Know Your Foe: Are the basement dwelling Twins any good?

Otto Greule Jr

Yes. No. Maybe. Shades of gray

The Minnesota Twins used to be the model franchise for a small market club that competes year in and year out. From 2001 through 2010, the Twins only had one losing season (which was still 79 wins). For a club that regularly finishes in the bottom third of payroll, that's pretty incredible. But while those ten years of success must have been nice, it must now seem like a distant memory for Twins fans.

From 2011 through 2013, the Twins have won 63, 66, and 66 games each year. That's pretty terrible; even worse than the Rockies! They haven't turned it around in 2014 either, with a 41-49 record. Whatever mojo the Twins possessed in the 00's has left them high and dry in the '10s. As they roll into Colorado for a three game set, let's see what has gone right and what has gone wrong for the last place Twins.

Gone Right

Brian "the Bull" Dozier. The Twins' second baseman is having a breakout year with the long ball, already smacking 16 dingers in a pitcher friendly ball park. With a strong walk rate and good defense at second base, Dozier is already at 2.8 WAR and an All Star selection. In fact, he's going to be representing the American League in the Home Run Derby, where he hopefully crashes and burns against Troy Tulowitzki's squad.

It's kind of funny to see a guy with a .754 OPS and see that that line is above average (113 wRC+). What's it like to root for a team in a pitching friendly environment? It must be a totally different sport. Nolan Arenado has a .753 OPS and his wRC+ is 92.

Rookie Danny Santana is turning some heads too, with his .328/.366/.448 line. He splits time at short stop and center field, and while his numbers are still small sample size at 143 PAs, and likely to regress (he hasn't done anything like this in the minors), he's still providing good production.

On the pitching side, Phil Hughes decided he's never going to walk anyone ever, leading to a solid 3.70 ERA and an elite 2.68 FIP. The rest of their starting rotation is nothing to write home about; Deduno Sam Deduno has started eight games for them? Kyle Gibson has been pretty good, but Ricky Nolasco and Kevin Correia are the very definition of "meh" and their numbers are helped by their home park.

Gone Wrong

Joe Mauer is no longer good. The former MVP and frequent batting champ is having a miserable season with an OPS below .700. They don't even let him catch anymore, and those numbers from a first baseman are just plain lousy. Just last season he accrued 5.2 WAR with an OBP above .400, so it's probably premature to call the 31 year old toast; still, the Twins are probably not looking forward to paying Mauer $20 million through 2018.

Kendrys Morales was a late signing (and he cost the Twins a draft pick), and he has been nothing short of awful. The first baseman/DH has a horrific .252 OBP and -0.7 WAR. Jason Kubel in his second tour with the Twins is thoroughly washed up, with -1 WAR and a bat that doesn't hit anymore.

So these are the Twins. They're bad, though apparently not as bad as the Rockies. They don't hit well and they pitch only decently. The Rockies are coming off a series victory against another mediocre team, so maybe they can steal another few wins. Either way, we are approaching the All Star break and the return of some good players, so you should watch the Rockies anyway.

Hitting stats

Name G PA HR R RBI SB BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ BsR Off Def WAR
Brian Dozier 88 403 16 65 40 15 12.70% 19.10% 0.182 0.253 0.235 0.338 0.416 0.336 113 4.8 10.8 1.4 2.8
Sam Fuld 39 141 1 12 11 9 9.20% 17.00% 0.095 0.324 0.27 0.336 0.365 0.314 98 0.6 0.3 6.4 1.2
Trevor Plouffe 73 316 6 36 42 0 9.50% 21.50% 0.161 0.292 0.239 0.316 0.4 0.316 100 -1.7 -1.8 2.6 1.2
Kurt Suzuki 75 294 2 24 34 0 7.10% 8.20% 0.091 0.322 0.303 0.358 0.394 0.335 112 -5 -1 2.5 1.2
Eduardo Escobar 74 256 2 27 18 1 5.90% 21.10% 0.122 0.328 0.261 0.303 0.382 0.301 89 0.1 -2.9 4.3 1
Danny Santana 37 143 2 19 16 6 4.90% 18.90% 0.119 0.4 0.328 0.366 0.448 0.36 129 0 4.7 -0.7 0.9
Josh Willingham 45 184 8 22 25 0 16.80% 26.10% 0.208 0.25 0.215 0.364 0.424 0.348 122 0.8 5.3 -5.2 0.7
Eduardo Nunez 32 101 3 13 14 3 3.00% 15.80% 0.135 0.338 0.302 0.33 0.438 0.338 115 -1.2 0.5 1.1 0.5
Joe Mauer 76 339 2 38 28 3 10.00% 18.90% 0.083 0.335 0.271 0.342 0.353 0.308 94 2.6 0.2 -7.5 0.4
Jorge Luis Polanco 4 7 0 2 3 0 28.60% 14.30% 0.6 0.5 0.4 0.571 1 0.612 303 0.3 1.9 0.5 0.3
Oswaldo Arcia 43 176 5 16 18 1 8.50% 30.70% 0.161 0.292 0.213 0.307 0.374 0.307 93 -0.4 -1.7 -1.6 0.3
Josmil Pinto 43 158 7 19 16 0 12.70% 22.80% 0.185 0.245 0.222 0.323 0.407 0.325 106 -1.4 -0.3 -2.6 0.2
Chris Parmelee 41 135 4 11 12 0 3.70% 24.40% 0.133 0.315 0.258 0.289 0.391 0.3 88 -1.1 -2.9 -0.1 0.1
Pedro Florimon 33 86 0 7 1 6 9.30% 25.60% 0.039 0.13 0.092 0.179 0.132 0.153 -12 1.4 -9.5 6.6 0
Aaron Hicks 48 156 1 16 9 2 17.30% 26.90% 0.063 0.286 0.198 0.338 0.262 0.286 79 0.9 -2.8 -3.5 -0.1
Darin Mastroianni 7 12 0 3 0 1 8.30% 41.70% 0 0 0 0.083 0 0.058 -78 0.2 -2.2 0.5 -0.1
Jason Bartlett 3 4 0 3 0 0 0.00% 75.00% 0 0 0 0.25 0 0.181 6 0 -0.4 -2.1 -0.3
Eric Fryer 8 19 0 2 1 0 0.00% 31.60% 0 0.231 0.158 0.158 0.158 0.141 -21 0.1 -2.4 -0.7 -0.3
Chris Colabello 46 181 6 16 36 0 6.10% 30.90% 0.183 0.336 0.249 0.298 0.432 0.319 102 -1.3 -1 -9.9 -0.5
Kendrys Morales 29 119 1 9 14 0 3.40% 16.00% 0.088 0.263 0.23 0.252 0.319 0.247 52 -0.2 -6.6 -3.1 -0.6
Chris Herrmann 17 44 0 2 0 0 6.80% 22.70% 0 0.161 0.122 0.182 0.122 0.148 -16 -0.2 -5.9 -1.7 -0.7
Jason Kubel 45 176 1 12 13 1 10.80% 33.50% 0.071 0.354 0.224 0.313 0.295 0.278 73 0.5 -4.8 -9.9 -1

