Ask the casual fan about the Minnesota Twins, and you'll probably be amused by the responses. Everyone can probably name Joe Mauer, most can name Justin Morneau, and then...uh, well, I bet that some can come up with the name Josh Willingham. And then, nothing. How many casual fans can name even one member of the Twins pitching staff? What I'm trying to imply is that while the Twins are a three-man team to the non-hardcore fan, they've got other players who will play huge roles for them in 2013.
My x-factor for the Minnesota Twins in 2013 is Ryan Doumit.
Doumit is an interesting character. He signed a one-year deal with the Twins prior to last season, and played well enough to earn himself two more years. In many ways, 2012 was the best season of his career (even if his fWAR, wOBA, or wRC+ didn't indicate that). Doumit mainly served as the Twins catcher and DH, splitting the positions with Joe Mauer, but also logged time in the outfield and at first base. He topped 500 plate appearances for the first time last season, and his 18 homers were a career best.
Doumit's importance to the Twins is based on the fact that Minnesota has a pair of franchise cornerstones at two of the positions he's gotten playing time at: Mauer behind the plate, and Justin Morneau at first. If one of those two goes down or has a nagging injury, it's a piece of cake for Ron Gardenhire to simply shift Doumit to their position and either rest the player or stick them at DH for a partial day off. Considering how banged up both of those two players have been in recent years, the presence of Doumit as opposed to an all-glove backup is that much more important.
Yeah, Ryan Doumit isn't the best DH in the world. His offensive numbers were worse than Kendrys Morales' with the Angels, but roughly comparable to Seth Smith's with the A's. He doesn't walk much, isn't a great defender when he's forced to wear a glove, and is a terrible baserunner. But his versatility (as adequate as he may be at those positions) is of the utmost importance to a Twins club that cannot afford a serious injury to one of their big pieces going forward.
Twins on TOC
End of Season Postmortem
Hope for the Hopeless
2013 Season Preview
You May Say I'm a Dreamer
2013 Burning Question
This Is My Nightmare