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The Twins Tale Of The Tape

Posted by Ted Schwerzler , 25 September 2017 · 1,068 views

With just a few games left in the 2017 Major League Baseball season, the Minnesota Twins fate is all but decided. Paul Molitor's group is going to represent the AL Central in the Wild Card game, and it appears they'll take on the Evil Empire of the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Knowing this organization is coming off 103 losses a year ago, it's somewhat astounding to look at how we arrived here.

Not needing too much of a deep dive into the analytical side of things, this Twins club has plenty of eye-popping numbers at its disposal. Whether looking at snapshots of the season that has been, or taking a top down view from the entire 162, it's hard not to be impressed. Here's a handful of numbers that will threaten the safety of your jaw:
  • 82 wins (and counting)- Coming off 103 losses, the Twins already have a turnaround of 23 games. That's tied for the best turnaround in club history (a 1965 team that lost in the World Series), and is almost certainly a number that will be added to across the final six games of the year. With an over/under set in Vegas at 74.5 prior to the season, Minnesota surpassed that mark with 18 games to spare.
  • +96 run differential- Through August and September (up until the 25th), Minnesota has completely flipped the script in the run scoring department. At a -72 run differential on August 1st, the Twins have ripped off two of their best hitting months of the year. Outscoring opponents by nearly 100 runs across their last 53 games, the club now owns a Pythagorean W/L that sits at 80-76 (a mark unfathomable even a few weeks ago).
  • 92.1%- The total jump in percentage that the Minnesota Twins playoff odds have taken since August 1st. Forced to decide their fate prior to the trade deadline, the Twins had just a 5.6% chance on July 31st. At 50-53, they were 4.5 games back in the AL Wild Card. In needing to make a decision, the club flipped closer Brandon Kintzler and rental starter Jaime Garcia, for some solid future pieces. Today their playoff odds rest at 97.7%.
  • 199 home runs- With their next longball, the Twins will surpass the 200 HR plateau. Having done so in back-to-back seasons, they'll have accomplished that feat for the first time since the 1963/64 seasons. As of August 29, they were on pace for just 197. Right now, four players have at least 20 homers, which is the first time Minnesota has reached that mark since 2009. If Max Kepler can add one more, the Twins will have five 20 HR players for the first time since 1986.
  • 96.4% Stolen Base efficiency- Byron Buxton has stolen 27 of the 28 bases he's attempted to swipe this year. The one in which he was thrown out, he overslid the base. At the time of his 24th steal, I checked into his efficiency. Since 1946, 1,483 players had stolen at least 24 bases in a season. Only five had been thrown out just once. Now 27 of 28, that group has gotten even smaller.
  • Multi-position Gold Glove Winner- At the conclusion of 2017, Joe Mauer will look to join Placido Polanco and Darin Erstad as the only players to win Gold Glove awards at multiple positions. He'll be the first to do so at catcher and first base. Currently, Mauer ranks 1st among AL first basemen in UZR, UZR/150, and RngR. His 5 DRS checks in third. While teammate Byron Buxton is a guarantee to win the Gold Glove in CF, it would be a major upset if Mauer didn't take the award at 1B.
  • 24 DRS- In 2017, Buxton's current 24 defensive runs saved are the highest number by any Twins outfielder since tracking began in the early 2000s. Denard Span posted a 19 DRS mark in 2012, and Torii Hunter's high water mark was 18 DRS in 2004. Despite scuffling at the plate, Buxton has been a game changer all season in the Minnesota outfield.
  • Five- That's the amount of regular position players that the Twins have in their every day lineup age 25 and younger. Over half of their regular order has yet to reach a level where they would be considered and established big league veteran. Jose Berrios and Adalberto Mejia fall into this category on the pitching side. With prime's still in the future, there's plenty of reason to believe we've yet to see the best of what's to come.
No matter how 2017 ends, and how far into October this club gets, looking back on what's been a fun year should provide plenty of excitement for what's ahead. Meaningful baseball was played for virtually the entire 162 game slate, and down the stretch, Minnesota has been appointment viewing. This club is trending in an upward direction, and among a division that has plenty of holes, that should put the rest of the league on notice.

For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz

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