When Bob Dylan wrote "The Times They are a Changin", maybe just maybe he was writing about the 2008 Twins. Gone are the faces of the franchise, Johan Santana, Torii Hunter, and young starter Matt Garza. In are a mix of reliable journeymen and young potential superstars. The Twins were one of the most active teams this off season, we will try to match the names to the faces for you kind of like Bob Uecker in "Major League".
Acquired OF Carlos Gomez, RHP Philip Humber, RHP Kevin Mulvey and RHP Deolis Guerra from the New York Mets for LHP Johan Santana.
Signed RHP Livan Hernandez to a one-year contract.
Acquired OF Craig Monroe from the Cubs for a player to be named.
Signed SS Adam Everett to a one-year contract for the 2008 season.
Signed 3B Mike Lamb to a two-year contract with an option for the 2010 season.
Traded RHP Matt Garza, SS Jason Barlett and RHP Eduardo Morlan to Tampa Bay for OF Delmon Young, IF Brendan Harris and OF Jason Pridie.
Projected Positional Starters
C- Joe Mauer
1B- Justin Morneau
2B- Brendan Harris
SS- Adam Everett
3B- Mike Lamb
LF- Delmon Young
CF- Carlos Gomez
RF- Michael Cuddyer
DH- Jason Kubel
Ace- Francisco Liriano
4 - Livan Hernandez
5 - Kevin Slowey
CL- Joe Nathan
Middle Relievers - Juan Rincon, Jesse Crain, Pat Neshek, Matt Guerrier, Dennys Reyes
Hitters to Draft
Justin Morneau, 1B
Back to back 30 HR 100 RBI seasons makes him one of the top first basemen in baseball. You really can't go wrong with the 2006 MVP, he is one of the bright stars in MLB today.
Joe Mauer, C
If he stays healthy he should bat around .300 and give you decent power numbers. His career high in HR is 13 and hasn't driven in 100 RBI yet in his career. The only question mark with Mauer is his health. The catching position is thin and Mauer is an upper tier catcher.
Michael Cuddyer, RF
Solid Fantasy outfielder will put up decent, real life baseball numbers and will be a good late round pick up if you ignored your outfielders during your draft.
Delmon Young, LF
Young was the AL runner up in Rookie of the Year Balloting, batting .288 with 13 homers and 93 RBI in his first season. It will be hard to replace Torii Hunter's 20/20 seasons and solid RBI numbers. Young could turn into a Torri Hunter type in the Twins outfield. Hopefully his off the field problems remain off the field.
Pitchers to Draft
Joe Nathan, CL
Probably the best closer in the game, he averages 3 blown saves a season over the past 4 years! Last season he had 77 K's in 71 IP and he racked up 37 saves. There are a lot of rumors of Nathan leaving Minnesota at some point in the season. He will probably be the first closer drafted in you league, if you are lucky to get him go for it! He is a low risk stud out of the pen.
Francisco Liriano, SP
Even though he missed all of the 2007 season due to an elbow injury, Liriano still is the sexy pick of all the pitchers in MLB. He was dominant in his rookie season before his arm failed him. He threw in 34 games, started 20 and won 13. He struck out 177 batters in his 34 games in 2006. Look for him to become a big time strike out pitcher in the AL.
Scott Baker, SP
He showed marked improvement late in the season in 2007 and looks to be one of the Twins top starters. Don't put too much stock in his final numbers from 2007, break it down monthly to see how well he really pitched.
Players to Avoid
Adam Everett, SS
Hopefully you don't paint yourself into a corner during your draft and forge to draft a shortstop. Adam Everett is not a reliable pick at shortstop. A very Vanilla player with a career .248 AVG.
Mike Lamb, 3B
Very underrated third basemen, he will give you an average around .290 and will hit double digit home runs for you. He's not a sexy name at third, but he could fill a blank if you have an injury or a poor draft.
Carlos Gomez, CF
Was acquired in the Santana deal and his speed could make him the everyday center fielder in Minnesota for a long time. He once stole 64 bases in the Minors and playing on turf will help his batting average. He has blazing speed and could have a break out year.
Kevin Slowey, SP
In 2007 at AAA Slowey was 10-5 with a 1.89 ERA and a WHIP of .89. He started 20 games and complete five. He rocketed threw the Twins system and came up for a few starts in 2007. He went 4-1, but his ERA was over 4. Remember this is his 4th year is pro ball and he has a lot to learn. But if you look at his learning curve, you can see he has learned a lot and could be the future of the Twins rotation.