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  • Are the Twins a .500 club?

    It's getting close to the end of the first fourth of the season and the Twins are still flirting with the .500 mark. There is a lot of baseball left to play but it has been an encouraging first portion of the season for Twins fans. Some surprise pitching performances, a good offense and a stingy bullpen have the club in range of the top of the division.

    So how did this Twins team get here and is this pace sustainable for the remainder of the season?

    The starting staff has been one of the weaknesses of this club and there have clearly been some holes in the rotation. Vance Worley, the team's opening day starter, has an ERA north of 7.00 and WHIP is almost 2.00. Mike Pelfrey's numbers are nearly as bad as Worley's and these two men were supposed to play key roles on this team.

    Kevin Correia has been a big surprise and he leads the starters in almost every major category. Scott Diamond has put together some solid efforts since he returned from injury. His addition to the staff should provide a nice boost to the club. Pedro Hernandez has filled in as the fifth starter but there are other arms hot on his heels.

    Even with some good performances mixed in, it is hard not to imagine the Twins rotation getting better as the season goes on. Kyle Gibson and Cole DeVries are scheduled to join the rotation at some point in the coming weeks. It will also be tough for the players like Worley and Pelfrey to be as bad as they have been so far this year.

    This leads one to think that the starting pitching could be able to help the Twins stay around the .500 mark.

    On the offensive side of the ball, thing have been off to a good start. Joe Mauer is near the top of the leader board in multiple offensive categories. Justin Morneau has helped pace the middle of the line-up and Josh Willingham is finding ways to get on base though his average is low. Even young players like Aaron Hicks and Oswaldo Arcia are starting to figure out MLB pitching.

    The team currently ranks 8th in the American League in runs scored and this has helped the club to a positive run differential. Minnesota's 69 doubles ranks sixth among AL teams and this is the second highest total in the AL Central. With some slow offensive performances in the early weeks, the Twins team batting average of .251 might not be as bad an omen as it seems. So far, the club is below league average in batting average, slugging, and OPS.

    With Hicks and Arcia already in the MLB line-up, there isn't a ton of offensive help in the high levels of the minors. The club might have their best offensive core in and playing on a regular basis. If the players not named Mauer and Morneau can raise their numbers, this could be a very good offensive team.

    Minnesota's recent offensive performance makes it hard not to think that the team can stay close to the .500 mark.

    Over the weekend, Terry Ryan was asked about the Twins still being around the .500 mark especially with a lot of underachievers. His response was that .500 is not good enough. He wants this team to contend.

    The .500 mark seems pretty good after the last two awful seasons. It's hard to know if the club will be able to sustain this pace for the rest of the year but there are signs that it could be possible. Underachieving players might start to figure it out and then the Twins could be a dangerous club in the AL Central.
    This article was originally published in blog: Are the Twins a .500 club? started by Cody Christie
    Comments 25 Comments
    1. Brodin4Calder's Avatar
      Brodin4Calder -
      The Twins are currently in the top 10 Runs per game in the league. This is what we have been missing out while Morneau was strugling with injuries and trying to get back to himself again. Hes finaly looking like himself, hes on pace for 130RBI and has a .296AVG. Yea his power numbers are still down but that doesnt matter if hes hitting for average and driving in runs like he is. 2 MVPs in the same lineup playing their best baseball is always gonna be a good lineup. Imagine if Willingham was also producing, and Plouffe and the others struggling?
    1. gunnarthor's Avatar
      gunnarthor -
      Before the season started, I said that I thought the Twins would be surprisingly competitive and hanging around .500 until the trade deadline when Ryan ships off Willingham and Morneau. I still think that happens.
    1. Brandon's Avatar
      Brandon -
      Florimon hasnt been the offensive flop we thought he would be and has contributed. so have the bench bats Wilkinson and Escobar. The biggest hole in the lineup thus far hit 2 homeruns last night and has 16 runs and 16 RBIs in around 105 at bats so even with a .150 average he is producing. Dozier and Parmelee have been below average and Arcia is off to a nice start. I hope he wins rookie of the year.
    1. jay's Avatar
      jay -
      Assuming continued health, the starting pitching looks like the key question. Shocker, I know. The staff needs to get about a run better in ERA just to be in the middle of the AL. If that were to magically happen, we'd definitely be above .500.
    1. Danchat's Avatar
      Danchat -
      I say we drop. The rotation is still really bad, and although Diamond and Correia look to be decent, Pelfrey, Worley, and Hernandez have been awful. I also see the batting dropping off, with so many guys batting under .230. Eventually our bad stats and injuries will catch up with us. (and sorry for being so pessimistic. I'm trying to be realistic.)
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      I still think not, but my certainty in this belief has dropped considerably.
    1. Winston Smith's Avatar
      Winston Smith -
      According to Fan Graph take it for what you wish, compared to the American League teams
      Twins are 12 in hitting, 15 in fielding, 10 in starting pitching and 1 in relief pitching. My eye ball test has been that the bullpen has kept them in a lot of games. Unless the other 3 aspects pick up the pace the bullpen will quickly run out of gas as we've seen before.
      One thing they have going for them is there appears to be a lot of mediocre teams in the AL this year.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      People thought I was overly optimistic when I said they would win 73 games this year... I think I'm going to stick with that number, but it's been an impressive season (in my mind) so far!
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brodin4Calder View Post
      ....and Plouffe and the others struggling?
      Plouffe is virtually Top Ten among all 3B in OPS for May @ .827 and 15 points above 3B OPS average on the season .737 vs .722. And he's bound to have at least some version of last summer's home run binge again this summer; he's taking many more better ABs than he was taking just a year ago at this point in May, when he was barely batting over .100. (His current OBP is higher than last year's full season number). As a long-term placeholder, the Twins could do a lot worse.
    1. Don't Feed the Greed Guy's Avatar
      Don't Feed the Greed Guy -
      Reposted from the blog page:
      The key, as Cody proposed, is the starting pitching--and the possibility that Gibson, Deduno, Devries or another arm could bolster the rotation. I would love to see Hernandez convert to a lefty option out of the bullpen. Worley needs some time in AAA, it appears.

