Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Twins Provide Plenty Of Room For Thanks

Whether you're new here or not, a quick glance at a handful of the articles at Off The Baggy should give you a glimpse of what I'm about. Not a full blown sabermetrician, I find myself using statistics to tell a big story more often than not. In this post however, there's very little reason for numbers to quantify anything. With what the Twins gave us in 2015, and where they appear headed, there's plenty of obvious reasons for thanks.

Following four dismal 90 loss seasons, the Twins turned things around big time under first year manager Paul Molitor. Posting their first winning seasons since 2012, September was fun again in Twins Territory. While the playoffs ended up being out of the picture, there wasn't a game that wasn't much watch down the stretch. For that, we can give thanks.

Over the summer, Terry Ryan, Molitor, and the Twins brain trust introduced fans to names they had only heard of at the minor league levels. Alex Meyer, Byron Buxton, and Miguel Sano all made their big league debuts. Eddie Rosario shined in 2015, and Max Kepler was even there at the end. Getting contributions from players like Tyler Duffey was only icing on the cake. Turning the franchise around will happen on the backs of the emerging talent, and the season provided plenty of glimpses of that. For that, we can give thanks.

On top of turning a page in the record column, the Twins did so by improving across the board. What has been arguably the worst stretch in team history, Minnesota made pitching a relative strength in 2015. Although the bullpen still struggled and the strikeout numbers weren't anywhere to be seen, depth emerged for the first time in a while. Monitor will have at least eight options to consider when filling out his 2016 rotation, and bullpen spots could be claimed by some hard throwing prospects. Pushing the needle further in the year ahead is going to start on the mound, and Minnesota has some answers. For that, we can give thanks.

Though young, the offseason has provided plenty of excitement for the Twins. Starting with the out-of-nowhere bid for Byung-Ho Park, and stretching to the acquisition of catcher John Ryan Murphy, Terry Ryan has not stayed put. Park gives the Twins another legitimate middle-of-the-order power bat, and Murphy has the ability to be a long term answer behind the plate. Expect more moves to be coming, but Minnesota hit the ground running this offseason. For that, we can give thanks.

Looking at what has taken place, and what can be expected, the Twins should be in a much more predictable place entering 2016. Although previous seasons have been predictable, it's been for all of the wrong reasons. The 2016 version of the Twins won't finish last in the division, and they have a very strong chance to push for a playoff spot. In having areas of improvement targeted, and coming off a big step forward, it's playoffs or bust in the year ahead. For that, we can give thanks.

Then there's you. Stepping away from the on the field action, there's no doubt I'm thankful for you, my readers. I enjoy doing this, it isn't a job for me, and it's a hobby turned into so much more. Whether you follow me on Twitter, or read here at Off The Baggy, it's you that makes covering this team so much more fun. For all of the interaction, debates, questions, and tweets, I thank you!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving, give thanks for baseball, the Twins, and for all you have going in your life!