- Francisco Liriano is back, providing the Twins with the ace-presence that they've been sorely lacking over the past few seasons. The American League Comeback Player of the Year finished in the top-five in FIP, xFIP, K/BB, GB/FB, and WAR, besting Sabathia in each (with whom I'd argue he matches-up quite well).
- Justin Morneau wasn't around last year, either - but this time around the Twins have Jim Thome picking up the slack. Thome batted .283/.412/.627 with 25 HR for the Twins this season, giving the Twins the tremendous middle of the order presence that they lacked in 2009.
- Delmon Young (finally) broke out, batting .298/.333/.493 with 21 HR, and improving as the season wore on. He also mashes lefties, batting .314/.368/.564 against them, serving well to break-up either Mauer and Thome or Thome and Kubel.
- In 2009, the bottom of the Twins line-up was some combination of Casilla, Punto, and Harris - this year, it's Hudson, Hardy, and Valencia. What once was a veritable black hole is now among the more solid bottom-thirds in the American League.
- The Twins bullpen is among the very best in the game, and has only improved with the additions of Matt Capps and Brian Fuentes. Yes, that Fuentes - but instead of closing and giving up massive platoon splits, he's served as a light's out lefty specialist ... and may be the best in the game at that role.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Over the past few days, I have read and heard a great deal of chatter regarding the Twins woes against the Yankees over the past few years. Many, it seems, view last season in particular as proof-positive that the Yankees may as well begin planning their travel arrangements for the American League Championship Series. The past can be a fine predictor of the future in some circumstances, but it is fairly limited - particularly on the team level, where both the Twins and Yankees look very different from their 2010 versions.