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Original Issue

5 Minnesota Twins

Enemy Lines


I don't know how they can avoid finishing last. The good news is they got some good kids in their trades this off-season.... Josh Willingham is going to be on everybody's trade list. He's a legitimate righthanded power hitter.... A lot of people think 2012 was an aberration for Trevor Plouffe. I don't. He can now identify pitches he can hit for power: down and in. He'll have a similar path to Casey Blake: a nonfactor guy who all of a sudden drove the ball out of the park.... You're hunting in the wrong part of the woods if you think Jeff Clement will live up to being the third pick in '05. He has strength but doesn't make adjustments to pitches.... Aaron Hicks could be a better player in centerfield than Darin Mastroianni. Hicks has matured—upper-body strength is much better, runs well, outstanding arm. He's kind of like Torii Hunter.... They simply don't have a No. 1 or No. 2 starter, maybe not a No. 3 either. Vance Worley is a grind-it-out type. He makes enough mistakes to get hurt, and he doesn't have that one big pitch.... Kyle Gibson might jump in there. He's 6' 6", was a fast-tracker until he had Tommy John surgery in 2011. He was one of the best pitchers in the Arizona Fall League: plus fastball, plus slider.... Alex Meyer, a 6' 9" righty they got from Washington for Denard Span, could be a fast-track guy too.... In a perfect world Glen Perkins is a setup guy, but he's got the stuff to close: big fastball, decent breaking ball, and he's aggressive.

The Lineup

2013 Projected Statistics


12th season with the Twins




The K Meter

Percentage of 2012 plate appearances that ended with a strikeout, and major league rank

BY HITTERS | 17.2% | 2ND

BY PITCHERS | 15.2% | 30TH

Best Case

A long-awaited power arm emerges and some big bats develop on the farm, paving the way for a brighter future.

Worst Case

All those command-and-control arms continue to get lit up, resulting in a third straight last-place finish.

Matt Gagne has more on the Twins at

Modest Proposal

The Twins appear set to jump centerfielder Aaron Hicks from Double A to the majors on Opening Day, based in part on his strong spring training: .302/.339/.623 with four homers—three in one game—in his first 16 games. But a closer look reveals that, while he took Cliff Lee and Jason Motte deep, most of Hicks's Grapefruit League hits had come off fringe major leaguers or minor leaguers. Even his three-homer day comes with an asterisk: Two of the homers, including the one off Lee, were wind-aided. Hicks, a first-round pick who had been a minor bust before a strong 2012 season at Double A, could be ready for the majors later this year. But elevating him now based on his exhibition performance is giving it far too much credit. The Twins should leave Hicks in the minors until May, which would allow him to build on his 2012 development and delay his free-agent eligibility. Darin Mastroianni can hold down centerfield for 25 games while the team waits for Hicks.



Josh Willingham