MLB Picks: Minnesota Division Record Could be a Good Reason Not to Bet on Twins' 2015 Season

Doug Upstone

Tuesday, March 24, 2015 1:01 PM GMT

Tuesday, Mar. 24, 2015 1:01 PM GMT

The Twins players will hear a different voice in 2015, but will a managerial change have much impact on team with 4 consecutive losing seasons and thought lowly of by MLB handicappers? 

Native son Paul Molitor takes over the managerial reins from Ron Gardenhire and will try and instill life into a franchise that is 265-383 the last four years and is -48.4 units over that time against the MLB Odds.

Molitor will be just the third Minnesota skipper since 1986 and he will need more than a fresh perspective and enthusiasm to help send Minnesota in a different direction.

Should the Twins respectable 36-40 (+5.3 units) record in the division be a reason for optimism this season for those laying down money for sports picks?

Here is a breakdown of the 2015 Minnesota Twins.

 

Pitching
While there are those who say statistics don’t tell the whole story, in the case of the Minnesota starting pitching they do. Phil Hughes at 16-10 with a 3.52 ERA did everything he could as the Twinkies ace. Of Minnesota’s 70 wins a year ago, 20 came when Hughes was the starting pitching. What followed next was nearly X-rated as for the second straight year the Twins starting staff ERA (5.06 in 2014) was dead last in the big leagues, coming off a 2012 campaign in which they finished 29th.

However, improvement might be coming with free agent Ervin Santana having been at least durable with five straight 200+ innings seasons. Kyle Gibson won 13 games last season and is 16 months younger than Hughes and notable flop Ricky Nolasco, after pitching lousy baseball and a couple stints on the DL, had a 2.93 ERA in September starts.

The Twins bullpen was not nearly as bad as the starters and not surprisingly they ended up with the second-most innings in the junior circuit. Closer Glen Perkins in now a two-time All-Star and will be joined but righthander Casey Fien, free-agent Tim Stauffer and southpaws Brian Duensing and Caleb Thielbar. If the starters last longer into games, the bullpen will likely be more effective as well.

Overall, not a great collection of ball-chuckers against the betting odds.

 

Offense
With four years and 92-million still owed to Joe Mauer, you won’t find anyone who thinks he’s been worth what he’s already been paid and what he will make in years 32 to 35 of his age. Mauer seemingly casual approach has largely turned off the fan base who wishes he played more like Brian Dozier, who has remade himself into a power-hitting second baseball, without sacrificing any defense.

In spite of ranking 11th in home runs, the Minnesota offense finished fifth in the AL at 4.4 runs per game, by being patient at the dish, ranking second in the league in walks, which directly correlated to placing second in on-base percentage at .324, second to Detroit. This was why Minnesota was able to hold their own when they had any pitching; they are not to unpleasant 44-51 (+1.8) in games determined by three or fewer runs.

Not really sure what 39-year Torii Hunter brings to Minnesota other than to reminisce about the past and it shows how desperate the Twins are for outfield run production.

 

Best Bet Forecast
Minnesota could be marginally better, yet if you are making MLB Picks, playing in arguably the best division in baseball would not appear to enhance the Twinkies chances of improvements.

Sportsbooks have the Twins last in the division with a win total of 70 and given the overall strength of the AL Central and catching St. Louis, Pittsburgh and the Cubs in interleague action, how Minnesota reaches 70 wins is unthinkable. 

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