The Twins rotation currently ranks 29th in the majors in ERA and 28th in innings pitched. But Ryan is right – they aren’t the only sore spot that will need to be addressed this offseason.
The decision to promote and play Tsuyoshi Nishioka at second base highlights one such area. The Twins rank 29th in the majors in OPS(On Base Plus Slugging) from that position. Even if their best option, Jamey Carroll, had played there the entire season, his OPS would only rank 25th. Similarly, the shortstop position ranks 27th overall.
The Twins are likely to use the rest of the year to further evaluate this offseason’s priorities. They might start be looking at where each position ranks offensively versus the rest of the league:
2B – Let’s start with the worst and get more optimistic. Most of the damage has been done by Alexi Casilla whose overall OPS is 580, which is one hundred points below his OPS last year and 50 points below his career OPS. He’ll likely get better, if he hasn’t already played himself out of the picture. (Again.)
SS – Either you believe Brian Dozier will get better or you don’t. I think he will. He certainly needs to.
RF – Even if Ben Revere had all the at-bats here, his 738 OPS would only rank 22nd. However, according to Ultimate Zone Rating, he has also saved another 10 runs with his glove. Using WAR, which tries to include defensive value, he ranks 12th overall.
1B – Parmelee (667 OPS) and Mauer (752 OPS) are responsible for about 40% of the at-bats here.
CF – The Twins have only given 15 at-bats to players other than Revere and Denard Span in center field. Those players have gone 0 for 15, which drags down the number about 20 points.
3B – Imagine where the Twins would rank if Danny Valencia and his 522 OPS hadn’t eaten up about 1/3 of the at-bats this season.
DH – The at-bats have been split four ways, but Ryan Doumit gets most of the credit. His OPS is 939 as a designated hitter, just 766 as a catcher.
C – Not that the Twins two-headed catching monster isn’t working well. They only rank behind St. Louis (Yadier Molina), Milwaukee ( Jonathan LuCroy), San Francisco (Buster Posey) and Philadelphia (CHOOOOCH!)
LF – Speaking of monsters, ladies and gentlemen, Josh Willingham, version 2012.
Certainly, the Twins pitching has been an issue. But Ryan is correct to not overlook the uneven production from the lineup, too.