Published on April 24th, 2014 | by Thompson0
Moneyball Working for Patient Twins
If you told me at the beginning of spring training that the Minnesota Twins would be above .500 and have a chance to move into first place in the AL Central after 21 games, I would have laughed in your face. I’m still laughing.
The Twins are second in all of baseball when it comes to Billy Beane’s bread and butter — getting on base. In 21 games, they’ve taken 103 free passes, seven more than Beane’s club and the most in baseball. That patience has paid off, resulting in 107 runs and 96 runs batted in, ranking them fourth in both categories in MLB. All of this while they rank 15th in batting average and 18th in slugging percentage.
The most surprising thing is the Twins’ offense could be even better. The team leaves 7.95 runners on base per game, the most in baseball besides the A’s. Joe Mauer hasn’t been himself, and although Chris Colabello has been out of his mind, Trevor Plouffe has discovered he doesn’t have to pull everything and Jason Kubel has remembered how to hit. Even when Collabello cools down, the lineup will continue to be formidable. Pinto proved his limited 2013 season was no fluke, and Brian Dozier has continued where he left off last season. Kurt Suzuki has also been surprisingly clutch to say the least.
With the lineup clicking, I fully expect Oswaldo Arcia to be sent to AAA Rochester when he’s reactivated from the disabled list. He needs to work on his consistency, and although I love his bat in the lineup, I’d rather have Sam Fuld in the outfield. Speaking of Fuld, I also expect Hicks to start getting some splinters in his ass, despite his dinger Thursday in Tampa. He’s still detrimentally patient at the plate, and it shows in his batting average (.182) and strikeouts (20). Who knows, Byron Buxton could leapfrog him this season if he’s ever healthy. He’s expected to start playing this week.
The Twins are not a first-place team, and we’ll find that out over the weekend as they take on the Tigers. The pitching is still ranked near the bottom of the league, and against aces, the Twins’ patience doesn’t pay off, as we saw Tuesday when David Price was dominant. Don’t be surprised to see Trevor May and Alex Meyer making starts for Minnesota sometime this season. Both are pitching well for Rochester, logging around 10 strikeouts per nine innings and sporting ERAs around three.
If the Twins improve their hitting with runners on, and May and Meyer prove to be the pieces the Twins’ brass thinks they are, then a run at the Wild Card isn’t out of the question.