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  • Twins Behind in Golden Age of Leadoff Hitter

    On Tuesday, over at ESPN's Sweetspot, an article was penned about the golden age of leadoff hitters. Major League Baseball could be in the middle of one of the best years ever for the leadoff hitter. 1965, 1975, 1987, and 2004 were other great years for men at the top of the order but this year could be historic.

    Players like Shin-Soo Choo, Austin Jackson, Alex Gordon, Ian Kinsler, and Carl Crawford are leading a pack of leadoff hitters that are among the best in all of baseball. These men could help make this season one of the best for the men at the top.

    Meanwhile, the Minnesota Twins have struggled to get much production from the leadoff spot. Batters in the first position for the Twins are hitting .197/.243/.244 with only three extra base hits. This .487 OPS is the lowest for any batting spot in the Twins line-up and it's also well below the league average.

    Overall, MLB hitters have an OPS of around .722 while leadoff hitters are even higher than that with a .759 OPS. Minnesota is almost .300 points behind the average for leadoff hitters.

    The team is also having trouble in the steals department. Aaron Hicks is the team leader with three. Brian Dozier and Pedro Florimon follow him with two apiece. Minnesota has gotten three steals out of their leadoff spot. Only one team has less.

    Hicks had most of the starts in the leadoff spot at the beginning of the year. His early season struggles brought down the team's totals from the leadoff spot. Dozier became the next man to take over the role and he has put together a solid performance at the top of the order. Jamey Carroll has made a few appearances at the top and even Escobar has gotten a chance.

    2013 Twins Leadoff Hitters
    Hicks (10 Games): .047/.109/.047, 3 R, 0 SB
    Dozier (13 Games): .304/.333/.411, 7 R, 2 SB
    Carroll (3 Games): .286/.333/.286, 5 R, 0 SB
    Escobar (1 Game): .000/.000/.000, 0 R, 0 SB

    For the Twins to continue to be successful on the field, there needs to be more production from the top of the order. Hicks has been envisioned as the leadoff hitter of the future but his struggles in this role were evident. Dozier has put together some positive numbers but it is hard to know if he will be able to sustain this level of output.

    Since Hicks has moved down in the order, there have been some improvements to his approach at the plate. If he can continue those improvements (and not miss the cut-off man on the field), he could find himself back at the top of the order by the end of the season.

    The Twins hope Hicks can take back the leadoff spot because this will be a better team with a natural leadoff hitter at the top.

    MLB might be in the Golden Age of Leadoff Hitters; the Twins have some work to do to catch up to the rest of the pack.
    This article was originally published in blog: Twins Behind in Golden Age of Leadoff Hitter started by Cody Christie
    Comments 15 Comments
    1. jareddejong42's Avatar
      jareddejong42 -
      I don't think this should be suprising considering the Twins traded two prototypical lead of hitters in the offseason. Moves like that are going to put a team behind the curve at a particular position. All this is not to debate the success of the trades as only time will tell.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by jareddejong42 View Post
      I don't think this should be suprising considering the Twins traded two prototypical lead of hitters in the offseason.
      Two? Span and who else?
    1. gunnarthor's Avatar
      gunnarthor -
      Ignoring Puck, it really isn't surprising. I think we all knew the top of the order could be an issue. But Hicks is still an exciting long term answer. He just needs time.
    1. Westgaard66's Avatar
      Westgaard66 -
      yeah, definitely agree that trading span/revere and hicks struggles put them behind the curve

      hell who knows maybe Buxton is the answer there longterm and Hicks is just stop gap unitl he is ready.

      I could handle a blazing fast bomb launching leadoff hitter
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by gunnarthor View Post
      Ignoring Puck, it really isn't surprising. I think we all knew the top of the order could be an issue. But Hicks is still an exciting long term answer. He just needs time.
      why ignoring Puck? Rever is not a protypical leadoff guy. He doesn't get on base enough for that. Speed doesn't equal leadoff hitter.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by Westgaard66 View Post
      yeah, definitely agree that trading span/revere and hicks struggles put them behind the curve

      hell who knows maybe Buxton is the answer there longterm and Hicks is just stop gap unitl he is ready.

      I could handle a blazing fast bomb launching leadoff hitter
      I hope Buxton ends up being more of a middle of the order guy.
    1. troyhobbs's Avatar
      troyhobbs -
      Unless or until they sputter Dozier and Carroll are serviceable leadoff guys. In my mind Hicks has a long way to go before he merits a move up in the order.
    1. jay's Avatar
      jay -
      I guess I don't find the Twins production vs MLB at leadoff particularly relevant at this point.

      We could do this same exercise for any other spot in the lineup that Hicks had been primarily consuming. All we're really doing here is pointing out that Aaron Hicks has struggled badly.
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
      I hope Buxton ends up being more of a middle of the order guy.
      Could say the same of Hicks.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by ashburyjohn View Post
      Could say the same of Hicks.
      could not agree more.
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
      could not agree more.
      Could start a sentence with noun or pronoun. But am lazy.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by ashburyjohn View Post
      Could start a sentence with noun or pronoun. But am lazy.
      haha
    1. Pius Jefferson's Avatar
      Pius Jefferson -
      Golden Age of lead-off hitters? A tad overzealous for less than 1/5 of the season.

      I like the idea of Aaron Hicks being a lead off hitter with some pop.
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      Quote Originally Posted by Pius Jefferson View Post
      I like the idea of Aaron Hicks being a lead off hitter with some pop.
      Rickey Henderson sometimes led off a game with some pop; not a bad way to start. A middle-of-the-order guy (see above) with additional l33t skillz can slot multiple places in the batting order.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Small Sample Size
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