Opening Day 2014: Minnesota Twins Season Outlook

Opening Day 2014: Minnesota Twins Season Outlook

Glen Perkins, Minnesota Twins
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Once an AL Central power, the Minnesota Twins are coming off three consecutive seasons of less than 67 wins. This offseason Minnesota made a substantial effort to revamp a down starting rotation and will look to bounce back in 2014.

With Opening Day just 11 days away, here's a preview of the 2014 Minnesota Twins.

Top 5 Hitters

Joe Mauer
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Top 5 Hitters

Joe Mauer
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1.) Joe Mauer
2.) Brian Dozier
3.) Oswaldo Arcia
4.) Josh Willingham
5.) Trevor Plouffe

Moving to first base, Mauer will be well rested and will look to see more at-bats than ever before, while Dozier and Plouffe continue to improve their overall approaches at the plate. Expect Arcia to have a breakout 2014 with the bat, and expect impressive power numbers from a healthy Willingham as well.

Top 5 Pitchers

Ricky Nolasco
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Top 5 Pitchers

Ricky Nolasco
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1.) Ricky Nolasco
2.) Glen Perkins
3.) Phil Hughes
4.) Jared Burton
5.) Samuel Deduno

Perkins and Burton will anchor one of the best bullpens in MLB in 2014 while Nolasco and Hughes highlight a revamped starting rotation. Look for their solid play to positively affect the bottom half of Minnesota's rotation, and expect Deduno to showcase his great stuff throughout an entire season as either the team's fifth starter or middle-reliever.

Top 5 Newcomers

Phil Hughes
Steve Mitchell-USA Today Sports

Top 5 Newcomers

Phil Hughes
Steve Mitchell-USA Today Sports

1.) Ricky Nolasco
2.) Phil Hughes
3.) Jason Kubel
4.) Kurt Suzuki
5.) Jason Bartlett

Nolasco and Hughes together will be a huge improvement at the top of Minnesota's starting rotation in 2014. Jason Kubel will add some power to the Twins' lineup as at least a part-time DH, Suzuki is likely to be the team's Opening Day catcher and Jason Bartlett, either by playing or mentoring, will bring valuable experience to Minnesota's infield.

Top 5 Rookies / Prospects

Oswaldo Arcia, Minnesota Twins
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Top 5 Rookies / Prospects

Oswaldo Arcia, Minnesota Twins
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1.) Oswaldo Arcia
2.) Josmil Pinto
3.) Kyle Gibson
4.) Alex Meyer
5.) Byron Buxton

After last season, Arcia won't technically qualify as a rookie in 2014, but he will enter the season at only 22 years old. With tremendous pop in his bat, expect Arcia to have a breakout campaign. Pinto's bat and Gibson's arm should each see plenty of big-league work this year while Buxton and Meyer will continue to perfect their games in the minors.

Final Record / Divisional Standing Position

Brian Dozier, Minnesota Twins
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Final Record / Divisional Standing Position

Brian Dozier, Minnesota Twins
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Final Record: 82-80
Divisional Standing: 3rd

Working in a down AL Central Division, the Twins should not only greatly improve their own play in 2014, but find themselves in a much better standing within the division. Minnesota is the only improved team in the division and should compete well into September in 2014.

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