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James Richter

Think the Twins suck? You shoulda seen ‘em in 2006!

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Through 25 games:

Year W L GB RS RA Diff BA OBP SLG ERA WHIP HR/9
2006 9 16 9.0 99 156 -57 .251 .309 .366 6.35 1.64 1.56
2012 7 18 7.5 90 139 -49 .246 .312 .362 5.61 1.41 1.59

Nearly identical offensive performances - the 9 extra runs the 2006 team had were due to some combination of more HR and fewer GIDP. The pitching was even worse back then. As tough as last week’s series in Anaheim was to swallow, how about the sweep the ’06 team suffered in Detroit at the about the same time of year: they were outscored 33-1! Though they had 2 more wins than the current squad, they were buried 1.5 games deeper in the standings thanks to a hot start by the defending champion White Sox.

Changes would come to that roster, but not right away. Even while Tony Batista and Juan Castro continued to occupy the left side of the IF and Rondell White took his swings every day, things improved markedly. Over their next 25 games, they went 14-11, hitting .288/.347/.429 with a 4.12 ERA and 1.39 WHIP, outscoring their opponents 137-114. Despite that, they dropped to 11.5 GB as Detroit surged to the top of the standings.

Two things I’d like people to think about when they see this comparison:

1) The 2012 Twins are no worse than the team that broke camp in 2006, and that team managed to recover to a .460 Win% given a large enough sample of games. This team can do that, too. 25 games is only 15% of the season.

2) Though the sort of upgrades that eventually carried the 2006 team on a historic 71-33 run to finish the season don’t appear to be within reach now, they don’t need to be. 2006 was the toughest AL Central ever, with three teams winning 90 or more games. I’d be surprised if even one team reaches that level this year. The top run differential in the division right now is +2. 6 games under .500 is within 5 games of first place, and that’s close enough to be in the division race and buying at the trade deadline.

I don’t think the current is roster is necessarily a contender, but they’re better than they’ve shown, and this is a terrible division. Could we give it another 4 weeks before we start thinking about how to blow this team up?
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Comments

  1. PeanutsFromHeaven's Avatar
    Awesome comparison. Hope springs...well...maybe not eternal, but much more than it did before reading this post!
  2. El Guapo's Avatar
    There is one thing you're not factoring into your comparison: The 2006 Twins were near the bottom of the major leagues in payroll and the 2012 Twins are in the upper 1/3 range. You should never under any circumstances (barring about 7 or 8 major injuries) be the worst team in baseball with a $100 million payroll. That means that either A, Terry Ryan did a horrible job in the offseason assembling this team (and don't give me the "he came in late excuse" because he had all offseason), or B. The coaching staff are not doing their jobs. I'm more of a believer that this season, and it'll be ugly after 162 games, should be blamed about 80% on Terry Ryan, 10% on the coaching staff, and 5% each on the ownership and the roster. People can blame the pohlads for not shelling out $150 million but the foolish ways our front office spend money we'd probably still be in last. You can only put so much blame on the coaching staff because they can't go out and play and have to make do with the lack of talent dealt to them by the GM. However, Gardy is responsible for putting players on this roster in the best spots for them to succeed and using the Liriano example of continuing to march this train wreck out to start every 5th game is baffling. Either send him to the pen, trade him(laughable), send him down, or just outright release him and give his spot to duensing, diamond, manship, swarzak, or ANYONE else who at least knows how to pitch because Liriano doesn't. Which brings me to the actual roster. You can't put a lot of blame on the players unless they're not trying and I don't believe that to be the case. I don't belong in the major leagues but if the Twins want to pay me to help fill this roster I wouldn't argue with them just as many players who shouldn't be here can't be blamed for being here. Again, the front office has to do a much better job evaluating strengths and weaknesses, talent, and what it takes to build a winning organization. Terry Ryan was best at picking up scrap heap players and trading for prospects when we had a $20 million payroll. Now he has $100 million and even though $38 of that is tied up into 2 players that continue to be a monumental waste of money, he still has 3 times the money to play with that he used to but has no clue how to use it wisely. Someone has to be held accountable for this season just as Bill Smith was the fallguy for last year. Minnesota sports have pushed their fans to the point that we just hope for mediocrity now because they've all been so horrible we have to lower expectations to that point while letting owners and GM's off the hook for their stupidity and inabiltiy to do there jobs.
  3. righty8383's Avatar
    So everytime the Twins get off to a crappy start we can just go back to '06 for hope? Forgive me if I'm not so optimistic. Do you see Justin Morneau turning it up and having an MVP year? I don't. Do we have an ace that can win a CY Young? Not even close. It goes on. The Twins got off to a bad start in '06 but they had the pieces to get back in the race making it one of the most exciting seasons of baseball I've ever watched. This team does not have those pieces so stop kidding yourself.
    I don’t think the current is roster is necessarily a contender, but they’re better than they’ve shown
    This may be true about the offense, but the pitching is just as bad as what we've seen. Worst starting staff in all of baseball with little hope on the farm
  4. Mchans24's Avatar
    Your forgetting one person. His name is Johan Santana, he is no longer with the twins. There isn't a pitcher on the roster who is half that good.
  5. gatormn's Avatar
    So True there Righty83
    I think the Twins will go though the worst season in the history of the Twins this year.
    Off hand I'm not sure what the worst record was but I do believe they have the lack of ammo to go for 110 losses
    Last year you would of thought they won the pennant on the last game by winning to avoid 100 losses but this year they are going to do it.
  6. glunn's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by gatormn
    So True there Righty83
    I think the Twins will go though the worst season in the history of the Twins this year.
    Off hand I'm not sure what the worst record was but I do believe they have the lack of ammo to go for 110 losses
    Last year you would of thought they won the pennant on the last game by winning to avoid 100 losses but this year they are going to do it.
    Look at the bright side -- with 110 losses the Twins should get the #1 draft pick.
  7. James Richter's Avatar
    Let's look at this another way: later on in 2006, the Twins enjoyed a 42 game stretch (about 25% of the season) in which they went 34-8. Had that stretch begun with the 1st game of the year instead of the 59th, would you have expected them to keep it up for 162 games, finishing with 130 wins, making them the best team in the history of baseball? I don't think that would have been reasonable.

    The Orioles are on pace to win 110 games - think that's going to happen? On this date last year, Cleveland was on pace to win 110 games - how'd that turn out?

    The point is, over a six-month season, teams usually win about the number of games they're supposed to win. This team is not supposed to lose 100 games. They will if they don't play better, but they are talented enough to play better. Demand that they play better, and give them a few more weeks to show that they can. There will be plenty of time to blow things up in July if they don't.
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