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What's the Twins' optimal batting order? Here are 3 ideas

As Spring Training draws closer, excitement for baseball season is building.
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Baseball is almost back with the Twins reporting to spring training Feb. 15. While the pitching staff will control the headlines, the batting order manager Paul Molitor goes with will probably have to carry the team.

Not so fun fact: The Twins used 148 different batting orders last season, according to Baseball Reference. No batting order was used more than three times. For perspective, the AL champion Cleveland Indians employed 101 different lineups.

Brian Dozier, fresh off 42 homers and a ton of trade rumors, leads a lineup with a ton of potential as Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton, Eddie Rosario, Max Kepler and Jorge Polanco hope to take the lineup to the next level. Here are three lineups that make sense, at least in our GoMN baseball minds.

Joe Nelson's optimal lineup:

  1. Jorge Polanco - SS
  2. Joe Mauer - 1B
  3. Miguel Sano - 2B
  4. Brian Dozier - 3B
  5. Max Kepler - RF
  6. Kennys Vargas - DH
  7. Byron Buxton - CF
  8. Jason Castro - C
  9. Eddie Rosario - LF

Highlight of the lineup: This lineup puts the most productive hitter in the t spot, where Dozier had an outstanding .606 slugging percentage last season. The bulk of his homers came as a leadoff hitter, but imagine how many RBI he could finish with if he's at the dish with men on base.

Ideally, Buxton is the leadoff hitter but he has a lot to prove this spring. Additionally, Polanco's strikeout rate (17 percent) was a lot lower than Buxton's (35.6 percent). It's critical that Minnesota gets the leadoff man right for the simple fact that 30 of Dozier's 42 homers last season were solo shots. He needs men on base.

Aaron Ziemer's optimal lineup:

  1. Byron Buxton – CF
  2. Joe Mauer – 1B
  3. Brian Dozier – 2B
  4. Miguel Sano – 3B
  5. Max Kepler – RF
  6. Kennys Vargas – DH
  7. Jason Castro – C
  8. Eddie Rosario – LF
  9. Jorge Polanco – SS

Highlight of the lineup: While on the surface it makes more sense for the Twins to lead off with Polanco, it's time for Buxton to put up or sit down. There were some signs he's ready to produce. Buxton slashed .287/.357/.653 with 9 home runs, 22 RBIs, and 24 runs over his final 29 games, in September. It's time to see if he can do it when it matters most.

Dozier is now Minnesota's best hitter period. He gets the No. 3 spot, I'd consider dropping Mauer to 6 or even 7, if Polanco or Rosario look ready for the 2 spot.

Declan Goff's optimal lineup:

  1. Byron Buxton - CF
  2. Robbie Grossman - DH
  3. Joe Mauer - 1B
  4. Miguel Sano - 3B
  5. Brian Dozier 2B
  6. Max Kepler - RF
  7. Eddie Rosario - LF
  8. Jason Castro - C
  9. Jorge Polanco - SS

Highlight of the lineup:

Even though Mauer's batting average has declined, his OBP (.363) is still too good to not have near the top of the lineup. Same goes for Grossman who led the team with a .386 percentage last season. With those two getting on base, you can expect a ton of RBI for Sano and Dozier.

With the Twins not having a lot of speed in the top half of their lineup, they'll need Buxton in the leadoff spot. Plus with the way he finished last season, he deserves it. Which is also the spot he's held down for the majority of his time in the minors.

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