Minnesota Twins Possible 1st Round Playoff Opponents Ranked

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Chicago White Sox
Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Twins have a greater than 99% chance of making the 2023 MLB Playoffs, according to ESPN analytics. The Cleveland Guardians have won three-straight games, but seven games back with just two weeks of the season remaining, it no longer matters. Rocco Baldelli has his team playing the best baseball of their up and down season, ending any chatter of another September implosion.

So, it’s time to look forward to the postseason, which starts on October 3. Major League Baseball recently expanded their playoff bracket to include three division winners and three wildcard teams from both the American and National Leagues (12 teams total).

AL EastRecordGBAL Playoff Seed
Baltimore Orioles93-561-seed
Tampa Bay Rays92-592.04-seed (WC1)
Toronto Blue Jays83-6710.55-seed (WC2)
New York Yankees76-7417.5
Boston Red Sox74-7619.5
AL CentralRecordGB—–
Minnesota Twins79-713-seed
Cleveland Guardians72-787.0
Detroit Tigers70-798.5
Chicago White Sox57-9322.0
Kansas City Royals48-10231.0
AL WestRecordGB—–
Houston Astros84-662-seed
Texas Rangers82-671.56-seed (WC3)
Seattle Mariners81-682.5
Los Angeles Angels68-8216.0
Oakland Athletics46-10337.5
—- mathematically eliminated from postseason

Minnesota Twins locked in as American League 3-seed

The two best division winners from each league, by record, get byes in the wildcard round. That means four total playoff teams (out of 12) have 1st round byes. The Twins will not be one of them, essentially locked into the American League’s 3-seed (>99%).

As AL Central winners, Minnesota sits 5 games behind the AL West leading Houston Astros, and a whopping 14.5 games back of the AL East leading Baltimore Orioles. Only two weeks remain in the MLB regular season.

Twins Wildcard opponent still TBD…

As a 3-seed, the Twins’ first round playoff opponent will be the third and final AL Wildcard team (6-seed). It’s still very much in the air who that will be, however. We know the AL East’s Baltimore Orioles or Tampa Bay Rays will be the 1-seed and the other will settle for the first wildcard spot (4-seed). The Twins won’t see either until the ALCS.

The AL West is also undecided. Unlike the AL East race, however, the West race will dictate who the Twins’ first round opponent is. Three teams (Astros, Rangers, Mariners) are within 2.5 games of each other. Whichever takes the crown will receive a 1st round bye.

Related: Royce Lewis Makes Twins Legitimate AL Pennant Contender

The two AL West teams that fall short of the division title will battle with the Toronto Blue Jays for the final two AL Wildcard spots (5 and 6 seeds). That means there are still four realistic first round opponents (Rangers, Astros, Mariners, Blue Jays) the Minnesota Twins could land. Let’s rank them both by likelihood of matchup and where they hit on the fear meter.

Twins possible wildcard opponents ranked from most likely to least likely

  1. Toronto Blue Jays – The Blue Jays are the AL’s 5-seed, for now, but ESPN Analytics gives them a worse chance of making the playoffs than the Rangers, who currently trail them by .5 games in the wildcard race.
  2. Texas Rangers – If the season ended after Sunday night, the Twins’ wildcard opponent would be the Rangers, who currently sit one game ahead of the Mariners for the 6th and final AL playoff seed and .5 games back of the Blue Jays for the 5-seed.
  3. Seattle Mariners – The Blue Jays, Rangers and Mariners all have similar odds of landing the Twins as their first round playoff opponent, but as of Monday morning, the Mariners sit on the outside of the AL Postseason bracket.
  4. Houston Astros – The Astros currently sit 2.5 games ahead in the AL West, meaning a wildcard round bye is theirs to lose. It’s hard to believe such a World Series proven team would choke under late regular season pressure. Still, this matchup is far from impossible.

Twins possible wildcard opponents ranked from most scary to least scary

  1. Houston Astros – This one is obvious. The Houston Astros are one of the greatest playoff teams in modern baseball history. The Twins want nothing to do with that smoke, as they try to end an 18-game playoff losing streak.
  2. Toronto Blue Jays – Any team other than Houston
  3. Seattle Mariners – Any team other than Houston
  4. Texas Rangers – Any team other than Houston (and the Twins had their number in the regular season)

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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