Twins Week(s) in Review: 6/20-7/3
Where do the Minnesota Twins rank in myriad statistics over the last two weeks?
Welcome to The Minnesota Twins Week(s) 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). 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: 7-7, .500 (t-13th) — 5-4 at home, 2-3 on the road
Current Fangraphs Record Projection: 85-77, .549 (1st place, no change in wins)
Current Fangraphs Division Chances: 39.7 percent (+2.6 percent)
Current Fangraphs Playoff Chances: 54.6 percent (-3.0 percent)
Baseball Prospectus PECOTA Record Projection: 85-77 (1st place, -1 win)
Baseball Prospectus Division Chances: 43.4 percent (-1.7 percent)
Baseball Prospectus Playoff Chances: 60.4 percent (-8.0 percent)
FiveThirtyEight Record Projection: 86-76 (1st place, -1 win)
FiveThirtyEight Division Chances: 41.0 percent (+4.0 percent)
FiveThirtyEight Playoff Chances: 61.0 percent (no change)
Baseball-Reference Record Projection: 86-76 (1st place, -1 win and +1 place in division)
Baseball-Reference Division Chances: 47.2 percent (+15.9 percent)
Baseball-Reference Playoff Chances: 65.2 percent (+8.6 percent)
Breakdown: This doesn’t really fly in the face of anything we know to be true. A team that is ahead is likely to stay ahead if they can maintain a steady pace, which the Twins have done by basically playing .500 ball over an extended period. Beyond that, the only real way to dig into a deficit like that is to play insanely good baseball for a long stretch — as Cleveland did.
By the looks of it, though, the oddsmakers and prognosticators still feel like the White Sox — against whom the Twins open a series on July 4 — are the primary challenger. I tend to agree.
Hitting (with MLB rankings)
Batting Average: .250 (14th)
On-Base Percentage: .304 (19th)
Slugging Percentage: .441 (8th)
OPS: .745 (12th)
Strikeout Percentage: 21.5 percent (12th)
Walk Percentage: 6.9 percent (22nd)
wOBA: .322 (13th)
wRC+: 111 (11th)
Runs Per Game: 4.57 (10th)
Batting Average (w/ RISP): .262 (t-7th)
Avg Exit Velo: 90.1 mph (3rd)
Breakdown: I guess this is neither bad nor particularly good, and will have to improve for the team to prop up what is still a patchwork pitching staff — especially in the bullpen.
I am, however, intrigued by the exit velocity. If they can continue to hit the ball as hard as they have, that should help move this offense into top 10 territory, which I think could be good enough to keep them afloat.
Starting Pitching (with MLB rankings)
IP: 78.0 (5th)
IP/GS: 5.57 (12th)
Pitches/Start: 87.5 (17th)
ERA: 2.42 (3rd)
FIP: 3.85 (7th)
xFIP: 4.84 (28th)
SIERA: 4.74 (28th)
Groundball Rate: 30.1 percent (30th)
HR/9: 0.81 (2nd)
K/9: 6.12 (29th)
K%: 10.8 percent (23rd)
BB/9: 2.19 (2nd)
BB%: 6.1 percent (2nd)
K-BB%: 9.3 percent (9th)
WHIP: 1.05 (3rd)
Opponent Batting Average: .220 (4th)
Opponent On-Base Percentage: .278 (3rd)
Opponent Slugging Percentage: .373 (4th)
Opponent OPS: .651 (4th)
Avg Exit Velo: 89.0 mph (18th)
Breakdown: I think a lot of this is tied up in the team’s groundball rate — or lack thereof. Since fly balls tend to leave the yard, they can inflate a team’s FIP/xFIP etc., even if the team had the second-lowest home run rate across all MLB.
There’s a lot of positive here; in fact, much more than I expected to see. The increase in innings per start is a good thing, and the excellent walk rate was also a pleasant surprise.
Now the question is: can they sustain it? The peripheral numbers say no. But they’re starting to get healthy again in the rotation, and so maybe things will turn a bit to make those peripherals look better, as well.
Relief Pitching (with MLB rankings)
IP: 49.1 (6th)
Innings Per Game: 3.52 (13th)
Pitches Per Game: 60.4 (11th)
ERA: 3.47 (14th)
FIP: 3.93 (18th)
xFIP: 3.94 (18th)
SIERA: 3.61 (15th)
Groundball Rate: 49.6 percent (4th)
HR/9: 0.91 (12th)
K/9: 9.12 (14th)
K%: 24.9 percent (14th)
BB/9: 3.83 (19th)
BB%: 10.4 percent (23rd)
K-BB%: 14.4 percent (13th)
WHIP: 1.09 (8th)
Opponent Batting Average: .190 (7th)
Opponent On-Base Percentage: .290 (11th)
Opponent Slugging Percentage: .305 (7th)
Opponent OPS: .595 (7th)
Inherited Runners: 13 (t-9th)
Inherited Runners Scored: 5 (t-18th)
Inherited Runners Scored Percentage: 38.5 percent (t-20th)
Breakdown: This is also better than I would have expected. Also, I suspect outside of Emilio Pagan, these numbers would actually look fairly good.
But one can’t simply subtract Pagan. Rather, one almost has to count his stats double as they came in the worst possible spots — extremely high leverage spots.
The decision to not move him to a lower rung on the bullpen ladder is certainly one worthy of head-scratching. But what’s done is done; can the Twins’ bullpen improve over the rest of the month? Are reinforcements on the way?
The Twins still have more questions than answers in the bullpen, even if things were a bit better than they seemed over the last two weeks.
All research is done via Sportradar’s r360, Baseball-Reference or Fangraphs unless otherwise noted.
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