With Spring Training winding down, teams are starting to allow their starters to extend their playing time in games in hopes to get them ready and in shape for the rigors of the regular season. The Minnesota Twins are hoping that the offensive struggles they had to endure last season are behind them. So far this spring that hasn’t been the case, but there is no reason to be concerned. Yet.
Last season the Twins finished toward the bottom of the league in most offensive categories. Knowing that they have a few minor league players on their way up, they didn’t do too much to address the situation this offseason. They made it clear that solidifying their pitching rotation was going to be their main focus by signing Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes.
The Twins did bring back Jason Kubel as well. He spent seven years in Minnesota before signing a free-agent contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2011. He is struggling so far in the 12 games he has played this spring, but if he makes the team out of Spring Training, he would add some pop to a lineup that could really use it.
Most of the improvements will have to come in-house from players like Brian Dozier, Oswaldo Arcia, Aaron Hicks and, of course, Joe Mauer.
Dozier led the Twins in most offensive categories last season, but is having his struggles this spring as well. It is certain that Minnesota would have liked for him to be a bit farther along, but his play this spring will not be indicative of his play during the regular season. Dozier will lead the team again at season’s end.
Outfielders Arcia and Hicks are going to have to improve upon their respective 2013 seasons and carry the momentum of a solid spring along with them for the Twins to be successful this season. They have a lot to prove with just over 180 MLB games combined.
Mauer’s move to first base will help out the Twins’ offensive woes the most. As one of the most consistent players on the team during his entire career, Minnesota can possibly have his bat in the lineup for 150 games now that he won’t be behind the plate.
The Twins will have their struggles like most teams will at some point during the regular season. The progression of the players they have is going to be the key if they hope to have any success.