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3 players critical to how the Twins will do this season

Byron Buxton, Trevor May and Jose Berrios are critical pieces to the puzzle this season.
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The regular season is still nearly 40 days away (April 3) but the Twins' extended stay in Florida for Spring Training is generating quite a bit of early speculation about what the roster will look like.

Three players that will play pivotal roles in how successful Minnesota is this season were the focal points of a FanGraphs podcast featuring Baseball Prospectus' Aaron Gleeman.

Here's what Gleeman thinks about Byron Buxton, Trevor May and Jose Berrios.

Bryon Buxton

"He went nuts in September. He was hitting, not only home runs, upper-deck home runs. He controlled the strike zone a little bit better. I really think he's a top five defensive center fielder no matter what happens offensively."

Gleeman said a really great season for Buxton would be something in the ballpark of a .260 average and 20-25 home runs while playing elite defense.

The best spot in the batting order for Buxton? Five or six, Gleeman says.

"They really need him to be more than a bottom of the order hitter. I havee no idea where I'd project his exact numbers, but I'm still convinced he's a potentially great player."

Trevor May

May was a reliever last season after starting his MLB career as a starter. Now he's working as a starter again this spring. GoMN talked to May last week and he believes the Twins are giving him a legitimate shot to win a starting job.

"I don't think he has ace upside, but I think he could be a guy who gives you mid-rotation, 180 innings of pretty good pitcher," Gleeman said. "Actually gets some strikeouts, actually has a decent fastball."

Gleeman would like to see the Twins give May a chance to stay in the rotation for the first half of the season.

"Give him a chance to make another 15 [starts] that you can at least evaluate before you throw him into a role where he's only going to throw 65 innings a year."

Jose Berrios

"If he doesn't develop, they're going to really struggle to be anything more than a mediocre rotation."

That's a big claim from Gleeman and probably an accurate one. Berrios is Minnesota's best pitching prospect and there really isn't a guy his kind of potential waiting in the higher levels of the minors.

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