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5 Most Disappointing Minnesota Twins Players in May


The Twins have won eight of their past 11 games but still finished May with a 13-16 record for the month. I don't think anyone across Twins Territory is satisfied with that. Here’s a look at my five most disappointing performers for the month of May.

There were some bright spots in May, certainly more than there were in April, but another losing month is still dissatisfying. If you’re looking for a bit more balanced look back at the month with a few positive notes mixed in, here’s a video I recorded on the team’s ups and downs for the month.

Just want to dwell on the downs? Let’s do it. This is my list of five, it’s subjective and partially based on expectations. Share the guys you were most disappointed in down in the comments.

Nelson Cruz 

Is it age, injuries or just a bad stretch of luck? Cruz hit .221/.302/.360 (.662 OPS) in May. It’ll come as no surprise that is his worst month as a Twin, but this is the lowest OPS he’s posted in a month since June of 2015.

Cruz was hit in the wrist by a pitch on May 20 and went 2-for-18 for the rest of the month. With all the other injuries to other veterans this team needs Cruz to be the guy. Here’s hoping the further we get away from that wrist injury the better he starts to look.

Josh Donaldson

Donaldson’s overall line wasn’t exactly a trainwreck, he hit .222/.328/.404 (.732 OPS) in May. That was aided by closing on a game in which he reached base four times. The real problem with his performance was what he did in high-leverage situations.

Donaldson was 3-for-19 with runners in scoring position and hit .158/.208/.211 in 24 plate appearances in those situations. He entered the final day of the month with the worst WPA among all Twins hitters. Thankfully, hitting with runners in scoring position isn’t very predictive, so there’s no reason to believe Donaldson won’t bring in more runs this month.

J.A. Happ

One of the biggest bummers of May was the Twins went 1-5 against the Chicago White Sox. Happ was part of the reason why the Twins did so poorly, giving up 15 earned runs in seven innings pitched across two starts against the Sox. 

Happ had an 8.49 ERA in five starts during May and opponents hit a ridiculous .320/.380/.567 (.947 OPS) against him.

Jorge Alcala

This may seem like a surprising entry on the list, but I was really hoping Alcala could emerge as a solution to fixing some of the Twins’ bullpen woes. He may ultimately prove to be just that, but he didn’t take advantage of the opportunities provided to him in May.

Alcala had a 4.35 ERA and 1.07 WHIP on the month, but issued nearly as many walks (five) as he had strikeouts (six) in 10 1/3 innings pitched. He gave up a two-run homer in the sixth inning of a tie game against Chicago and another two-run homer in the eighth inning while trying to protect a one-run lead against Baltimore. 

I would have love to see him shine in those moments. Maybe next time.

Andrelton Simmons

I’m just done with this guy. Not really in a “I think the Twins should release him” type of way, because he’s one of their few healthy regulars. More in a “I don’t like watching baseball whenever he’s hitting” kind of way.

Simmons wasn’t brought in for his bat, of course, but he hit .228/.297/.304 (.601 OPS) in May with 21 strikeouts, the most he’s recorded in one month ever. He entered this year with a strikeout rate below 10%, which is basically the only interesting thing about him offensively. He struck out in 20.8% of his plate appearances in May.

The last bit of disappointing news to go over is that you all are going to have to put up with seeing more junk like this from me. I have stepped down from the content editor role I’ve served in here at Twins Daily since March of 2018 and will instead be focusing my efforts solely on content creation once again. Deal with it. :)


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5 most disappointing things is slightly accurate but you should have made it a top 10.  

Miquel "He's just a K machine" Sano who is 2 for his last 25 with 14 K's, 43 K's in his last 90+ at Bats.  Mr. Swing and Miss is hitting 100 lbs less than his weight.  

Rocco Baldelli would be on this list for penciling in Sano on a daily basis.  My goodness his game management is not great.

Buxton, where has he been?  Oh that's right, in the medical tent once again

Hitting Coach?  Do the twins have anyone on the payroll that knows what they are doing? Maybe Cruz and his clubhouse leadership/mentor status that everyone loves to talk about should let us know who it is.  

Shoemaker who is 1-5 over his last 7 starts.  

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Great content, Tom! Glad you're providing that for us here.

Regarding Simmons, it's amazing to see that in his 2nd month as a Twin, he's posting a career high in monthly strikeouts.

What's this team doing to its hitters? I often joke that the hitting coaches just tell players "close your eyes and swing as hard as you can", but maybe that's true? If so, it's not funny.

The Twins struck out 14 times again yesterday. That's more than 50% of their outs. And 12 the game before. They're not facing Max Scherzer, they're going against below average starters for the Royals and Orioles.

It's almost unwatchable baseball. Not only are they bad, but there's very little action.

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Great story and I’m very glad to have the chance to read more of Tom’s stories. But we’ll certainly miss him editing. TD dealt with a lot over the last 3 years, and Tom showed a steady hand but also the passion that the community shares. We are forever in debt. So please join me in thanking Tom for all his efforts and congratulate him on all his accomplishments. 

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10 minutes ago, bighat said:

Great content, Tom! Glad you're providing that for us here.

Regarding Simmons, it's amazing to see that in his 2nd month as a Twin, he's posting a career high in monthly strikeouts.

