This spring, the Minnesota Twins set out to improve on a disappointing 2012 campaign, in which the team finished with a 75-87 record. They did just that, elevating their win total to 86 wins and contention in both the AL Central and Wild Card races. In the end, they fell short, finishing 6 games behind the Detroit Tigers and 4 games out of a Wild Card berth. The 2013 campaign started with controversy. For one, hometown star catcher Joe Mauer was dispatched to the Los Angeles Dodgers, whom he led to a World Championship. In all, the Twins made 3 trades and some small free agent signings that balanced their payroll and netted them a number of prospects as well as some key components that contributed to the team this year. Catchers - In the spring, the team planned on using Ryan Doumit extensively as the team moved on from Mauer. However, an early injury left the team relying on rookie Tim Federowicz (acquired in the Mauer deal), and he did not disappoint. He quickly showed that he legitimately deserves major league at bats, compiling a .290 BA with 8 HRs, 50 RBI and 8 SB, as well as throwing out a respectable 34% of opposing baserunners. Once Doumit was healthy, he was used in a regular utility role in the outfield and first base. The other catcher was Steven Hill, a rule 5 draftee from St Louis; Hill has some power and is a real threat to left handed pitchers. First Base - If you would have asked Twins management before the season if they would have been happy if starting first baseman Justin Morneau finished with a .280 BA, 20 HR and 90 RBI, as well as zero trips to the disabled list, they would have been ecstatic. And that's basically what he did. The Lumberjack was given regular rest days and rotated into the DH position to ensure his health and he regained some of the productivity that made him a star years ago. Second Base - This position saw turmoil all year long. Veteran Freddy Sanchez was signed from San Francisco and he only mustered a .254 BA. Originally, the team envisioned Juan Uribe splitting time at the position, but an early injury to shortstop Yunel Escobar meant his services were needed on the left side of the infield. Instead, Sanchez was spelled by Darin Mastroianni, Luke Hughes and Brian Dozier. Mastroianni is a speedster that is used regularly in the outfield, Hughes was sent to the minors after failing to meet the Mendoza line and Dozier is a youngster that is trying to establish himself. Shortstop - Yunel Escobar was one of the marquee acquisitions last offseason, after a trade from the Blue Jays. He was coming off a great season and hopes were high that he would repeat his success, but a concussion derailed his season and put him on the sideline for four months. Early on, the team had to rely on Uribe, who had his moments but was not able to duplicate his power numbers from his previous season in Los Angeles. The Twins eventually made a mid-season trade to acquire Jed Lowrie from Houston, which gave some measure of stability to the position down the stretch. Lowrie hit .274 with 8 HR in his two months with Minnesota. Third Base - Danny Valencia had a great 2012 (.280 16 96) and he hoped to duplicate those numbers, but fell far short last year. He was a stabilizing figure in the lineup, but only hit .254 13 70. Left Field - Ben Revere had a mildly successful season in 2012 and, incredibly, he was able to improve upon it. Revere finished the season 6th in batting average (.306) and 3rd in stolen bases (45). Revere started the season in a platoon role but worked his way into a mostly full-time role as he is a premier fielder in left field as well. Revere showed he is a rising star in the league. Center Field - Veteran Denard Span completed his 6th straight season in Minnesota and again gave the team a solid fielder and number 2 hitter. Span fell just shy of the .300 mark (.294) and was able to steal 24 bases. Span's season would have been even better had it not been for a short stay on the disabled list mid-season. Right Field - Youngster Chris Parmalee had a breakthrough 2013. A year after injuries caused him to hit .238 and miss significant time, he was able to post .292 11 63, even with two separate stays on the disabled list. He did share time with Joe Benson, whose right handed power bat struggled this year (.197 BA). Designated Hitter - The primary free agent acquisition last offseason (and the reason the Twins were willing to trade Mauer) was Edwin Encarnacion. While he did fall short of his MVP-caliber 2012, he had more-than-respectable numbers in his first season in the Twin Cities, contributing a line of .292 26 106. He also logged some games at first and third through the course of the year, though it's obviously not his forte. Starting Rotation - The Twins broke camp with a veteran-heavy rotation of Francisco Liriano, Scott Baker, Sergio Mitre, Kyle Drabek and Liam Hendriks. Liriano was coming off of another injury-shortened season, Baker had a career-high 17 wins and Mitre posted his best major league season in 2012, while Drabek and Hendriks had failed to establish themselves. Early in 2013, the organizational pitching depth was tested, with Liriano and Mitre missing quite a bit of time, which prompted the promotion of Brad Peacock (another piece from the Mauer trade) and journeyman Chad Gaudin. Liriano had another solid 13-win season and Baker was on track to another solid year when he went out for Tommy John surgery. Mitre never got on track. Drabek truly established himself in the majors, leading the AL in shutouts, while Hendriks struggled in the second half. But the true story was Peacock; he went from the 6th starter in spring training to a spot in the All Star game and finished the year with a 15-6 record and a 2.83 ERA. Bullpen - Sergio Santos was brought from Toronto via trade and was one of the best in the league, earning a trip to the All Star game. Unfortunately, he was unable to match it in the second half, where his ERA climbed to 4.63. His inconsistencies were key in a second half slump in late July. The setup responsibilities belonged to Lester Oliveros, who was solid, and Glen Perkins, who struggled. A bright spot was Shawn Tolleson, yet another piece from the Mauer trade, who showed he's ready for the majors. In the end, most of the players on the 2013 Twins came close to expectations. Unfortunately, they had some rough timing and general inconsistency due to injuries, which doomed them to go home for October, losing out to a strong Detroit Tigers team. Still, they had the look of a much-improved group and hope to maintain their positive momentum into 2014.