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Fantasy Preview: Minnesota Twins

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John Halpin

John Halpin has been a fantasy contributor for FOXSports.com since 2007. He has written and co-hosted webcasts about fantasy football for FOXNews.com, and managed websites for the NHL, the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Network. Listen to his "Fantasy 15 Podcast" on FOXSportsRadio.com and follow him on Twitter.

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2013 Fantasy Preview: Minnesota Twins

Remember when the Twins used to win AL Central titles? They’ve lost 195 games over the last two seasons. There’s not much here to like in real life or fantasy, but we’ve gotta cover all our bases, right?

Offseason moves:

Acquired SPs Vance Worley and Trevor May from Phillies for OF Ben Revere

If Worley’s elbow issues are behind him, then he should be on your early-season free-agent radar in standard mixed leagues. I probably wouldn’t draft him, but wouldn’t wait long to make a claim if we see some early effectiveness. May is an interesting prospect who missed plenty of bats but walks too many people. He could come quickly if he improves, since it’s not like there are a bunch of Clayton Kershaws blocking him in this organization.

Acquired SP Alex Meyer from Nationals for OF Denard Span

Um … huh? Span is a decent player with a reasonable contract, while Meyer is a tall, talented, hard-throwing prospect who was in A ball at age 22 last season. Don’t expect anything from Meyer for a couple of years.

Signed SPs Kevin Correia and Mike Pelfrey

Neither of these guys is draftable in mixed leagues, but Pelfrey could emerge as a moderately interesting AL-only waiver target if his return from Tommy John surgery has no speed bumps. He doesn’t strike anyone out, but he does get a lot of ground balls.

Lost SP Scott Baker and RP Matt Capps via free agency, 2B/SS Alexi Casilla via waivers

Zzz …

Projected Lineup

1. Darin Mastroianni CF
2. Jamey Carroll 2B
3. Joe Mauer C
4. Josh Willingham LF
5. Justin Morneau 1B
6. Ryan Doumit DH
7. Chris Parmelee RF
8. Trevor Plouffe 3B
9. Pedro Florimon/Brian Dozier SS

Mastroianni has good speed, but we’re not sure how much he’ll hit, and Aaron Hicks will be ready to step in at the first sign of a stumble. We can probably book another 25-plus homers for Willingham, though 35 might be a stretch. Doumit’s catcher eligibility makes him a high-end second backstop in mixed leagues. Parmelee doesn’t have enough power to be a mixed-league draft option, but he has a job locked up, and could be useful for AL-only owners. Florimon, Carroll and Brian Dozier are expected to battle for the middle infield slots. Dozier is the only one with any upside.

Rotation

1. Vance Worley
2. Kevin Correia
3. Scott Diamond
4. Liam Hendriks
5. Mike Pelfrey/Brian Duensing/Rich Harden
CL: Glen Perkins

The Twins have built quite the um … uh … gee, this rotation stinks. Worley might be an SP5 for deeper mixed leaguers, and the excellent control of both Diamond and Hendriks make them both somewhat interesting AL-only options. Beyond that, there’s not much happening here unless you want to get ensnared in Rich Harden’s evil web of unfulfilled potential for the 37th time.

Perkins is really good, with a high K rate, good control and plenty of ground balls. There’s no reason why he can’t be an upper-half closer this season. When Matt Capps got hurt in 2012, Perkins and Jared Burton shared the job for a little while, so it stands to reason that Burton will step in if something happens to Perkins.

Big questions:

Should we give Morneau one more chance?

We last saw Fantasy Slugger Morneau in the first half of 2010, when he hit 18 home runs with a 1.055 OPS before a concussion ended his season. A litany of other injuries – including another concussion – rendered Morneau a non-entity in 2011, and he was a shell of his old self in 2012, batting .267 with 19 homers and a .773 OPS. Morneau is making noise about being back to normal this season, but everybody says stuff like that in February. How does .270 with 20-25 homers sound?

Was Plouffe’s power breakout a fluke?

No! Plouffe frontloaded his 2012 season, with 16 of his 24 home runs coming before the end of June. A thumb injury sent him to the DL for a few weeks in July and August, and may have contributed to his reduced production in the second half. Plouffe hit 23 homers between Triple A and the majors in 2011, and while he’s not going to be a star, he’s got at least another season like 2012 in him. Also, his .244 BABIP suggests that his .235 batting average will improve. Plouffe is a solid, late-round cornerman in standard mixed-league drafts.

Will Mauer ever hit 28 home runs again?

Probably not, and that’s OK. Last season, Mauer went deep only 10 times, but finished first among catchers in runs, second in batting average, tied for second in steals, and third in RBI. Maybe he’s not Buster Posey, but he’s your next best option among fantasy backstops.

Sleeper

Mastroianni may have Hicks salivating to take his place, but he knows how to take a walk, and should be a top-10 basestealer for as long as he keeps his job. However, he might not have a job on Opening Day. Hmm …

Dozier, who could hit 10 homers and steal 10-15 bases, qualifies here as well.

Top prospects

Aaron Hicks, OF – The 23-year-old Hicks represents the most imminent threat to Mastroianni’s job security after hitting .285 with 13 home runs, 100 runs, 32 stolen bases and an .841 OPS at Double A last season. Using a farm pick on Hicks won’t give you the most long-term upside, but could yield plenty of 2013 production.

Kyle Gibson, SP – Gibson missed much of 2011 and most of 2012 because of Tommy John surgery, and the word is that he’ll pitch 130-140 innings this season. He was once this franchise’s prized pitching prospect, and could throw many of the aforementioned innings for the Twins if he gets off to a good start in the minors. Gibson is a nice, deep sleeper for AL-only leagues.

Miguel Sano, 3B – Sano looks like a big-big-big-time power hitter, but he won’t turn 20 until May, and is probably at least a year and a half away from Minnesota. He’s the team’s best prospect, and should be owned in all dynasty leagues.

Byron Buxton, OF – Toooooooooools! Buxton was drafted out of high school last June, and projects for solid power with game-changing speed. He’s at least two years away from a big-league debut, and is another dynasty league stud.

Trevor May, SP – As noted above, May could push his way into the Twins’ terrible rotation sometime this season. Throw strikes, Trevor!

Oswaldo Arcia, OF – Arcia’s big 2012 (17 homers, 900-plus OPS between A ball and Double A) shot him up the prospect charts. At 6’, 220 pounds, the most common adjective used to describe Arcia seems to be “stocky.” He should push for a job next season.

Tagged: Indians, Twins, Athletics, Nationals, Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Kevin Correia, Rich Harden, Matt Capps, Glen Perkins, Mike Pelfrey, Brian Duensing, Trevor Plouffe, Vance Worley

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