Twins Week in Review: 5/31-6/6
Welcome to The Minnesota Twins Week in Review. On Access Twins, we’ll take a deep dive into the week that was for your Twins. We will post on Mondays, and look back from the previous Monday to Sunday since that’s how MLB lines up its schedule.
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And now, let’s talk to it:
Record: 3-4, .429 (t-21st) — 0-0 at home, 3-4 on the road
Current Fangraphs Record Projection: 78-84, .484 (4th place, -1 win/-1 place)
Current Fangraphs Division Chances: 2.5 percent (-1.6 percent)
Current Fangraphs Playoff Chances: 4.0 percent (-3.4 percent)
Baseball Prospectus PECOTA Record Projection: 81-81 (3rd place, -2 wins)
Baseball Prospectus Division Chances: 6.7 percent (-4.8 percent)
Baseball Prospectus Playoff Chances: 9.7 percent (-8.5 percent)
Baseball Prospectus Adjusted Playoff Chances: 8.7 percent (-6.3 percent)
FiveThirtyEight Record Projection: 75-87 (4th place, -2 wins/-1 place)
FiveThirtyEight Division Chances: 3.0 percent (-1.0 percent)
FiveThirtyEight Playoff Chances: 5.0 percent (-3.0 percent)
Breakdown: Things continue to go sideways for the Twins, who won just three of seven games despite playing Kansas City and Baltimore — two teams they really ought to clean up on. Who knows? Maybe they run through the Yankees and Astros and completely flip the script a week from now? Baseball is weird that way.
Hitting (with rankings)
Batting Average: .252 (12th)
On-Base Percentage: .315 (13th)
Slugging Percentage: .450 (13th)
OPS: .765 (12th)
wOBA: .331 (13th)
wRC+: 113 (13th)
Runs Per Game: 3.86 (t-23rd)
Batting Average (w/ RISP): .158 (25th)
Breakdown: The wRC+ divide last week is kind of wild. The Twins are 13th at 113, and No. 14 belongs to Detroit — but at 105. Obviously, the thing that stands out here is the wretched batting average with runners in scoring position, as it always seems like Miguel Sano is flailing through a breaking ball on the outside corner with two on like three times per game.
Watching how the offense evolves as spin rates, uh, mysteriously tick down is going to be fascinating — but it also cuts both ways. How will it affect Twins pitchers, who are already struggling on the whole? Maybe not many of them are using the stuff, but it’s not as though that means they’re suddenly going to improve. That’s now how it works.
Among the standouts last week was Josh Donaldson, who hit an astonishing .409/.519/.818. He’s really heating up. Ryan Jeffers came up and did some damage in 16 plate appearances (203 wRC+) and it’s going to get harder and harder to keep Nick Gordon out of the lineup if he keeps hitting as he has (199 wRC+ in 16 plate appearances last week).
The issue for Gordon, however, is that right behind him are his primary competition for playing time — Andrelton Simmons (198 wRC+) and Jorge Polanco (150). It’s too bad there isn’t a configuration here that’d allow the Twins to sit Sano more often while getting Gordon more plate appearances.
Kyle Garlick (142 wRC+ last week) also has picked up the pace, and has pushed his season wRC+ to 114 despite just a .294 on-base percentage. With that said, he walked four times in 23 plate appearances last week (17.4 percent) — which accounts for two-thirds of the walks he’s taken this season in 102 plate appearances.
Starting Pitching (with rankings)
IP: 32.0 (18th)
IP/GS: 4.57 (24th)
Pitches/Start: 70.7 (29th)
ERA: 7.59 (28th)
FIP: 5.42 (25th)
xFIP: 4.81 (26th)
SIERA: 4.73 (28th)
K/9: 5.91 (30th)
K%: 14.2 percent (30th)
BB/9: 1.69 (3rd)
BB%: 4.1 percent (1st)
K-BB%: 10.1 percent (27th)
WHIP: 1.63 (29th)
Groundball Rate: 44.4 percent (16th)
Opponent Batting Average: .333 (30th)
Opponent On-Base Percentage: .367 (t-26th)
Opponent Slugging Percentage: .572 (29th)
Opponent OPS: .939 (29th)
Breakdown: It’s honestly a wonder the Twins won three games last week with starting pitching like this. Now with that said, a lot of the burden falls on Matt Shoemaker, whose blow-up in Kansas City on Friday night — eight earned runs in just one-third of an inning — accounts for nearly one-third of the team’s earned runs on the week (27).
Now with that said, the team’s ERA from starters outside of Shoemaker last week was still 5.40. That would be 22nd in MLB across that span — so really not that much better.
Shoemaker simply can’t be long for the Twins. Kenta Maeda is working toward a comeback. Bailey Ober looked pretty good in Kansas City on Sunday. It looks like Randy Dobnak is in the rotation for the long haul.
The Twins can’t dump Shoemaker at this exact second — but it’s coming, and soon.
Relief Pitching (with rankings)
IP: 28.0 (7th)
Innings Per Game: 4.00 (t-12th)
Pitches Per Game: 57.6 (23rd)
ERA: 3.21 (12th)
FIP: 4.18 (22nd)
xFIP: 4.65 (26th)
SIERA: 4.25 (25th)
K/9: 8.36 (22nd)
K%: 23.6 percent (20th)
BB/9: 4.18 (20th)
BB%: 11.8 percent (23rd)
K-BB%: 11.8 percent (25th)
WHIP: 1.00 (6th)
Groundball Rate: 42.0 percent (21st)
Opponent Batting Average: .156 (4th)
Opponent On-Base Percentage: .264 (6th)
Opponent Slugging Percentage: .292 (5th)
Opponent OPS: .556 (5th)
Inherited Runners: 5 (t-5th)
Inherited Runners Scored: 1 (t-4th)
Inherited Runners Scored Percentage: 20.0 percent (t-8th)
Breakdown: This is the week of Hansel Robles.
No, it’s not so much about how he pitched — but that the team pitched kind of like he does. No real contact or power, but far too many walks.
Robles didn’t have a bad week, really. He was one of five Twins relievers who didn’t allow an earned run over that stretch — him, Taylor Rogers, Tyler Duffey, Jorge Alcala and, uh, Willians Astudillo.
Luke Farrell (one earned run on a home run in 4.0 innings) continues to find himself in higher-leverage spots, and so far the results have been pretty good. He’s fanned 12 of the 39 batters he’s faced so far (10.8 K/9, 30.8 percent K%), and his slider is getting a healthy 18.5 percent swinging-strike rate and a .581 OPS against while being thrown nearly half (49.4 percent) of the time.
The Twins might have a find on their hands here.
All research is done via Sportradar’s r360, Baseball-Reference or Fangraphs unless otherwise noted.
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