Spring Training games are right around the corner with pitchers and catcher reporting to camp this week; baseball is back.
Fantasy baseball is back too and fans from all over the country will be drafting their teams in the coming weeks with hopes of winning their league championship this year, bragging rights over their friends and possibly a few bucks too!
The Minnesota Twins are a team with a number of interesting fantasy options. While they don’t boast a roster with four or five All-Stars, like many of the elite teams in Major League Baseball, the Twins do feature a number of players who have very high ceilings in terms of fantasy value.
MVP: LHP Glen Perkins
Perkins made the AL All-Star team for the second year in a row last July and it was one to remember as he got credit for the save in front of his hometown fans at Target Field. He was a lot better than his 3.65 ERA from last season indicates after a 13.50 ERA through six outings in September drove up his averages before being shut down for the season with a forearm injury. Perkins says he is healthy and ready for the 2015 season which should make him a strong option on any fantasy team’s pitching staff. His walks per nine innings fell below two for the first time in his career last year and his strikeout rate was above 25%.
Biggest Sleeper: OF Oswaldo Arcia
Arcia enters the spring as a projected starter for the first time after spending the last two seasons moving in and out of the team’s starting lineup. The 23-year old slugger hit 20 homers in 103 games last year and he’s averaging 28 home runs per 162 games over his two seasons in the Majors. With him playing everyday from the start, Arcia should provide a number of homers and runs batted in for a guy that fantasy owners may be able to draft in the later rounds. Owners will be very thrilled if new hitting coach Tom Brunansky is able to help Arcia build on his flaws. He is only a .241 career hitter and strikes out a lot, but all the potential and power is there, it’s just a matter of Arcia getting it all together.
Biggest Bust: OF Torii Hunter
There are actually countless reasons to love what Hunter can do. This is a guy who is about to turn 40-years old but has still managed to hit above his career average in each of the last three seasons and despite his age he’s also been able to stay healthy and play in over 140 games each of the past five seasons. Hunter is beloved in Minnesota and having him return to the team that drafted him is a great story but there are many reasons why the oldest position player currently on a Major League roster is due for a down year. He no longer hits between Mike Trout and Albert Pujols and he no longer has Miguel Cabrera protecting him in the order. This might expose Hunter a bit more. Target Field is also a little less homer friendly and his power numbers could drop because of the ball park he plays in.
Can’t Be Worse: RHP Ricky Nolasco
The Twins made Nolasco the highest paid free agent in franchise history but the decision didn’t look so good after he went 6-12 during his first year in the Twin Cities. Maybe Nolasco won’t get back to where he was when the Twins gave him the big contract but it’s hard to see Nolasco doing any worse than he already did in 2014. There is no doubt that Nolasco will be around in the later rounds of any fantasy draft and taking a risk on the 32-year old could pay off in the end.
Can’t Be Better: SS/OF Danny Santana
Santana turned a lot of heads when he batted .319 last season as a rookie while playing center field instead of his natural position of shortstop. He also completely tore up the base paths by stealing 20 bases and legging out seven triples while playing in just 101 games. It seems like the Twins got lucky with Santana stepping up in 2014 but it is not realistic to expect the same this time around. Santana never hit above .300 in the minor leagues and only once hit above seven home runs, the total he slugged out of the park with Minnesota last year. Drafting Santana and expecting the same output would be a big risk for any owner.