Which 3 Twins Have Started the Strongest?
Image courtesy of © Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports3.) Alex Avila
Big Al is conforming to his role quickly. Jason Castro had a respectable 101 OPS+ and 13 homers in 79 games for the Twins last year. Avila looks to be another formidable backup for Garver. He is 3-for-9 with a homer and a massively important, 2-out RBI single in Wednesday’s win over St.Louis.
Avila is a quiet key to the Twins in 2020. He joins Jake Cave, Ehire Adrianza and Marwin González on the best bench in baseball. Baldelli has the luxury of plugging those guys in and barely missing a beat. Avila, with his great on-base skills and occasional pop, is going to be a plus. He’s off and running.
2.) Nelson Cruz
Last Sunday, Cruz became the first player in franchise history to tally 12 total bases and seven RBIs in one game. He went 7-for-13 with two doubles and three homers in the opening series. King Nelly now has 39 extra-base hits in 85 career games against the White Sox. Manager Rick Renteria called him an “animal” at the plate in 2019. Cruz has further tormented Chicago so far in 2020.
Boomstick has one hit (a double) and one walk in 15 plate appearances since that record-breaking weekend. Cruz is chasing more pitches than he did in 2019 as he continues to regain his mojo at the plate. Still, his expected slugging % is .630 and in the top 9% of the league. He is a menace.
1. “The deadly T’s” (Tyler Clippard, Taylor Rogers, Tyler Duffey, Trevor May)
The Twins’ bullpen has been mostly tremendous thus far. “The deadly T’s” have amassed a 1.64 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 11 innings. Trevor May is averaging an electric 95.8 mph on 23 four-seamers. His lone “mistake” came on the Tommy Edman solo home run that deflected off Byron Buxton’s glove on Wednesday night. Tyler Duffey and Taylor Rogers look un-hittable and Tyler Clippard is stunning lefties, including Matt Carpenter, with his excellent changeup.
In a complete reversal from this time last year, we can feel entirely confident when the Twins are trying to hold leads. Sergio Romo is still death on righties, Cody Stashak has a 29:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio in the majors, and Randy Dobnak is excellent in any role.
Homer Bailey - 5 IP, 2 ER, 4 K in Tuesday’s win over St.Louis
Rich Hill - 5 IP, 0 ER, 2 K in Wednesday’s win over St.Louis
Kenta Maeda - 5 IP, 2 ER, 6 K in Sunday’s win over Chicago
Jake Cave - Grand slam in Sunday’s win over Chicago
Luis Arráez - 7-for-21 (.333) with a .391 on-base percentage
Max Kepler - three home runs
- DocBauer, ToddlerHarmon, MN_ExPat and 1 other like this