Pitching Stats

Name W L SV G GS IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP LOB% GB% HR/FB ERA FIP xFIP WAR
Phil Hughes 9 5 0 18 18 116.2 7.87 0.85 0.69 0.331 71.00% 36.90% 6.30% 3.7 2.68 3.23 3.5
Kyle Gibson 8 7 0 18 18 101 4.72 2.58 0.53 0.275 69.40% 54.60% 6.20% 3.92 3.73 4.18 1.6
Glen Perkins 3 0 21 37 0 37.1 11.57 1.69 0.48 0.32 62.80% 40.40% 5.00% 3.13 1.88 2.56 1.4
Kevin Correia 4 11 0 18 18 103.1 4.27 2.18 0.96 0.305 67.60% 42.70% 7.50% 4.79 4.36 4.79 0.7
Casey Fien 4 4 1 41 0 37.1 6.99 1.45 0.96 0.231 81.00% 34.30% 7.80% 2.41 3.43 3.79 0.6
Yohan Pino 0 2 0 4 4 21.2 6.23 2.08 0.42 0.304 58.60% 32.90% 3.60% 4.98 3.02 4.07 0.6
Ricky Nolasco 5 7 0 18 18 103.2 6.25 2.43 1.39 0.362 68.70% 40.80% 12.20% 5.9 4.54 4.15 0.6
Anthony Swarzak 1 0 0 27 0 43.2 4.95 3.3 0.21 0.293 64.90% 41.90% 1.70% 4.12 3.41 4.84 0.3
Caleb Thielbar 2 0 0 34 0 30.1 6.23 2.37 0.59 0.253 71.90% 25.90% 4.80% 2.97 3.38 4.29 0.3
Samuel Deduno 2 5 0 18 8 67 6.72 4.03 0.67 0.302 70.50% 56.00% 8.90% 4.57 4.16 4.26 0.3
Matt Guerrier 0 1 0 23 0 25 3.6 2.52 0 0.256 76.70% 41.20% 0.00% 2.52 3.27 5.06 0.2
Logan Darnell 0 0 0 1 0 3 3 0 0 0 100.00% 37.50% 0.00% 0 2.45 4.15 0
Kris Johnson 0 0 0 1 1 4.1 10.38 12.46 0 0.364 100.00% 60.00% 0.00% 0 4.96 5.25 0
Brian Duensing 2 2 0 34 0 34.1 5.24 3.41 0.79 0.267 85.80% 51.90% 8.60% 2.62 4.31 4.48 0
Jared Burton 1 2 1 38 0 36 6.5 3.75 1.25 0.264 64.30% 33.90% 9.10% 5 4.72 4.87 -0.1
Michael Tonkin 0 0 0 15 0 12.1 6.57 4.38 1.46 0.31 57.30% 43.90% 18.20% 5.84 5.46 4.5 -0.2
Mike Pelfrey 0 3 0 5 5 23.2 3.8 6.85 1.9 0.286 61.90% 43.70% 15.20% 7.99 7.55 6.59 -0.6

Pitching Matchups

Friday: TBA vs. Jorge De La Rosa

Saturday: Kevin Correia vs. Tyler Matzek

Sunday: Phil Hughes vs. TBA but likely Brett Anderson (Hoorayyyyyyy)

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