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Target Field - music between pitches

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:13 AM
It’s not just the Pirates’ announcers who think it’s awful. It’s awful. They need to stop it. I’m mostly ok with the MLB The Show crow...
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Fun With Numbers - 2020 Season

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 07:14 AM
I’m glad to see Ex-Twins in 2020 thread is back up and running. This is also one of my favorite threads over the last 5 years. The Twins...
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Royce Lewis on YouTube

Twins Minor League Talk Yesterday, 10:54 PM
Twins top prospect Royce Lewis started his own YouTube page since the quarantine started. He's posted several entries. Some are short. So...
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Marlins: 14 positive Covid cases, home opener cancelled...

Other Baseball Yesterday, 10:44 PM
Before the season started, I was wondering about what would happen if the virus started spreading like wildfire in a clubhouse. Well here...
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2020 Twins Transactions

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 10:54 PM
There haven't been many yet, but I'll start this today...   The Twins just announced that Zack Littell (hamstring) has been placed o...
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Do the Twins Really Have Baseball’s 2nd-Best Lineup?

Twins fans have a right to be excited about the 2020 season after the club is coming off a tremendous 2019 campaign. Additions of players like Josh Donaldson and Kenta Maeda make the team even more intriguing and we’ve waited months to finally see this line-up take the field. With Opening Day scheduled to be right around the corner, how good can this Twins team be?
Image courtesy of © David Dermer-USA TODAY Sports
MLB.com annually ranks the top line-ups, starting staffs and bullpens. While Minnesota didn’t crack the top-10 in the starting pitcher rankings, the club did rank as the second-best line-up in all of baseball. To some, this might have been a surprise and others might have expected it. So, let’s dive in and see if the Twins have MLB’s second-best line-up.

Weighted Runs Created
MLB.com main statistical focus for their article was on weighted runs created (wRC). If you aren’t familiar with this statistic, wRC helps to quantify hits and times on base while also considering park effects and the current run scoring environment. League average is 100 so if a team/player is above 100, they are better than the league average.

For fans looking at the Twins and wRC, it can be a bit overwhelming, because FanGraph’s Steamer projections paint the team in a very good light. Before Buxton’s injury, the Twins had ten players projected to play in 35 games or more and post a wRC above league average. Minnesota’s top five in projected wRC are Josh Donaldson (137), Nelson Cruz (135), Miguel Sano (122), Max Kepler (118), and Eddie Rosario (111).

Weighted On-Base Average
Another statistic fans might be unfamiliar with is weighted on-base average (wOBA). According to FanGraphs, wOBA “combines all the different aspects of hitting into one metric, weighting each of them in proportion to their actual run value.” Batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage have flaws and wOBA helps to alleviate some of those discrepancies. A typical hitter will finish the season with a .320 wOBA.

Guess what? The Twins are projected to very well when it comes to wOBA as well. Every player scheduled to be a regular has a wOBA north of .320. Even Willians Astudillo in a short 10-game stint falls into this category. Minnesota’s top-five in projected wOBA include Donaldson (.379), Cruz (.375), Sano (.356), Kepler (.350), and Rosario (.340).

Offensive Runs Above Average (OFF)
There is no perfect measure of offensive performance and Offensive Runs Above Average (OFF) attempts to combine a player’s batting runs and base running runs compared to the league average. This results in a combination of the weighted stolen base runs, weighted double play runs, and ultimate base running. League average ends up being set to zero and 9-10 runs results in one win of value according to FanGraphs.

Josh Donaldson and Nelson Cruz rank well above the rest of the Twins line-up when it comes to OFF. Donaldson’s 10.6 OFF ranks as the best on the team and he’s two points higher than Nelson Cruz (8.6 OFF). Max Kelper (5.8 OFF), Miguel Sano (4.6), and Eddie Rosario (3.7) have the other top five OFF totals for the Twins. Sano is likely starting the year out of the line-up as he has failed to pass the league mandated COVID-19 protocols since summer camp opened.

Do you think the Twins have baseball’s second-best line-up? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

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9 Comments

We will no soon - I do not predict - just anticipate

 

    • MN_ExPat and rdehring like this

All you have to then think about where the pitching is rated. Great pitching shuts down good lineups.

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ToddlerHarmon
Jul 15 2020 11:44 PM

Buxton and Sano look back on track as of today, so...

 

No, we have baseball's no 1 lineup.

 

I will say that it's interesting that the projections have Rosario as 5th best hitter, but many expect he will deservedly hit in the 8th spot. Due to the difficulty in projecting Arraez and Garver. But also, do the projections not like Polanco?

    • IndianaTwin, bighat, rdehring and 3 others like this
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Channing1964
Jul 15 2020 11:58 PM
it's not far fetched, with the addition of Donaldson and assuming they stay healthy, to argue they are the #1 lineup in the MLB. I thought it was interesting to learn the other day that mlb.com ranks the Twins bullpen as the #5 overall in the league! What's not to like about that!
    • DocBauer, rdehring, SkyBlueWaters and 1 other like this

The quality of the pitching staffs of KC, Detroit and Chicago in a smaller sample size will make the biggest difference in The Who is number 2 debate.

It's a really really good collection of hitters. I'm not sure how to structure it, but I really wonder about the effect of a lineup with no real holes in it. Because that's one the areas where the Twins are really excelling right now: there's no breaks in there. There are no easy outs and there are a ton of players who can do real damage if you make a mistake (Donaldson, Cruz, Kepler, Garver, Sano, and Rosario are all guys who could hit 30 dingers in a regular season. I mean, wow.).

 

The worst hitter in the lineup is...Buxton? Last year he was nicely above league average with a 114 OPS+. Rosario? You can get him chasing, but he's also a guy who can hit anything and drilled 32 hrs last year.

 

There aren't all that many teams who don't have at least one guy as a regular who hits below league average. Yankees did last year, so did the Houston Bucket Thumpers. When you have zero holes in the lineup, and you have a guy who can challenge for a batting title, multiple guys who could run for the hr title...yeah, this is one of the best lineups in baseball. 

    • birdwatcher, DocBauer, ToddlerHarmon and 3 others like this

What makes the lineup interesting is how balanced they are.From top to bottom each can hit for some level of power, save a couple.We do not know how the ball will be different this year, but the hard hit rates are still high for many players.Runners should be on base a lot and hitters should get pitches to hit.  

 

Previous articles suggest that even with a less juiced ball the Twins hitters should still fare well overall because of hard hit rates.  

    • birdwatcher, MN_ExPat, rdehring and 1 other like this
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Doctor Gast
Jul 16 2020 09:13 AM

I was surprisingly pleased to see them in 2nd place because they are so under rated by the pundits. But IMO they are #1

    • rdehring and Joey P like this
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SkyBlueWaters
Jul 16 2020 11:42 AM

 

What makes the lineup interesting is how balanced they are.From top to bottom each can hit for some level of power, save a couple.  

 

Agreed. That article ranked the Dodgers the best lineup in MLB. They added Betts this off season. With players like Bellinger, Pederson, Muncy, Seager & Turner there's a lot of talent, and Smith is emerging as a catcher with some pop.

 

They didn't see great numbers yet from 2B Lux in LA, but he sure tore it up in AAA last year (.392/.478/.719 in 232 PA).We'll see if Taylor continues developing in the outfield. Pollock is projected as the DH, which ain't too scary.

 

The Twins will need to play at the top of their game to put up better numbers than that blend of veteran and developing talent.

 

If we make it deep into the playoffs, it would be sweet to beat them in the world series with two pitchers who played in LA last year, Hill & Maeda.

    • DocBauer and MN_ExPat like this

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