That was Then...
The 2012 Minnesota Twins brought up the rear of the AL Central and their pitching staff has to shoulder a lot of the blame.
Canadian starter Scott Diamond was the only standout as he posted a 12-9 record with a 3.54 ERA. Matt Capps was also strong out of the bullpen picking up 14 of 15 saves before his season was sent off course at the hands of a shoulder injury.
The rest of the staff was patched together and could not muster enough to keep the Twins in many games, causing them to quickly slip down to the bottom of the standings.
To be fair, Carl Pavano, Francisco Liriano, Scott Baker, Nick Blackburn and Jason Marquis were expected to carry the load as the team's go-to rotation, but injuries held them to less than 55 starts combined over the course of the season.
Although he continues to see his power number slip, it was another quality season at the dish for Joe Mauer. He hit .319 and drove in 85 runs, but was only able to hit 10 home runs, once again falling well short of the 28 bombs he hit in his breakout 2009 season.
Justin Morneau remained healthy all season and got over 500 at bats for the first time since 2009, but his 19 home runs were also a dip in power for the All-Star first baseman.
The Twins suffered from a down year from too many players and going forward have to hope that health and a return to form is in the cards for the majority of their lineup.
...This is Now
The Twins will once again count on the duo of Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer to drive their offence, the key for both players is staying hot and staying healthy.
It could be another long year for the Twins as they have built an uninspiring looking rotation with Vance Worley looking like the number one starter among the bunch.
Diamond should continue to improve for the Twins and could once again emerge as their most reliable starter.
As it has been, the Twins will go as far as Mauer and Morneau can take them.
Both Trevor Plouffe and Josh Willingham will have to duplicate the power they showed in 2012 in the middle of this lineup for the Twins to be able to step up another level, but even that would probably only be good enough for the middle of the division.
Ron Gardenhire is going to have his work cut out managing this Twins team, but he is considered one of the best in the league. He'll need to be to stop this from being another 90-plus loss season in Minnesota.
Every year, we look for players 26-years-old or younger that could make an impact on their team in the upcoming season. The player might have already established himself with a regular role with the team, or he could make their mark later on in the season.
Past Picks: 2012 - Ben Revere, 2011 - Tsuyoshi Nishioka, 2010 - Denard Span, 2009 - Alexi Casilla, 2008 - Kevin Slowey, 2007 - Matt Garza, 2006 - Francisco Liriano, 2005 - Justin Morneau, 2004 - Joe Mauer, 2003 - Michael Cuddyer
After a disappointing 2012 season, the Twins open this year's rankings at 26.
OF Josh Willingham is the top-ranked Oriole, at 114th overall.
There are few options in Minnesota, though batting average stud C Joe Mauer is an early pick. LF Josh Willingham and 1B Justin Morneau can provide power, but both are middling options at their positions.
If DH Ryan Doumit still holds catcher eligibility, then he has some value and maybe a promising rookie like CF Aaron Hicks is worth a try in deeper leagues. 3B Trevor Plouffe had a power surge last year that might be enough to draw a late-round pick in the hopes that he can provide a cheap 25-homer season.
After that, any venturing towards Twins pitching is dicey. Closer Glen Perkins could be pretty good, though he has just 18 career saves and the best starting pitcher options – RHP Vance Worley and LHP Scott Diamond – are only going to hold appeal in the deepest of leagues.