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2 Last Place MLB Teams With Hope For Success In 2022

2 Last Place MLB Teams With Hope For Success In 2022

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Jake Cave #60, Byron Buxton #25, and Max Kepler #26 of the MLB Minnesota Twins celebrate their victory against the Texas Rangers at Target Field on May 3, 2021 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Rangers 6-5.
(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)

 

MLB is a highly competitive league, and every once in a while, it surprises us with Cinderella stories and disappointing squads.

The 2021 Minnesota Twins and the Miami Marlins would definitely fall in the second category, especially the former.

Both clubs were expected to contend this season, but instead, they find themselves in last place of their respective divisions.

Here is why they have the potential to be MLB postseason contenders next season.

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2. Minnesota Twins

The 58-75 Twins are, surprisingly, in last place in the American League Central.

They were expected to compete for the division lead with the Chicago White Sox, but lots of things went wrong.

Their best player, Byron Buxton, suffered a hip injury in May that kept him out of action for months.

Their best pitcher, Kenta Maeda, struggled right out of the gate and could never fully right the ship, finishing the year with a 4.66 ERA before the announcement that he underwent Tommy John surgery this week.

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Their second-best pitcher, Jose Berrios, was traded at the deadline once the team realized it wouldn’t go anywhere.

As a result, the 2021 season, at one point, turned into a player development-centered one rather than a competitive one.

Minnesota also traded slugger Nelson Cruz and reliever Hansel Robles in a retool.

Since they will likely get Buxton from the start and retain Max Kepler, Jorge Polanco, and other contributors, plus youngsters Trevor Larnach, Ryan Jeffers, and Alex Kirilloff, Minnesota is expected to contend in 2022.

They got three very good prospects at the deadline that could potentially help in 2022, as well: Joe Ryan, Austin Martin, and Simeon Woods Richardson.

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Additionally, they have a good shot at re-signing Cruz this offseason, since he will become a free agent and the player said he would definitely be open to a reunion.

The Maeda loss hurts (he will be out until late 2022 or early 2023), but Minnesota could definitely be better in 2022.

 

1. Miami Marlins

The Marlins, currently 55-78, are last in the National League East.

However, if everything goes their way next year, they could be contending for a Wild Card spot.

They have assembled some of the most impressive organizational pitching depth.

Sandy Alcantara, Pablo Lopez, and Trevor Rogers have pitched like aces this season, and the team also has Elieser Hernandez, Zach Thompson, Cody Poteet, Nick Neidert, Edward Cabrera, and Braxton Garrett ready for the bigs.

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Prospect Max Meyer could also be ready to help next year.

Oh, and the team swung an impressive deal over the deadline, sending two months of Starling Marte to the Oakland Athletics in exchange for several years of impressive, but inconsistent lefty Jesus Luzardo.

The team needs to make sure to bring more quality bats next season, but Jesus Aguilar, Jazz Chisholm, Brian Anderson, Lewis Brinson, and Garrett Cooper is a decent start.

With their pitching depth alone, the Marlins are in position to make a lot of noise in 2022, even if their 2021 was a bitter disappointment.

They could flip some of those impressive young pitchers for bats, or be more active in MLB free agency.

Either way, they should be a lot better next year.



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