Twins Week(s) in Review: 5/23-6/5
Where do the Minnesota Twins rank in myriad statistics over the last two weeks?
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 (or in this case, two weeks since we got tied up last week). We will (usually) post on Mondays, and look back from the previous Monday to Sunday since that’s how MLB lines up its schedule.
If you have any ideas for stats to be added, please feel free to let me know in the comments, on Facebook or on Twitter!
And now, let’s talk to it:
Record: 7-8, .467 (t-17th) — 4-3 at home, 3-5 on the road
Current Fangraphs Record Projection: 84-78, .521 (1st place, -2 wins)
Current Fangraphs Division Chances: 43.6 percent (-1.4 percent)
Current Fangraphs Playoff Chances: 58.9 percent (-5.3 percent)
Baseball Prospectus PECOTA Record Projection: 86-76 (1st place, +1 place in division, - 2 wins)
Baseball Prospectus Division Chances: 53.5 percent (-3.6 percent)
Baseball Prospectus Playoff Chances: 69.6 percent (+2.2 percent)
FiveThirtyEight Record Projection: 87-75 (1st place, -2 wins)
FiveThirtyEight Division Chances: 46.0 percent (-4.0 percent)
FiveThirtyEight Playoff Chances: 63.0 percent (-7.0 percent)
Baseball-Reference Record Projection: 86-76 (1st place, -1 win)
Baseball-Reference Division Chances: 49.5 percent (-0.2 percent)
Baseball-Reference Playoff Chances: 63.3 percent (-2.0 percent)
Breakdown: So a couple of things here. We’re far enough into the season where these things are starting to seem pretty stable — and everyone says the Twins are more likely than not to make the playoffs, even if they don’t necessarily concede the division to them (nor should they).
But going 7-8 and not losing that much ground says a lot more about how poorly the White Sox have played over this stretch (4-7, .364) with the rest of the division more or less treading water. Only the Guardians fared better than the Twins over this stretch, and they went 7-7 to pick up merely a half-game on the local boys.
In short, it would be great if the Twins could pick things up — but they were fortunate that this tough stretch against the Tigers and Royals didn’t prove more costly than it did. Taking two of three from Toronto is a good start.
Also: if the Twins finish this nine-game stretch against the AL East with a sub-.500 record (so 4-5 or worse) I will be wearing a White Sox hat during our POSTCAST so keep an eye out for that.
Hitting (with MLB rankings)
Batting Average: .257 (10th)
On-Base Percentage: .316 (14th)
Slugging Percentage: .416 (13th)
OPS: .732 (14th)
Strikeout Percentage: 23.8 percent (25th)
Walk Percentage: 7.3 percent (24th)
wOBA: .323 (13th)
wRC+: 114 (11th)
Runs Per Game: 4.40 (19th)
Batting Average (w/ RISP): .218 (25th)
Avg Exit Velo: 89.5 mph (5th)
Breakdown: This feels like, generally speaking, a pretty average offensive week. Part of it skews lower — strikeouts and walks — and normally that’d be giving more cause for concern if the Twins hadn’t absolutely pasted the ball during this stretch.
If I had to choose which peripherals I’d want to be positive, I’m taking hard-hit balls over strikeout/walk percentage seven days a week, I think.
The offense will likely come under scrutiny and probably unfairly moving forward, as it’ll have to find a way to keep pace with a pitching staff that is still searching for continuity and, as a result, an identity.
Luckily, the team should be getting back some key contributors in fairly short order. Carlos Correa’s return from the COVID-IL should be sometime this week and the Twins will also be able to reinstate Max Kepler to the active roster. It’s also possible Alex Kirilloff makes another appearance, and guys like Jose Miranda and Gary Sanchez have swung the sticks better of late as well.
This will likely be a team carried by offense — so hopefully as they get healthier they get more consistent as well.
Don’t sleep on that 114 wRC+, either — that’s legit as hell.
Starting Pitching (with MLB rankings)
IP: 73.2 (10th)
IP/GS: 4.91 (26th)
Pitches/Start: 77.0 (29th)
ERA: 4.28 (14th)
FIP: 3.84 (11th)
xFIP: 4.14 (18th)
SIERA: 4.07 (16th)
Groundball Rate: 39.1 percent (25th)
HR/9: 1.10 (10th)
K/9: 7.09 (24th)
K%: 18.7 percent (21st)
BB/9: 1.71 (5th)
BB%: 4.5 percent (5th)
K-BB%: 14.2 percent (14th)
WHIP: 1.22 (12th)
Opponent Batting Average: .260 (19th)
Opponent On-Base Percentage: .301 (11th)
Opponent Slugging Percentage: .432 (16th)
Opponent OPS: .733 (17th)
Avg Exit Velo: 88.6 mph (16th)
Breakdown: I don’t want to come off as though I’m going easy on them, but this is actually far better than I expected.
Devin Smeltzer coming up and taking the bull by the horns at the back of the rotation has helped, but I also think that the combination of average-ish rates along with not as many innings pitched is, oddly enough, by design.
Sure, a lot of fans grumble and bitch when Rocco Baldelli takes a starter out early — hell, even I raised an eyebrow when he took Smeltzer out after four in Toronto on Sunday — but if this is how they’re massaging a rotation missing Sonny Gray and Joe Ryan, I’ll be honest…I sort of get it now.
Also, though the hitters and starters this feels like a lot of “average in/average out” as the offense and starters have been wholly…average the last two weeks with the team reflecting that at 7-8.
Relief Pitching (with MLB rankings)
IP: 57.1 (4th)
Innings Per Game: 3.82 (12th)
Pitches Per Game: 64.1 (13th)
ERA: 4.55 (20th)
FIP: 4.87 (27th)
xFIP: 4.07 (17th)
SIERA: 3.85 (17th)
Groundball Rate: 47.9 percent (8th)
HR/9: 1.35 (21st)
K/9: 8.95 (14th)
K%: 22.6 percent (14th)
BB/9: 4.40 (25th)
BB%: 11.1 percent (25th)
K-BB%: 11.5 percent (18th)
WHIP: 1.43 (21st)
Opponent Batting Average: .247 (14th)
Opponent On-Base Percentage: .341 (21st)
Opponent Slugging Percentage: .420 (19th)
Opponent OPS: .761 (21st)
Inherited Runners: 19 (12th)
Inherited Runners Scored: 3 (t-4th)
Inherited Runners Scored Percentage: 15.8 percent (3rd)
Breakdown: Again, a lot to unpack here. There are some positives — such as stranding inherited runners — but again this is mostly an average to below-average group. And again, it’s hard to know where consistent performance is going to come from outside of a select few guys.
On the positive side, some pitchers have looked ready to take on a more vital role. Jharel Cotton has been solid, as Trevor Megill, Cody Stashak and Jovani Moran all look primed to take on larger roles as well. Still, that means others have faltered in high-profile spots — namely Emilio Pagan and Tyler Duffey, whose flameout in Toronto on Sunday was nearly a story for the ages.
Keep expecting the Twins to churn through these guys and see who might stick. I have a sneaking suspicion there’s enough talent in the organization, but it’ll take a while yet to sort it all out.
All research is done via Sportradar’s r360, Baseball-Reference or Fangraphs unless otherwise noted.
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