Not a lot of teams are able to rattle off wins against pitchers like Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Chris Sale, and David Price. It’s even less common for a sub-.500 team to do it. Welcome to the 2018 Minnesota Twins experience. It has been a frustrating season to say the least, and now they are teasing us with wins against big-name pitchers on some of the best teams in baseball. Despite the frustration, this shows there is hope. The Twins really are a quality club that can hang with the best. Consistency is what this team lacks, and finding that will be the route to a potential turnaround. Here are some numbers that both should and need to improve
10-8- Any guesses? Yeah, that is the Twins record against the Royals, Tigers, and White Sox so far in 2018. There is simply no explanation for this. The Twins are way better than those three teams and we all know it. The good news is that 29 of their remaining 91 games are against those three teams. That’s a big part of why the Twins have one of baseball’s softest schedules the rest of the season. In fact, if you use opponents winning percentage, the Twins have the second easiest schedule the rest of the way. The bad news is that Cleveland ranks first.
.286 and 37.4– .286 is the Twins BABIP, and 37.4 is their hard contact rate. The BABIP ranks 21st and the hard contact rate is tied for 8th. Hard hit balls are more likely to turn into hits. This means there should be some correction coming.
5- This is the number of runs the Twins defense has saved so far this season. That ranks 16th in the league. In 2017, the Twins saved 20 runs ranking 10th. The fact that they sit at five now is actually a good thing considering all the injuries. Byron Buxton was responsible for 24 defensive runs saved last season, while Jason Castro saved 10. It also important to consider that Eduardo Escobar cost the Twins eight runs at shortstop this season. Jorge Polanco will be back soon, and he is a significant upgrade over Escobar. The Twins have been an average defensive team so far, but have the chance to become elite if they can get healthy.
Exercises like this are fun, but they don’t produce any guarantees. These things should improve, but they certainly could stay the same or get worse. However, there is one guarantee. If these things don’t improve, the Twins are destined for a disappointing season. They absolutely need to dominate against the central the rest of the way, and the BABIP luck needs to improve. Only time will tell, but these are numbers to keep track of going forward.
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