HomeMLBMinnesota Twins Season Preview 2024 Odds and Predictions

    Minnesota Twins Season Preview 2024 Odds and Predictions

    Adam Burke's season preview for the Minnesota Twins as part of the VSiN 2024 MLB Betting Guide.

    -

    Minnesota Twins 2024 preview

    The 2024 Minnesota Twins won the AL Central by nine games. They also won a playoff series for the first time since 2002. They hadn’t even won a playoff game since 2004. The postseason fun was short-lived, as the Twins bowed out in four games to the Astros. But, it was still a huge season for the organization.

    The question now is whether the Twins can build on that momentum. It is worth noting that the Twins only used 48 total players last season, their fewest in a 162-game season since 2015, so good health was part of the good fortune. Health has been such a big sticking point for this team, especially with Byron Buxton, who is arguably the game’s most exciting player when he’s out there.

     

    Top MLB Resources:

    Given that the Twins are running it back with almost the same roster as last season, just with a few tweaks here and there, it is easy to see why they are the AL Central favorites, but the path back to the postseason may not be as smooth of a ride this time around with the rising Tigers and the pesky Guardians.

    A bulls-eye analogy seems too easy for a team that plays at Target Field, but this group is definitely the hunted and not the hunter this season.

    2024 Minnesota Twins Odds

    (odds from DraftKings as of Mar. 7)

    World Series: +2000

    AL Pennant: +900

    AL Central: -115

    Win Total: 86.5 (-120/+100)

    Make Playoffs: Yes -170 / No +145

    Minnesota Twins Preview: Offense

    It isn’t often that you see an odds-on favorite to win a Major League Baseball division with a win total line of just 86.5. It only took 87 wins to win the AL Central last season and that could very well be good enough this season, as the division looks much more competitive, but all of the contenders are flawed in some way.

    When it comes to the Twins, one of their biggest flaws is the strikeout. Home runs cure a lot of ills and the Twins were third with 233 of those, but they struck out in 26.6% of their plate appearances. The lack of baserunners led to a .243 batting average and just 86 stolen bases. But, the long ball is at least one guaranteed run and sometimes more, so you take the good with the bad and there is a lot of good in banging out that many home runs when nobody else in the division has much in the way of power.

    Even with the high K%, the Twins finished sixth in wRC+ at 109 and fourth in the AL behind the Rays, Rangers, and Astros, so that was some really good company. In all, 11 Twins posted a wRC+ of 101 or higher. Buxton was not in that group. Neither was Carlos Correa. While the Twins generally stayed pretty healthy, especially on the pitching side, what they accomplished on offense without a lot of contributions from Buxton and Correa was impressive.

    Another trade-off for the strikeouts was that the Twins posted a 9.6% BB% that ranked fourth in MLB and first in the AL. Correa and Buxton had their share of whiffs, but both guys carried double-digit BB%. So did Edouard Julien, who walked nearly 16% of the time to go along with a 31.4% K%. He also banged out 16 homers and had a 136 wRC+. Matt Wallner was another guy with a high K% at 31.5%, but an 11% BB% and 14 homers in just 254 PA.

    The Twins embody the “three true outcomes” philosophy of a strikeout, walk, or homer. And it worked. To finish third in homers and have nobody with more than 24 dingers is quite an impressive feat. That makes the Twins offense dangerous. That makes a guy like Royce Lewis dangerous. He had a 155 wRC+ with 15 homers in just 239 PA. Max Kepler led the team with 24 and had a 124 wRC+.

    Offsetting the high-strikeout environment of present-day Major League Baseball by drawing walks and hitting bombs will go a long way. The Twins were 10th in runs scored last season, despite all the strikeouts. So, it worked. This season, they’ll look for more from Correa and Buxton, who both performed well below their career norms, and they’ll add more contact without sacrificing walks with the addition of Carlos Santana.

    Minnesota Twins Preview: Pitching

    The Twins offense has an extremely high floor with a fairly high ceiling. To reach new heights this season, it falls on the starting rotation, which is the most questionable part of the ballclub. I don’t question anything about Pablo Lopez, a legitimate front-of-the-rotation starter who had a 3.66 ERA with a 3.33 FIP after getting off to a bit of a rough start. Lopez followed up 2022’s 180 innings with 194 and will be relied on heavily in this rotation.

    Sonny Gray is gone from a Twins team that ranked fifth in ERA and third in FIP last season, with Gray playing a huge role posting a 2.79 ERA and a 2.83 FIP in 184 innings of work. Gray’s career year accounted for 5.3 fWAR and he finished second in the AL Cy Young voting. He even got MVP votes.