      As for the offense, I could see an uptick in production. Just to use the 8th spot in AL runs scored as an example, I could see the Twins move up two or three spots here, especially when Hicks, Willingham, and Doumit and Plouffe are tied for 3-5 in runs scored. They haven't exactly been filling the bases. We could easily see more production here.
    1. snepp's Avatar
      snepp -
      I thought low-70's was a pretty common win estimate among the TD masses?
    1. Oxtung's Avatar
      Oxtung -
      I think their ultimate W/L record will be heavily influenced by what they do at the trade deadline. If they keep the team intact they could finish with 75ish wins. If they trade Morneau, Willingham and Perkins they will probably fade significantly.
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      I wish I would have bet more on the 64 game over/under
    1. Carneal&Gordon's Avatar
      Carneal&Gordon -
      Worley should be fine, his fortune will turn soon.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Judging by their record, I'd say the Twins are a .500 team.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      I like most thought this was a 70-80 win team, and thus far, they are slightly exceeding expectations. I'm quite happy for that, especially given that their lineup will likely continue to improve. I expect improvement in some manner from Parm, Plouffe, Hicks, Morneau, and Willingham, and I still think that Parm and Plouffe can crack an .800 OPS. The pitching has been as expected. Worley has been disappointing to say the least. I wouldn't be surprised based on the way things played out that the Twins remained fringe contenders, though it would be my hope that all this would do is drive up the price for those looking to acquire Willingham or Morneau.
    1. beckmt's Avatar
      beckmt -
      Depends on whether the Twins even around .500 drop out of the race as some of the teams start to run away and get to 10-15 over in the next month or so and the Twins now are 7-8 games from the last wild card spot. The bottom teams are really bad and the west figures with 18 games each against the Astros to have teams get well over .500. My guess is unless Parmalee starts to hit, Twins will try and extend Morneau and start the end of Parmalee. Too many players are starting to pass him and AB's will be hard to get unless he starts hitting and when you are not hitting it is hard to find more than 2 starts a week for you. Viscous circle.
    1. glunn's Avatar
      glunn -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      I wish I would have bet more on the 64 game over/under
      The line was 68 when I bet the over, and like you I now wish that I had bet more.
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      Quote Originally Posted by Winston Smith View Post
      According to Fan Graph take it for what you wish, compared to the American League teams
      Twins are 12 in hitting, 15 in fielding, 10 in starting pitching and 1 in relief pitching. My eye ball test has been that the bullpen has kept them in a lot of games. Unless the other 3 aspects pick up the pace the bullpen will quickly run out of gas as we've seen before.
      One thing they have going for them is there appears to be a lot of mediocre teams in the AL this year.
      The Twins are the worst fielding team in the AL? Considering they are #6 for Fielding % in the entire MLB, that's surprising and questionable.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by YourHouseIsMyHouse View Post
      The Twins are the worst fielding team in the AL? Considering they are #6 for Fielding % in the entire MLB, that's surprising and questionable.
      Only if you think errors and fielding % is a good way to judge defense...
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