Including his team’s Oct. 3 cameo at Yankee Stadium, Twins owner Jim Pohlad has been watching the 2017 postseason with great interest. In particular, he’s been noticing the high-velocity arms the rest of the postseason field has been putting on the mound. “It’s daunting,” Pohlad said this week. “It’s super daunting. They look so good, but I suppose in the postseason you tend to watch the games more intensely and watch every single pitch and see the movement and stuff on it and the velocity. It’s really daunting.” Having seen the Twins make a 26-win leap back into relevance behind one of the game’s most productive lineups, the question remains how to make that next jump toward championship excellence. After face-planting into 103 losses two years ago as they came off an 83-win breakout, can the Twins avoid that sort of backslide while going from this year’s 85 wins into the 95-win range it typically takes to win the American League Central? “We definitely can and hopefully we will,” Pohlad said. “It’s going to take further development. A lot of the young players showed a lot of progress this year, but they’re not at their ceiling by any stretch of the imagination. Do we have to add something? Yes, I would think so, somehow.” Bringing back manager Paul Molitor on a three-year contract extension was step one, the organization believes, even as the Twins went just 16-32 (.333) with a minus-102 run differential against fellow postseason qualifiers. Against the rest of the majors, they were 69-46 (.600) with a plus-75 run differential. Next up is finding a new pitching coach to replace the fired Neil Allen and adding to a staff that finished 19th in the majors with a 4.60 earned-run average while churning through a club-record 36 pitchers. Strip away a much-improved defense and the Twins finished 25th in fielding-independent ERA as measured by Fangraphs.com.
Owner Jim Pohlad on Brian Dozier, Joe Mauer and how the Twins might find pitchers
St. Paul Pioneer Press | Oct 13