Who knows, maybe the Twins can have a Cubs-like season in 2016 and blast their way deep into the playoffs? While Chicago is in a frenzy over the Cubs' success right now, Minnesotans are bracing for winter and looking forward to what might happen in Twins Territory next year.
October baseball in Minnesota hasn't been of the postseason variety since 2010, but the Twins won 83 games this year behind a solid group of young players – Miguel Sano, Eddie Rosario, Tyler Duffey, Byron Buxton, Aaron Hicks and more – to fuel some hope for what's coming in the near future.
It all gets started Feb. 21, 2016, when Twins pitchers and catchers report to Fort Myers, Florida, for Spring Training, the team announced Wednesday. Full squad practices begin Feb. 27, and then it's on to the games under the sunny Florida skies as Minnesota will play 33 games – 15 at their home ballpark with the likes of the Cardinals, Yankees and Red Sox visiting.
Even ESPN finds the Twins as one of the most compelling teams in baseball, placing them 11th in its Ultimate MLB Rankings.
"After falling from 58th in 2013 to 62nd in our standings last year, the Twins are moving in the right direction now -- up 15 spots overall, where they find themselves just outside the top 10 among MLB teams. A strong stadium and plenty of personnel changes during the offseason account for the changes -- though Twins fans know there's still plenty of work to be done."
As Aaron Gleeman notes, all of Minnesota's 10 most valuable players from this season should be back. Gleeman's top 10 are:
- Miguel Sano
- Brian Dozier
- Kyle Gibson
- Trevor Plouffe
- Eddie Rosario
- Trevor May
- Eduardo Escobar
- Ervin Santana
- Tommy Milone
- Tyler Duffey
"Sano was the Twins' best player for every moment he wore a Twins uniform and that gets my MVP," Gleeman wrote.