90 or more losses from 2011-13. After going 66-96 this past year, it appears as if there's nowhere to go but up for the Twins. But just how much better can this club be? That's what Minnesota fans will soon find out.

"I think it's gone from, 'We can't possibly be worse,' to, 'How good can we be?'" said Twins closer Glen Perkins.

Given the way the last three seasons have unfolded for manager Ron Gardenhire and his club, this is a relatively important spring training -- which begins Sunday when pitchers and catchers report to Fort Myers, Fla. For the team's younger players, it's a chance to prove that they belong in the majors. For the veterans who have underperformed as of late, it's an opportunity to show that they can indeed contribute.

Many believe that the Twins are still likely at least a year away from being competitive in the American League Central. The 2015 season is when uber-prospects Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton, as well as pitching prospect Alex Meyer, are expected to all be in the major leagues. The first two are the type of can't-miss prospects that only come around every so often, while Meyer has the chance to be the dominant pitcher that the Twins have lacked in recent years.

Before Minnesota can get too far ahead of itself, though, it has to get through this spring and the 2014 season. Some familiar faces will be in this year's camp -- veterans Jason Kubel and Jason Bartlett are back with the Twins on minor league deals -- as well as some new faces. That includes pitchers Phil Hughes and Ricky Nolasco, who both hope to have found new homes in Minnesota after signing free agent deals this winter.