The Annexation of Puerto Rico!
I love baseball. It's the one sport where a nerd, such as myself, can get lost in the numbers and think they know something others do not. What do I (think I) know? Well, if the Twins continue to over-achieve for one or two more weeks, and then merely regress to the team everyone thinks they are...they'll be right in the thick of the Wild Card race come September.
I know, I know, I'm either WAY TOO OPTIMISTIC or I'm jinxing it. And if that's the case, I should shut up right now. But just for the sake of adding another blog entry, hear me out...
This winter I texted some friends that the Twins "could actually be good this year" based on the logic that the Twins returned a top 5 American League offense plus the eternally youthful Torii Hunter. Also, the pitching had added depth via Ervin Santana. We just needed a "little luck". I was immediately rebuffed and told that I'm always too optimistic about the Twins (I admittedly am). As if on cue, Santana's suspension happened.
However, that luck has arrived in the form of timely RISP hitting and Mike Pelfrey. Thus, the Twins now find themselves with a +19 run differential and an expected Win-Loss record of 19-15, which is exactly the record they have YTD. They have scored 4.65 runs per game and have given up 4.09.
So what happens if the Twins regress to the team that history and projected statistics say they should be? Fangraphs has them going 58-70 the rest of the way, scoring 4.21 runs per game and giving up 4.67 runs against per game, and finishing with a 77-85 record. Hey, I'll take that after 4 straight 90-loss seasons!!
But what if?
What if the Twins implement what I'd like to call "The Annexation of Puerto Rico" (thank you Little Giants) and continue to over-achieve for the next couple weeks?! I don't care how they do it. "The Annexation" could be Pelfrey pulling another couple quality starts out his bum or Torii Hunter continuing to defy Father Time. It doesn't matter. IF the Twins add another 3 or 4 games above .500, THEY'RE RIGHT IN IT!!
The top AL teams are the Yankees, Tigers, and Royals based on YTD record and projected remaining season, according to fangraphs. Here are their projected records: 88-74, 86-76, and 84-78. Say the Twins rattle off 4 straight and get to 23-15 and then finish with the .451 winning percentage fangraphs says they should , the Twins go 81-81, a mere 3 games behind the Royals.
This race is wide open. It's time to implement "The Annexation of Puerto Rico."