5 Things We’ve Learned About the Minnesota Twins Midway Through 2014

5 Things We've Learned About the Minnesota Twins in 2014

Minnesota Twins
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Twins were thought to be years away from contending in the AL Central again, but 2014 has been a fortunate year for Minnesotans as the Twins stand at 36-39 as we approach the midway point of the season. They're only six games out of first place, and with a strong farm system and the recent signing of Kendrys Morales, the Twins are certainly trying to make a playoff push.

5. Brian Dozier is a Legitimate 30-30 Threat

Minnesota Twins
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

5. Brian Dozier is a Legitimate 30-30 Threat

Minnesota Twins
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Expectations were high for second baseman Brian Dozier coming into the 2014 season, but through 74 games played he is exceeding those expectations. He already has 15 home runs and 15 stolen bases, making him a threat to be the first major leaguer to record a 30-30 season since Mike Trout and Ryan Braun in 2012.

4. Kurt Suzuki Can Replace Joe Mauer

Minnesota Twins
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

4. Kurt Suzuki Can Replace Joe Mauer

Minnesota Twins
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Mauer is a five-time AL Silver Slugger, and with the move to first base this season the big question was who would replace the Twins' perennial All-Star behind the plate. While the signing of Kurt Suzuki raised a few eyebrows during the offseason, the veteran catcher is batting a career-high .315 this season and should be a no-brainer to make the All-Star squad as he's arguably the Twins' mid-season MVP.

3. Kyle Gibson is a Major League Pitcher

Minnesota Twins
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

3. Kyle Gibson is a Major League Pitcher

Minnesota Twins
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Gibson battled injuries after being the Twins' first-round selection in 2009, and after struggling at the major league level last season it was a real question as to whether or not Gibson would pan out at a major league pitcher. Although his last performance was one to forget, Gibson went three straight outings without giving up a run this month and is looking like a front of the rotation starter down the road.

2. Phil Hughes Is Better Than Ricky Nolasco

Minnesota Twins
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

2. Phil Hughes Is Better Than Ricky Nolasco

Minnesota Twins
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Twins made two big free agent signings to bolster their rotation, and although Ricky Nolasco got the bigger contract and Opening Day start, it's been former New York Yankee Phil Hughes who's stolen the show. Signed to a three-year, $ 24 million deal, Hughes is proving to be a bargain as he's 8-3 on the year with a 3.40 ERA, best among Twins starters.

1. Twins Have Plenty of Talent at SS

Minnesota Twins
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

1. Twins Have Plenty of Talent at SS

Minnesota Twins
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Last season shortstop Pedro Florimon struggled at the plate and was the weakest link on a bad Twins team. This year is quite the opposite for the Twins as they have two shortstops at the major league level – Danny Santana and Eduardo Escobar – who are hitting above .290 and worthy of the starting job. Both have played out of position this year simply to get their bat in the lineup, which has been a rarity for the Twins in recent years.

Nick Baker is a contributing writer for Rant Sports and you can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and add him to your network on Google.

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