The Minnesota Twins are officially on the clock for the 2017 MLB draft. With their 100th loss yesterday the team can only reach a total of 62 victories if they win out. The next lowest, the Atlanta Braves, already have 63 wins. The Twins weren't expected to be very good this year so clinching the number one pick isn't necessarily a surprise, but the franchise still has a long way to go to get back into playoff contention.
The two best things to happen to the Twins season have come in the month of September. Entering 2014 Baseball America ranked outfielder Byron Buxton as the best prospect in the game. He came in at number two entering 2015 and 2016. His season was off to a disastrous start through early August. In 218 plate appearances he was hitting a putrid .193/.247/.315 with just one home run. However, since getting called back up on September 1st he has hit .288/.337/.625 with seven homers in just 87 plate appearances. While the rough start to the year will hurt his season totals Twins fans have reason to believe in their former top prospect moving forward.
The other positive of the season was a career year from second baseman Brian Dozier. The 29-year-old has blown past his career high of 28 homers. With six games left in 2016 he sits at 43, which is good for second in all of baseball behind just Mark Trumbo. The insane part is that 29 of those 43 have come since July 10th. It's been an absolute torrid second half that has gone largely unnoticed because of how bad his team has been.
Outside of these two there was little to cheer about for the Twins this year. While the offense ranks 16th in the majors in runs per game, the pitching staff let the team down by ranking 29th in ERA. 2017 figures to be another rebuilding year in Minnesota but the continued development of Buxton and 22-year-old power hitter Miguel Sano (24 homers) could make it a successful bridge year. After this season former franchise player Joe Mauer has just two years and $46 million left on his contract. For now Twins fans will set their eyes on next year's draft as the rest of the baseball world prepares for the playoffs to come.