It’s time to make some 2021 Twins Predictions. The Twins claimed the AL Central title in 2020, but lost their 18th straight postseason game and had a disappointing playoff exit against the Houston Astros.
There was optimism in the Twin Cities when they acquired Kenta Maeda in a trade with the Dodgers, and that proved to be an excellent addition. Nelson Cruz testing free agency may require other bats in the Twins lineup to step up after he batted .303 with 16 homers and 33 RBI"s in 2020. This is still a solid ball club, and one that I think will challenge for the playoffs. Here are my 2021 Twins Predictions:
2021 Twins Predictions: Pitching
The top of the rotation for the Twins was excellent in 2020 and is likely to improve in 2021. Kenta Maeda, Jose Berrios, and Michael Pineda proved to be effective starting options. Maeda finished 2nd in the AL Cy Young vote, went 6-1, leading the team in both ERA (2.07) and strikeouts (80). Berrios went 5-4 with a 4.00 ERA and 68 strikeouts.
The 26-year-old Berrios showed continued signs of potential and should be a player to watch for the Twins in 2021. Pineda also did well, going 2-0 with a 3.38 ERA and 25 strikeouts in five starts. Maeda, Berrios, and Pineda will be key for the Twins to have success in 2021.
The Twins have some exciting pitching prospects that could contribute in 2021. Jhoan Duran is an up and coming pitcher who many hoped would make his way into the rotation in 2020. It"s expected that we see him in 2021. Duran is 6"5" tall and offers a two-seam fastball, curveball, and an impressive splitter. Jordan Balazovic is ranked as the fourth-best prospect in the Twins system, and could also make a case for appearances in 2021. He started 18 total games in 2019 and posted a 2.69 ERA.
The Twin"s bullpen will look different in 2021. Sergio Romo, Tyler Clippard, Matt Wisler, and Trevor May left for free agency. Wisler is sure to be missed after an impressive 2020 posting a 1.07 ERA in 18 games. In December 2020 the Twins signed free agents Hansel Robles, Luke Farrell, and Glenn Sparkman as additional bullpen options. Tyler Duffey remains the star of the bullpen for now, after posting a 1.88 ERA with 31 strikeouts in 22 appearances.
2021 Twins Predictions: The Bats
The Twins succeeded in hitting the deep ball in 2020, totaling 91 bombs. They were, however, below the league average in batting average, RBI production, and hits. Nelson Cruz launched 16 HR"s which led the team. Miguel Sano, Eddie Rosario, and Byron Buxton all contributed with 13 home runs each. Rosario is now a free agent, and his team-leading 42 RBIs will need to be made up elsewhere. Nelson Cruz is also a free agent, and at 40 years old would still be a great contributor if the Twins can bring him back.
Ryan Jeffers is one of the Twins top prospects and will likely see much more action behind the plate in 2021. He batted .273 with three dingers and seven RBIs in 2020.
The Twins" top prospect, Royce Lewis, continues to impress since being drafted in 2017 and may not be too far away from time in the majors. Alex Kirilloff is one of the top prospects in baseball and will likely have an opportunity to be on the opening day roster in 2021. Prior to the delays of COVID-19, Kirilloff was having an impressive 2020 Spring Training.
2021 Twins Predictions: The X-Factor
The young rising stars and prospects are the X-Factor, and will ultimately determine the success of the Twins in 2021. The team had a consistent season in 2020, but the loss of key arms in the bullpen cannot be ignored. If their top players can improve on the success they had in 2020, there is no doubt that this team could be dangerous.
2021 Twins Predictions: The Twins will finish second in the AL Central behind the Chicago White Sox. They will compete for a wild card playoff spot late into the season but ultimately fall just short of the playoffs.
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