Originally written on The Outside Corner  |  Last updated 11/17/14

What else can baseball fans do in January but dream of October? In You May Say I'm a Dreamer, the Outside Corner staff will imagine the route to a World Series in 2012 title for all 30 teams.

The Minnesota Twins were one of the biggest disappointments of the 2011 MLB season. Their fortunes dramatically changed in 2012 and the Twins, who despite numerous division titles in the 20 years since winning the 1991 World Series, had never been back, won the World Series by defeating the Atlanta Braves in another seven game showdown after slashing payroll by $20 million for the season.

Minnesota's struggles in 2011 could have been pinned on a number of players, yet two typically get most of the blame: former AL MVPs Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer. Both dealt with health issues in 2011, but were healthy in 2012, with Mauer playing in 145 games (split between catcher and DH), and Morneau logging 151, fully recovered from post-concussion syndrome. To their credit, both players were extremely productive in 2012. Mauer hit an AL-leading .334 with an .873 OPS, while Morneau had a season reminiscent of his MVP season of 2006, OPSing .934 with 32 homers.

Mauer and Morneau had some help in the Twins lineup, namely from free agent signees Ryan Doumit and Josh Willingham. The former Oakland Athletic and Washington National Willingham was a key signee to replace long-time Twin Michael Cuddyer, and he delivered, OPSing .821 with 23 bombs on the year in left field. As for Doumit, not only did he get some time behind the plate to spell Mauer, but he also got time at DH and right field, and the former Pittsburgh Pirate OPSed .795 with 18 homers for the squad, making his $3 million contract look like a bargain. The Twins also got key contributions from center fielder Denard Span (.749 OPS, 31 stolen bases, and a Gold Glove) and perhaps shockingly, new shortstop Jamey Carroll, whose .761 OPS might not look like much, but was a huge upgrade over Alexi Casilla from a year ago.

Minnesota's pitching staff, once a huge strength for the team, was merely average for the World Champs in 2012. Ace (by default) Carl Pavano won 14 games with a 3.70 ERA for the squad, while Francisco Liriano, once thought to be the successor to Johan Santana, won 16 with a 3.91 ERA and 184 strikeouts. The other three members of Minnesota's starting staff, Scott Baker, Nick Blackburn, and Jason Marquis, combined to win 32 games and put together a 4.21 ERA. The Twins' bullpen was a strong suit, as the much-maligned re-signing of Matt Capps would lead to 41 saves and a 2.13 ERA. Minnesota's incumbent set-up men, Glen Perkins and Brian Duensing, allowed just three home runs between the two of them, and each had an ERA under 2.00. Then, there was the oft-injured Joel Zumaya, who would miss the first month of the season coming back from Tommy John surgery, but would strike out 62 batters in the 43 innings he threw after his return.

At times, it wasn't easy. The Twins had to surpass the heavily-favored Detroit Tigers in the AL Central. But through some timely hitting and pitching, and of course, a little good luck, the Twins edged out the Tigers in the division, and battled through the playoffs to get deep into October, where they faced the Braves in a rematch of the 1991 World Series. It was a back and forth series, but Minnesota's home-field advantage at Target Field would eventually be too much for the Braves to overcome.


Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Kentucky remains unbeaten after thrilling win over ND

Alabama DT arrested on domestic violence charges again

John Calipari blasted for postgame interview

WATCH: MJ, Tom Brady play pickup game in Bahamas

WATCH: Wrong national anthem played for El Salvador


WATCH: Russell Wilson smashes HR in Rangers BP

John Fox: Jay Cutler will have to earn starting QB job

Report: Shaka Smart, Gregg Marshall candidates for Texas

Kurt Warner is helping to turn around Colin Kaepernick

Bizarre call allows Duke to cover spread against Utah

Saints love TE Josh Hill following Jimmy Graham trade

Sam Dekker's hot shooting sends Wisconsin to Final Four

Jim McElwain complains about Florida roster

Mark Few: I put Coach K up there with John Wooden

WATCH: Enes Kanter embraces boos in return to Utah

Mariners prospect dies from boat accident injuries

T.J. Ford sends heartfelt tweet about Rick Barnes

Bruins coach suits up as backup goalie

Tennessee fans show love for Bruce Pearl on campus rock

Louisville guard turned off phone after clutch NC State win

Steve Spurrier hung out with Kenny Chesney before concert

Winnipeg Jets prospect had a rough night on the ice

Did Dean Smith’s gifts to former players violate NCAA rules?

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

John Fox: Cutler will have to earn job

Texas eyeing Shaka Smart, Gregg Marshall?

WATCH: Brady jumps off cliff in Costa Rica

WATCH: 2 Chainz beats Nique in HORSE

Elite Eight preview and predictions: Notre Dame vs. Kentucky

Elite Eight preview and predictions: Arizona vs. Wisconsin

NFL owners chose cost over game integrity

Be careful how loudly you cheer on Mo'ne Davis' olive branch

James Harden and the collective consciousness

Hottest coaching seats in NBA

Under-the-radar NL MVP candidates

Notre Dame’s coach makes first Elite Eight

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.