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.
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.
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.
|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|
Friday: TBA vs. Jorge De La Rosa
Saturday: Kevin Correia vs. Tyler Matzek
Sunday: Phil Hughes vs. TBA but likely Brett Anderson (Hoorayyyyyyy)