Throughout this offseason, the Twins front office has put the most emphasis on the lineup, signing CJ Cron, Jonathan Schoop, and Nelson Cruz. Those signing filled all three of the biggest offensive holes and the 2019 lineup should look something like this (with 2018 stats)
1.) Jorge Polanco: 77 G, .773 OPS, 42 RBIs, 1.5 WAR
2.) CJ Cron: 140 G, .816 OPS, 74 RBIs, 2.0 WAR
3.) Nelson Cruz: 144 G, .850 OPS, 97 RBIs, 2.9 WAR
4.) Miguel Sano: 71 G, .679 OPS, 41 RBIs, -0.5 WAR
5.) Eddie Rosario: 138 G, .803 OPS, 77 RBIs, 3.6 WAR
6.) Jonathan Schoop: 131 G, .682 OPS, 61 RBIs, 1.4 WAR
7.) Max Kepler: 156 G, .727 OPS, 58 RBIs, 2.8 WAR
8.) Byron Buxton: 28 G, .383 OPS, 4 RBIs, -0.3 WAR
9.) Jason Castro (2017 stats): 110 G, .720 OPS, 47 RBIs, 2.5 WAR
So the way I put together the batting order was different than I’ve really seen this offseason. I put each player at the spot in the order that they have had the most success over their career. For example, I had Cron at the 2 spot because he has a higher career OPS when batting 2nd (.832) than any other spot in the order. Another example is Kepler batting 7th. When batting 7th he has a career .825 OPS where any other spot is under .800 OPS. I did this because I thought it would be a good way to measure the teams full potential and see how I think they could be the most successful.
One of the most important questions facing the Twins lineup has been who will bat leadoff? Well to rank each players OPS in the lead off spot goes like this: 1. Polanco (.849) 2. Byron Buxton (.675) 3. CJ Cron (.508) 4. Nelson Cruz (.429) 5. Jonathan Schoop (.186). The rest of the Twins (Kepler, Rosario, Castro and Sano) have never even hit leadoff in their career. Polanco just has that kind of leadoff vibe about him too, he can hit for some power, can run quickly, gets on base and sees some pitches.
Another question has been where will Sano and Buxton hit after their horrible years? Well in Sano’s career he actually owns a .905 OPS when hitting fourth so there is a lot of upside there. As for buxton, there is really not a spot where he has succeeded greatly yet so I believe he will be either 8th or 9th depending on where Baldelli wants Castro to hit.
Overall this Twins lineup has a ceiling that can be very good and lead them to the playoffs, but perhaps the floor is close to a repeat of last year. The upside should make for a very fun 2019 season.