After winning the AL Central in consecutive seasons, 2021 isn’t ending like the Minnesota Twins expected entering the year. Viewed as a potential World Series contender, the Twins fell down the MLB standings early and eventually became sellers as they rebuilt during the trade deadline.
There’s no doubt the Twins’ 2021 nightmare season will be remembered for the injuries, inconsistency and disappointment. But it doesn’t signify the end of Minnesota’s days of as a playoff contender moving forward.
Here’s why the Twins can bounce back to the extent of competing for the playoffs next season.
Minnesota Twins still have a lively offense
Even with Nelson Cruz gone, manager Rocco Baldelli still has an energetic and capable offense. Jorge Polanco is having the best season of his big-league career, with the switch-hitter launching pitches to all fields, slugging at a high level and reducing his strikeout rate.
- Jorge Polanco stats (2021): .273/.328/.511, 31 home runs and 91 RBIs
Luis Arraez has been one of the Twins’ most reliable hitters since breaking into the big leagues in 2019. He excels at putting the ball in play, demonstrated by him striking out or walking in just 19.7% of plate appearances.
When healthy, Byron Buxton has performed at an All-Star-caliber level. He’s a stellar center fielder with a smooth swing which has led to him sporting a career-best .294 batting average this season.
Miguel Sano swings a power bat. Max Kepler is a threat from the left side and has proven he can post quality numbers over a full season. Offensively, catchers Mitch Garver and Ryan Jeffers have pop from the right side. Veteran third baseman Josh Donaldson is a vacuum at the hot corner and an intimidating right-handed hitter.
It’s a well-rounded offense with power, contact hitting and a healthy balance of youth and veterans. It’s a matter of consistency from players like Sano and Kepler. The Twins’ offense needs 2021 to end because they still have all the talent and production on their resumes to once again be one of MLB’s best offenses. Sometimes you’re going to have a bad year.