Twins Week(s) in Review: 5/9-5/22
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: 7-5, .583 (t-6th) — 2-4 at home, 5-1 on the road
Current Fangraphs Record Projection: 86-76, .531 (1st place, +1 win)
Current Fangraphs Division Chances: 45.0 percent (+2.8 percent)
Current Fangraphs Playoff Chances: 64.2 percent (+3.7 percent)
Baseball Prospectus PECOTA Record Projection: 88-74 (2nd place, -1 place in division)
Baseball Prospectus Division Chances: 57.1 percent (-17.6 percent)
Baseball Prospectus Playoff Chances: 67.4 percent (+0.2 percent)
FiveThirtyEight Record Projection: 89-73 (1st place, +1 win)
FiveThirtyEight Division Chances: 50.0 percent (+6.0 percent)
FiveThirtyEight Playoff Chances: 70.0 percent (+5.0 percent)
Baseball-Reference Record Projection: 87-75 (1st place, +3 wins)
Baseball-Reference Division Chances: 49.7 percent (+23.2 percent)
Baseball-Reference Playoff Chances: 65.3 percent (+23.0 percent)
Breakdown: The variance on the figures from Baseball-Reference is interesting, but more or less puts them in line with everyone else. I said it on a recent Locked on Twins POSTCAST, but I really do believe this team is special. How special is it to be roughly 70 percent to make the playoffs a week from June?
I guess we’re about to find out.
Hitting (with MLB rankings)
Batting Average: .257 (8th)
On-Base Percentage: .341 (5th)
Slugging Percentage: .403 (15th)
OPS: .745 (10th)
Strikeout Percentage: 19.1 percent (4th)
Walk Percentage: 11.0 percent (4th)
wOBA: .331 (10th)
wRC+: 121 (8th)
Runs Per Game: 5.08 (9th)
Batting Average (w/ RISP): .295 (t-5th)
Avg Exit Velo: 89.1 mph (7th)
Breakdown: I want to focus on one thing here — slugging percentage. There are a lot of ways to win a game. Good pitching is usually at the forefront of those reasons. You can also bash a team over the head with home runs, as the 2019 Twins did.
But what the Twins are doing here feels like a very sustainable way to win games. They literally pollute the bases with runners, and collect whatever happens thereafter.
Sure, it’s fun when Max Kepler pops a first-inning grand slam to give you a 4-0 lead, but the Twins showed late that they can do more than just that to win a game when they’ve gone stale over the next seven-plus innings.
That’s why I think this is a special team. They can hit home runs. They can go the other way. They have even bunted at times, which I don’t usually like but have come to appreciate based on circumstance where it was used.
Starting Pitching (with MLB rankings)
IP: 54.2 (29th)
IP/GS: 4.56 (29th)
Pitches/Start: 77.9 (25th)
ERA: 3.46 (11th)
FIP: 3.89 (18th)
xFIP: 4.74 (28th)
SIERA: 4.81 (29th)
Groundball Rate: 38.6 percent (25th)
HR/9: 0.66 (4th)
K/9: 6.91 (24th)
K%: 17.9 percent (25th)
BB/9: 4.12 (30th)
BB%: 10.7 percent (30th)
K-BB%: 7.2 percent (28th)
WHIP: 1.35 (24th)
Opponent Batting Average: .236 (11th)
Opponent On-Base Percentage: .316 (20th)
Opponent Slugging Percentage: .367 (9th)
Opponent OPS: .683 (13th)
Avg Exit Velo: 87.7 mph (11th)
Breakdown: So…there’s a lot to unpack here. Some of the damage is mitigated by shorter-than-usual starts, meaning less time for Twins starters to take the punishment one might expect due to these rates. That, in and of itself, isn’t necessarily good since it puts a lot of undue pressure on a bullpen that doesn’t have that many proven entities.
On the plus side, the Twins still allowed a very good batting average and slugging percentage against — which one might expect with such a low groundball rate.
Could that be problematic? Well, yes and no. With the Manfred Mushball this season, those fly balls aren’t leaving the year nearly as much. The Twins also have a pretty good outfield defense, so that helps.
But if the composition of the baseball were to somehow change — as it seems wont to do — then a stretch like this becomes much more problematic.
Still, the Twins didn’t allow a ton of hard contact, as their 15.5 percent popup rate would indicate (No. 1 in MLB by nearly a full percentage point).
The imperfections of this starting staff are going to need to be navigated all season long, but to this point, it seems as though the Twins and manager Rocco Baldelli have done a fairly good job at it.
Relief Pitching (with MLB rankings)
IP: 53.1 (6th)
Innings Per Game: 4.44 (5th)
Pitches Per Game: 75.9 (2nd)
ERA: 4.72 (21st)
FIP: 4.38 (21st)
xFIP: 4.10 (20th)
SIERA: 3.67 (18th)
Groundball Rate: 40.6 percent (23rd)
HR/9: 1.35 (21st)
K/9: 7.93 (24th)
K%: 19.9 percent (27th)
BB/9: 2.70 (9th)
BB%: 6.8 percent (7th)
K-BB%: 13.1 percent (16th)
WHIP: 1.37 (19th)
Opponent Batting Average: .268 (25th)
Opponent On-Base Percentage: .322 (18th)
Opponent Slugging Percentage: .460 (27th)
Opponent OPS: .782 (3rd)
Inherited Runners: 25 (t-26th)
Inherited Runners Scored: 6 (t-14th)
Inherited Runners Scored Percentage: 24.0 percent (t-11th)
Breakdown: Another yeesh here, as it’s surprising with this combination of rotation and bullpen that the Twins managed to go over .500 over this stretch. Again, if for any reason the composition of the ball were to change or if offense becomes more weather-aided, these Twins could be in for some trouble with this pitching staff.
All research is done via Sportradar’s r360, Baseball-Reference or Fangraphs unless otherwise noted.
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