Twins Villains: 3 Free Agents Who Love Terrorizing Minnesota
Image courtesy of © Dale Zanine-USA TODAY SportsThe Joker: Didi Gregorius
Typing that name made me feel anxious. Recency bias from the deafening grand slam in game two of the 2019 ALDS may have forced my hand. The reality, however, is that Gregorius has destroyed the Twins for much longer than last summer.
In 32 regular season games against Minnesota, the one the Bronx calls “Sir Didi” has hit .345/.387/.655 in 125 plate appearances. Gregorius has at least 100 plate appearances against 12 other clubs, but his OPS is below .840 against nine of them. Target Field is his primary mashing spot, as he has a .418/.451/.761 line in 19 games in Minneapolis.
To make matters much worse, Gregorius has carried this excellence into October. Gregorius has a 1.346 OPS against the Twins in four postseason games, including two huge, game-changing home runs. Must we watch the most recent example?
The Green Goblin: Josh Donaldson
There have been rumors swirling surrounding the Twins and Donaldson, and the speculation picked up when C.J. Cron was non-tendered on Monday, presumably opening an opportunity for Miguel Sanó to move across the diamond. Some Twins fans have pointed out Donaldson’s history at Target Field, and rightly so.
In places where he has played at least 20 games, Donaldson has favored Minnesota the most. He owns an insane .373/.464/.819 line with 10 home runs in 97 plate appearances at Target Field. In his other 21 games against the Twins, Donaldson hit .417 with a 1.397 OPS.
Although Target Field ranks 24th in home run factor, right-handed hitters have the advantage of a shorter wall in left field. Nelson Cruz has 100 at-bats or more at 15 MLB stadiums, and his 8.4% career home run rate at Target Field is the highest of any other ballpark. Donaldson has homered in 12% of his at-bats at Target Field:
Thanos: Edwin Encarnación
Encarnación is another righty with power that absolutely adores Target Field. In 45 games at the park, he has hit .302/.415/.633 with 17 homers and 46 RBI. Twins fans have long loathed the perched arm “parrot” rounding the bases after slugging a bomb over the left field wall.
In 409 plate appearances, Encarnación has 27 home runs and a .287/.386/.568 line against Minnesota. The latest pounding came in the ALDS where he went 4-for-13 with two doubles. Encarnación went just 1-for-18 in the ALCS against Houston with 11 strikeouts.
The Twins have an opening at first base, and although he is entering his age-37 season, Encarnación was a passable first baseman in 489 innings last year. He had -1 DRS and a -0.9 UZR, according to FanGraphs. Here is a recap of Encarnación helping the Indians beat the Twins in 2017:
Should the Twins sign any of their villains to become allies? Comment below!
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