    Kenta Maeda also followed Gray out the door after posting a 4.23 ERA with a 4.02 FIP in 104.1 innings. To replace nearly 300 innings worth of production, the Twins will turn to Chris Paddack, Anthony DeSclafani, and Louie Varland. Tony Disco was slowed by elbow discomfort in Spring Training, so we’ll see where he’s at by the start of the season. Honestly, Varland, who had a 3.97 ERA and a 3.79 FIP in Triple-A to go with a 4.63 ERA and a 5.02 FIP (but a 3.81 xFIP) in 68 MLB innings, has a higher ceiling, but DeSclafani may be slightly safer to open the year.

    Paddack hasn’t really pitched at the MLB level since 2021 when he had a 5.07 ERA with a 3.78 FIP over 108.1 innings for the Padres. He’s thrown 27.1 innings in a Twins uniform over the last two seasons. The back of the rotation for the Twins will look a lot better if Bailey Ober and Joe Ryan can lock it down behind Lopez, but I really think there are some huge concerns with this starting staff.

    Ryan finished with a 4.51 ERA and a 4.13 FIP last season in 161.2 innings of work. He was pitching through something from late June to early August that represented nearly all of the damage, but he struggled when he came back as well. Ryan gives up a lot of home runs because he’s around the plate a lot and he’s been trending in the wrong direction in the contact management department.

    Ober is 6-foot-9 and uses that as a weapon. He’s got a 3.63 ERA with a 3.95 FIP over 292.2 MLB innings and looks to be a very strong No. 2 guy, but his 144.1 innings last season represented a huge increase over 2022, so I have some durability questions.

    The Twins pen was 15th in ERA and 16th in FIP. Given how good Jhoan Duran was with a 2.45 ERA and a 3.21 FIP, that seems like a sign about the rest of the group. Griffin Jax was good in the primary setup role, but it was kind of a revolving door for Rocco Baldelli otherwise. This season profiles to be rather similar, unless Brock Stewart, who had a 0.65 ERA in 27.2 innings, is really legit.

    Minnesota Twins Player to Watch

    SP Joe Ryan

    Which version of Ryan do the Twins get? Over his first 93.2 innings, Ryan had a 2.98 ERA with a 2.77 FIP. On June 22, he threw a complete game three-hitter with nine strikeouts against the Red Sox. The rest of the way, Ryan had a 6.62 ERA with a 6.01 FIP in 68 innings and gave up 24 home runs, including five in his next start against the Braves. He spent 24 days on the IL in August and pitched well for a few starts before falling apart again.

    Ryan still had 97 K in 68 innings during that bad stretch, but the long ball and a .377 BABIP were too much to overcome. He allowed a 14.5% Barrel% in that span after allowing a 4.4% Barrel% in 15 starts prior to when it all turned. The Twins are a really smart organization and maybe they can solve this Rubik’s cube, but Ryan’s tale of two seasons had to raise red flags.

    Minnesota Twins Season Win Total Odds & Prediction

    Are the Twins the rightful favorites to win the AL Central? Yes. Do I think they should be odds-on or favored by this much over the Guardians and Tigers? I do not. This is a really high-floor team with the power and two studs in Lopez and Duran anchoring the pitching staff. The supporting cast doesn’t get me terribly excited, though. I will grant that the Twins should have won the division by 15 games via BaseRuns and 16 games by Pythagorean Win-Loss and were clearly better than the others in the division.

    I will also grant that this team doesn’t look markedly better or worse than last year’s team. If that was good enough last season, it could very well be good enough this season. I still believe there are worrisome elements to the ballclub, especially with Buxton’s health history and Correa’s ongoing foot concerns.

    I also have durability questions about the starting staff, coupled with some depth concerns about the bullpen. It’s a good team. It isn’t a great team. I don’t know if a great team emerges in the AL Central, but I do think there’s a path to the Twins not being as good as expected.

    But, with any high-floor team, I’m not looking to bet against them. As I mentioned in the team-specific write-ups, I think +350 on the Guardians and/or Tigers is reasonable.

    Slight Lean: Under 86.5

    Get all of our preseason coverage in the 2024 MLB Betting Guide.

    Adam Burke
    Adam Burke
    Adam Burke is the Managing Editor of VSiN.com and has spent well over a decade in the sports betting content creation space. He has been with VSiN since 2021 and covers a wide range of sports, along with hosting the VSiN Daily Baseball Bets podcast.

    Must Read