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Twins drop Rochester as AAA affiliate, Pensacola also may...

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 12:43 PM
This is a piece by LEN III lifted from the StarTribune web site. https://m.startribun...ment/573034791/
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Blake Snell a trade target or not

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 11:36 AM
I would personally be happy to offer up Kirilloff and a few other prospects for him!!! What do you guys think he would cost and would you...
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Rosario Placed on Outright Waiver

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 11:31 AM
https://www.mlbtrade...ht-waivers.html So long, at least temporarily, old friend.
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Arbitration Updates

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 10:48 AM
With some news coming in on the Twins' arbitration-eligible players, I think it'd make sense to start a discussion on the incoming moves....
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Is Dec.2 the last day that Rosario is a Twin?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 05:14 AM
Is Dec.2 the last day that Rosario is a Twin? On "Gleaman & the Geek" , Gleaman stated that Ken Rosenthal wrote an article about each...
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How Have Twins Handled Their Best Mound Opponents?

Let's look into how the Twins have done against aces this season, to see if we can learn more about how they'll perform in the playoffs -- when they'll mostly face the best. I counted eight aces that the Twins have faced, and compared the results for those pitchers vs. the Twins against how they did vs. everybody else.

The upshot: Bring on the postseason.
Image courtesy of Peter Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
Rocco Baldelli told reporters that the Twins will start Kenta Maeda, José Berríos, and, if required, Michael Pineda in a 3-game Wild Card series. There goes that drama. Now we turn our attention to the other dugout.

In this piece I wanted to look at the sum total of how the Twins performed against aces this year. That way, we can have an idea heading into a series whether the opposition gives Game 1 to someone named Cole or Ryu or Bieber.

How have the Twins fared against aces in 2020?

Let’s round them up and look at the lines. It's a crude analysis just to give us an idea. The point of the piece isn't to quibble over the word "ace" or to factor in elite relievers. Those bits would help further improve the accuracy of our conclusion. If I’m missing any aces that started a game against Minnesota in 2020, please let me know in the comments and we can add him.

Using a combination of this season’s stats and previous beliefs about a pitcher (our prior) the list of starters that I think would qualify looks like this: Shane Bieber, Mike Clevinger, Zach Plesac, Lucas Giolito, Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, Yu Darvish and Kyle Hendricks. They missed Jack Flaherty, and we’ll see how the Reds series shakes out to wrap up the season.

I’ll show some work and then let’s make a conclusion.
Shane Bieber (3 starts) … Twins are 1-2 in his starts

21 innings, 12 hits, 5 earned runs, 5 walks, 31 strikeouts [2.14 ERA, 6.3% walk rate, 38.8% strikeout rate]

Bieber has given up 2 home runs to the Twins and 7 all year. He was dazzling in his start July 30 against the Twins, with 8 shutout innings, 13 punchouts and no walks. Anyway, that’s about how you’d expect a future Cy Young winner to pitch across 21 innings, and he’ll be a tough matchup for anyone that faces the Indians in October (or late-September).

Lucas Giolito (3 starts) … Twins are 1-2
14 2/3 innings, 13 hits, 12 earned runs, 7 walks and 15 strikeouts [7.37 ERA, 10.6% walk rate, 22.7% strikeout rate]
The Twins have tagged Giolito for 5 home runs of his 8 home runs this season. That’s 63% of his long balls in 20% of his innings. Who says Pareto’s efficiency doesn’t apply to Major League aces?

Mike Clevinger (2 starts) … Twins are 1-1

10 innings, 14 hits, 6 earned runs, 6 walks, 11 strikeouts [5.40 ERA, 13.3% walk rate, 24.4% strikeout rate]

He was returned from the Alternate Site after serving his team-issued timeout because the Indians needed an arm to face the Twins and they had an all-star just sitting around. It also proved to be his final start for Cleveland before they traded him to the Padres in exchange for an extended window of team control and some clubhouse chemistry.

Zach Plesac … Twins are 1-0

7 innings, 6 hits, 5 earned runs, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts

Twins slugged 3 home runs against Plesac in his lone outing. Marwin Gonzalez and Willians Astudillo went back-to-back, and later Byron Buxton got him for a 2-run drive. The two starts before that he was strong against the Royals and in the one start since he was lights-out against the Tigers, so good job, Twins.

