Minnesota surprised much of the baseball world on their way to a 101-win season and an MLB-record 307 home runs. Plenty of players had breakout seasons, including a young core of Jorge Polanco, Max Kepler, and Luis Arraez. It seems unlikely for the Twins to break the home run record in back-to-back seasons, so what players are likely to see some regression during the upcoming season?
2019 Stats: .252 BA, .244 BABIP, .336 OBP, .855 OPS
Few Twins fans knew what to expect when Kepler was named the Twins lead-off hitter during spring training. He actually was a bit unlucky when looking at his batting average and his BABIP, but it also doesn’t seem likely for him to approach 35+ home runs two seasons in a row. Baseball Reference projects him for 26 home runs and a .795 OPS. This is a slight decline from 2019 and it seems like an reasonable projection for the coming year.
2019 Stats: .334 BA, .355 BABIP, .399 OBP, .833 OPS
Arraez had one of the best rookie seasons in recent memory for the Twins, but few people saw this coming. He has been able to hit at every professional level, but it makes sense for teams to figure out his tendencies and take advantage of them with more repetitions. For next season, there seems little chance that his OPS stays above .800. Arraez has the offensive tools to be an above-average second baseman but the Twins will have to use him correctly in the years ahead.
2019 Stats: .273 BA, .267 BABIP, .365 OBP, .995 OPS
Garver won a Silver Slugger in his first season of playing on a semi-regular basis but Jason Castro won’t be there as a safety blanket next year. Garver might be forced to take on a more regular role. What will that do to his production? He might have been a little lucky with a BABIP that was lower than his actually batting average. It seems more likely for him to be around 20 home runs and a .850 OPS.
2019 Stats: .295 BA,.328 BABIP, .356 OBP, .841 OPS
Polanco was the team’s lone position player All-Star in 2019 and he was elected as a starter. Baseball Reference projects him to accumulate an .803 OPS next year, while dipping from 22 home runs this season to 17 homers next year. He’s managed a .339 OPS over the course of his big league career so it will be interesting if he can continue at that level with other top prospects trying to take his big-league spot.
2019 Stats: .247 BA, .319 BBIP, .346 OBP, .923 OPS
Sano struggled through parts of the 2019 campaign, but he seemed to settle into a routine as the season progressed. His batting average on balls in play seems destined for some regression and it’s hard to predict whether he will be able to stay healthy for an entire season. He has yet to play more than 116 games in one year and that was back in 2016. A full season of Sano could be dangerous or a full season could more fully expose his flaws.
This story originally appeared at Twins Daily and was re-shared through a collaboration with Bring Me The News.