Today we reveal our #9 team in the Top 10 teams of the 2010s to not win the World Series. The teams considered all had outstanding seasons but failed to win the World Series. Many failed to even win a single playoff series. For some teams, such as the ’16-’17 Nationals and the ’18-’19 Dodgers, we’ve doubled up the seasons due to the similarities in each team and to ensure that we didn’t include any franchise more than once in this list.
#9: Minnesota Twins
#8-#1: Stay Tuned…
The #9 team in our Top 10 teams of the 2010s to not win a World Series is the 2019 Minnesota Twins. This is a bit controversial because the 2019 Yankees, who won 103 games and swept these Twins out of the playoffs, are not included in this Top 10. The reason for this is that the 2019 Minnesota Twins came out of nowhere and were a truly special team despite their postseason performance.
The 2019 Minnesota Twins were not expected to win the AL Central. Most experts and pundits predicted them to finish around .500 at best despite being a season removed from an AL Wild Card appearance in 2017. The Indians, behind stellar starting pitching, was expected to run away with the division yet again. On April 20th, after sweeping a doubleheader in Baltimore, would be tied for first with the Indians at 11-7. They would not relinquish first place for the rest of the season, finishing 101-61 and 8 games ahead of the Cleveland Indians, who would fail to make the playoffs despite winning 93 games.
The Twins hold the record for the most wins by a third seeded team in the postseason. They would be swept out of the playoffs in the ALDS by the New York Yankees in three games. It was an embarrassing showing by a team that believed they could win a World Series. And that tarnishes the memory of a fun and dominant team, led by their outstanding home run hitting offense.
Let’s start by looking at the nine guys who featured the most in their lineup:
This doesn’t include utility man Marwin Gonzalez who played in 114 games and hit .264 with 15 home runs and 55 RBIs. It doesn’t include back-up catcher Jason Castro, who slugged 13 home runs in limited playing time. Rookie Luis Arraez would arrive midseason and play in a variety of positions and hit .334 in 92 games.
Not since the 2009 New York Yankees had a team scored more than 900 runs in a season (4 teams would accomplish this feat in 2019). The Twins scored 939 and hit a major league record 307 home runs. 5 of their 9 starters hit 30+ home runs, and 8 of their 9 hit over 20. That is about as deep a lineup as you can have.
Jorge Polanco, Mitch Garver, Max Kepler, Eddie Rosario and Miguel Sano all had breakout seasons. Nelson Cruz continued to produce and should have been an All Star. For everything that seemed to go wrong in 2018, everything seemed to go right in 2019. Cruz, Polanco, Kepler, and Rosario would have finish in the Top 20 of AL MVP voting (9th, 13th, 18th, and 20th, respectively).
The lineup and the amount of home runs they hit is a major part of what makes this team special, despite not winning even one postseason game. But their pitching wasn’t too bad either. They got 26+ starts from all 5 of their projected starting pitchers and had a fierce three-headed monster coming out of the bullpen. Let’s take a look at the five starting pitchers and three relievers below.
Don’t let these stats fool you. Jose Berrios and Jake Odorizzi were much better than the ERA indicates, particularly in the first half of the season. Before the All Star Game, Berrios was 8-5 with a 3.00 ERA and 104 strikeouts in 18 games. Odorizzi was 10-4 with a 3.15 ERA and 96 strikeouts in 17 games. The Twins pitching staff as a whole wasn’t bad, as they were 8th in MLB with aa 4.18 ERA as a whole. Berrios had been an All Star the year before, but 2019 felt like his breakthrough season despite an ERA over 3.50.
And the emergence of Rogers, May, and Duffey out of the bullpen was a major advantage for the Twins on days they weren’t able to outslug other teams. Trevor May went on to get a big contract with the Mets for his performance while pitching in Minnesota.
Despite getting swept out of the playoffs, this 2019 Twins team was a special one, and deserves to be remembered as such. Unfortunately for them, 2019 and 2020 was their window for a World Series. They’ll likely try and retool for 2022, but nothing will be like it was in 2019 when anything seem possible in the Twin Cities.