Twins think they're ready to overtake the Indians in the AL Central

Cleveland won the division by 17 games last season.
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Joe Mauer

After a busy offseason upgrading the roster, the Twins appear poised to make some more noise in the American League, and everyone on the team is talking a big game going into the season. 

"This year, I don't think we're going to sneak up on anybody and I think we all understand that," Joe Mauer said in an interview with MLB Network this week. 

Minnesota snuck up on the league last year and made the playoffs before losing to the Yankees in the one-game wild card playoff. 

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This offseason, the Twins bolstered their starting staff by adding right-handers Jake Odorizzi and Lance Lynn, who'll compliment Jose Berrios and Kyle Gibson in the rotation to begin the season before All-Star Ervin Santana comes back from a finger injury some time in April. 

In the bullpen, the Twins added three known commodities in Fernando Rodney (10.57 K/9 last season), Addison Reed (9.00 K/9 with a 2.84 ERA), and Zach Duke, a crafty lefty who struck out 10 batters per nine innings in 2016 before injuries limited him in 2017. 

They also added left-handed slugger Logan Morrison, who finished fifth in the AL with 38 home runs last season with Tampa Bay. 

"It was nice, especially the type of talent that we added," said Mauer. "To get Morrison, and to get Lance Lynn in here .... those were huge moves for us. Jake Odorizzi. There's a lot of excitement." 

Brian Dozier thinks this is the year the Twins make a splash. 

“You mix in what we already had here and then some of the veteran players that we added," Dozier said on MLB Network, "I think everything bodes pretty well for us to get over that hump, to make a splash and to get deeper into the postseason."

Byron Buxton, whom one Baseball America writer tabbed as a dark horse MVP candidate, told MLB Network's Dan Plesac that they can take down the Cleveland Indians for the AL Central title. 

"Most definitely," he said. "With the team we've got, the additions we've picked up, the sky is the limit for us. We never put limitations on what we can and can't do, and I think that's what makes us special." 

Baseball Prospectus' Aaron Gleeman thinks the Twins could blow past the 83 wins the PECOTA projections have them on, but thinking they'll overtake the Indians is a bit ambitious.

"I’m certainly not saying the Indians are unbeatable, or that the Twins don’t have the upside to blow past their PECOTA projections on the way to 90-plus wins, but … well, Cleveland is really good and really deep and won the division by 17 games last season."

The 162-game ride takes off Thursday with the season opener between the Twins and Orioles in Baltimore. 

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