Vegas win totals suggest Twins will be back in the playoff race

Is 84 1/2 wins too high, too low or just right for the Twins?
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Spring training begins in Florida in just a few weeks and Twins fans might be excited to know that oddsmakers in Las Vegas are signaling a potentially good season ahead. 

According to BetOnline, the over/under win total for the Twins in 2019 is 84 1/2, which is tied with the Brewers, Mets, Phillies and Rays for ninth-most in the big leagues. 

  1. Houston Astros 96½
  2. Boston Red Sox 95½
  3. New York Yankees 95½
  4. Los Angeles Dodgers 94½
  5. Cleveland Indians 90½
  6. Chicago Cubs 88½
  7. St. Louis Cardinals 88½
  8. Washington Nationals 87½
  9. Milwaukee Brewers 84½
  10. Minnesota Twins 84½
  11. New York Mets 84½
  12. Philadelphia Phillies 84½
  13. Tampa Bay Rays 84½
  14. Atlanta Braves 83½
  15. Los Angeles Angels 83½
  16. Oakland Athletics 83½
  17. Colorado Rockies 82½
  18. San Diego Padres 78½
  19. Arizona Diamondbacks 77½
  20. Cincinnati Reds 77½
  21. Pittsburgh Pirates 77½
  22. Toronto Blue Jays 77½
  23. Chicago White Sox 75½
  24. Seattle Mariners 74½
  25. San Francisco Giants 73½
  26. Texas Rangers 70½
  27. Kansas City Royals 69½
  28. Detroit Tigers 67½
  29. Miami Marlins 65½
  30. Baltimore Orioles 60½ 

If these win totals come true, then the Astros, Red Sox and Indians would be division winners while the Yankees, Twins and Rays would be the top three competing for two wild card spots, with the Angels and Athletics right on their heels. 

The Twins have certainly added some players that should give their lineup a chance to be successful this season, with Nelson Cruz, C.J. Cron and Jonathan Schoop all capable of hitting the ball over the fence and driving in runs. 

But Minnesota has done very little to bolster its pitching staff, although they've recently added right-handed reliever Blake Parker and left-hander Martin Perez, who will reportedly have a chance to win a job in the starting rotation. 

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Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey believes Parker could compete with Trevor Hildenberger, Addison Reed and Trevor May for the closer job, according to team's website

Minnesota's bullpen finished ninth in the American League with a 4.45 ERA last season, certainly not good enough to contend in the postseason when dominant bullpens are at their best. 

Bullpen arms (locks in bold)

  • Blake Parker
  • Addison Reed
  • Trevor May
  • Trevor Hildenberger
  • Taylor Rogers
  • Gabriel Moya
  • Adalberto Mejia
  • Andrew Vasquez
  • Chase De Jong
  • Stephen Gonsalves
  • Kohl Stewart
  • Fernando Romero
  • Martin Perez
  • Michael Pineda

"My view is, bullpens are grown, not necessarily always bought, and I think that when you look at what pitchers we have in our organization, if we're plus on the starter side, in some cases, some of those guys may end up in the bullpen," Falvey said, via the team's website. 

Starting pitchers (locks in bold)

  • Jose Berrios
  • Jake Odorizzi
  • Kyle Gibson
  • Michael Pineda
  • Martin Perez
  • Adalberto Mejia
  • Chase De Jong
  • Stephen Gonsalves
  • Kohl Stewart
  • Fernando Romero 
  • Zack Littell
  • Dietrich Enns
  • Felix Jorge

It's also been widely reported that the Twins could experiment quite a bit this coming season with an "opener" rather than a starter. An opener is typically a relief pitcher who will go an inning or two before handing the ball to a "primary pitcher," which could be a normal starter or a long reliever. 

Because the Twins have a mountain of low-end starters on the roster, they could mix and match them as openers throughout the season. 

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