Corbin Burnes … Twins are 1-0

5 innings, 2 hits, 1 earned run, 3 walks and 5 strikeouts
The Twins won’t have to worry about the National League until … they have to worry about the National League. Even so, they won 3 of 4 games against N.L. aces, including Burnes in mid-August. This was Jorge Polanco’s infield hit walk-off that scored a streaking Byron Buxton from third base in the 12th inning. So, you know, we tend to forget Burnes’ involvement almost entirely. But that night they also had to face Josh Hader, Devin Williams, Brent Suter and David Phelps, which looks like an October-ish bullpen to me.

Brandon Woodruff ... Twins are 1-0

5+ innings, 9 hits, 2 earned runs, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts

Ildemaro Vargas tripled and scored. Woodruff left with 2 runners on in the 6th inning and reliever Freddy Peralta let one in, charged to Woodruff, on a deep sac fly off the bat of, who else, Ildemaro Vargas.

Yu Darvish … Twins are 1-0
6 innings, 9 hits, 4 earned runs, 1 walk, 9 strikeouts

This one’s pretty recent so you probably remember it. Darvish is a legit Cy Young contender this year in the National League. No team had more hits against Darvish than the Twins, and Minnesota also scored more runs off him than any other club.

Kyle Hendricks … Twins are 0-1

8 innings, 3 hits, 0 earned runs, 1 walk, 10 strikeouts

Yeah, Hendricks was awesome.

The Twins as a team have hit .242/.316/.431 (.321 wOBA) this year. They're 7-6 in games started by the dudes on this list and they’ve scored roughly 4.5 runs per game in 2020, good for 17th in baseball. That’s down from 5.73 runs per game last year (2nd in baseball). There are a few 7-inning bouts to account for but the math is pretty clear that, yes, they haven’t hit like the all-around potent performers that they were a year ago.

I totaled up all the performances and combined them. Assuming that my excel muscles haven’t atrophied to zero, here’s the math. This selected group of 8 aces combined for a 2.57 ERA in 500 innings, with a 30.8% strikeout rate and a 6.2% walk rate. Sounds ace-like to me.

Here’s how the Twins impacted them. Against Minnesota, these top starters had a 4.11 ERA, and against the rest of the world, it was a 2.30 ERA. The A.L. average for starters this year is 4.49, so basically what this is saying is that the Twins took these good starters and dragged them closer to the median. The Twins also drew more walks (7.9% vs. 5.9%), struck out less often (28.1% vs. 31.3%) and homered at a better clip against these aces (1.17 HR/9 vs. 0.89) than the rest of the league managed as a group.

They aren't massive differences across the board but I thought it was interesting. If you’re fretting about how the Twins lineup will fare against the other team’s ace(s) in October, there’s only one conclusion from these findings.

Bring on the postseason.

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4 Comments

"I totaled up all the performances and combined them. Assuming that my excel muscles haven’t atrophied to zero, here’s the math. This selected group of 8 aces combined for a 2.57 ERA in 500 innings, with a 30.8% strikeout rate and a 6.2% walk rate. Sounds ace-like to me.

Here’s how the Twins impacted them. Against Minnesota, these top starters had a 4.11 ERA, and against the rest of the world, it was a 2.30 ERA. The A.L. average for starters this year is 4.49, so basically what this is saying is that the Twins took these good starters and dragged them closer to the median. The Twins also drew more walks (7.9% vs. 5.9%), struck out less often (28.1% vs. 31.3%) and homered at a better clip against these aces (1.17 HR/9 vs. 0.89) than the rest of the league managed as a group."

 

That's really interesting, creative analysis, Derek. Thanks.

 

    • JoshDungan1 and MN_ExPat like this

Interesting take Sir.TYVM for the write up.

I’ve wondered this exact question. Seems like they have produced what we should hope they produce, on average. Also seems they’ve struggled more against control (maybe Command+?) (Hendricks and Bieber) than anything else. Twins feast on mistakes is my takeaway. That’s a winning formula in the regular season but will be tested in the post season.

I look forward to them knocking out Cole in the 3rd inning of ALCS game 1.

Very interesting, thanks!