What's this team doing to its hitters? I often joke that the hitting coaches just tell players "close your eyes and swing as hard as you can", but maybe that's true? If so, it's not funny.

The Twins struck out 14 times again yesterday. That's more than 50% of their outs. And 12 the game before. They're not facing Max Scherzer, they're going against below average starters for the Royals and Orioles.

It's almost unwatchable baseball. Not only are they bad, but there's very little action.

Not that I don't agree with most of your comment, but the Twins are right in the middle of MLB as far as strikeouts go and that includes Sanó, who, if he get 600 plate appearances, might break the all-time strikeout record by quite a bit. The same is true for run scoring. The Twins sit a 11th in MLB in scoring runs, not elite, but better than average. 

Strikeouts are up everywhere and run scoring is down everywhere. Baseball is trying to remedy these trends, but so far they are bailing out the boat with a teacup. I would guess just about every fan site in every big league city would have the same complaints.

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It occurs to me that we could add an additional five disappointing players without much problem. Sanó, Happ, Shoemaker, Duffey, Stashak and Maeda could qualify. The Twins finished 13-16 for the month and the holes in the lineup and pitching staff are pretty deep. 

Barring the near-miracle of rising to contention, the club is in for at least a major retooling next year. 

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Good article but how can K-Sano not be on the list.  He'd be at the top of mine. Outside of 1 HR to win 1 ballgame for them against Baltimore he kills a rally almost every time he's up to bat. Had the bases loaded twice and a third time had guys at 1st and 2nd yesterday and produced nothing. He belongs in the stands with the rest of us who can't hit. They could bring back Morneau and he'd hit more than .163. 

Time to take a look at some youngsters and move on from the Buxton/Sano era. Neither will nor should be mainstays going forward. One can't stay on the field and the other one shouldn't be on the field. Lets see what Rooker and Celestino can do. 

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Agree with all of the above information but I also need to mention some appreciation for Tom and everything he's done to keep the content flowing here at TwinsDaily. 

He does more behind the scenes than most of us will ever know and is truly just one of the nicest and most helpful dudes you could ask to work with as a new writer. You'll be missed Tom but I'm certainly looking forward to the increase in content!

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Regarding Sano, he didn't crack my top five because his performance is not far from what I'd expect so I can't be that disappointed. He's going to strikeout a ton. He's going to slug. His .476 slugging percentage was 50 points above league average for the month.

Matt Shoemaker sorta fell under the same category. They're guys I'm not thrilled with, but they didn't crack this top five because I'm not expecting much more than they provided in May.

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3 minutes ago, Tom Froemming said:

Regarding Sano, he didn't crack my top five because his performance is not far from what I'd expect so I can't be that disappointed. He's going to strikeout a ton. He's going to slug. His .476 slugging percentage was 50 points above league average for the month.

Matt Shoemaker sorta fell under the same category. They're guys I'm not thrilled with, but they didn't crack this top five because I'm not expecting much more than they provided in May.

I see your reasoning, but they are near the top of the list for me.  Sano comes up in so many high leverage situations and I guess I have to qualify my initial statement here - I expect him to strike out and he does - so the reality is he does meet my expectations.  Good job Tom.   

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1 hour ago, stringer bell said:

It occurs to me that we could add an additional five disappointing players without much problem. Sanó, Happ, Shoemaker, Duffey, Stashak and Maeda could qualify. The Twins finished 13-16 for the month and the holes in the lineup and pitching staff are pretty deep. 

Barring the near-miracle of rising to contention, the club is in for at least a major retooling next year. 

Happ is twice as disappointingly as anyone else?

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5 hours ago, strumdatjag said:

Simmons bat can’t be disappointing, since there were never high expectations for him to hit.   So delete him from list and add Miggy. 

His OPS for the month has sunk below a level acceptable even for a utility infielder. His bat wasn't what earned him his reputation, but it wasn't generally like this. It's only a month, so calling something disappointing isn't the end of the world or anything, but I'd call it that.

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10 minutes ago, MGM4706 said:

What stands out to me and Simmons is a prime example are all the easy outs the Twins make. Always lunging for balls or doing little wrist flip swings. We need to open the wallet and get the hitting coach back we had during the Boomba days! Never should have let him walk for a few dollars!!

I know Simmons wouldn't make most people's list, he's not know for his bat and to be fair he was one of the only guys in May who did better than his averages w/RISP. But, this right here is what I'm most disappointed in from his play last month. He wasn't brought in to be a big asset at the plate, but I hoped he'd add some diversity to the lineup by putting a ton of balls in play. With Luis Arraez out, that skill would be even more appreciated right now. I also think Simmons has been more good than great defensively.

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2 hours ago, umterp23 said:

5 most disappointing things is slightly accurate but you should have made it a top 10.  

Miquel "He's just a K machine" Sano who is 2 for his last 25 with 14 K's, 43 K's in his last 90+ at Bats.  Mr. Swing and Miss is hitting 100 lbs less than his weight.  

Rocco Baldelli would be on this list for penciling in Sano on a daily basis.  My goodness his game management is not great.

Buxton, where has he been?  Oh that's right, in the medical tent once again

Hitting Coach?  Do the twins have anyone on the payroll that knows what they are doing? Maybe Cruz and his clubhouse leadership/mentor status that everyone loves to talk about should let us know who it is.  

Shoemaker who is 1-5 over his last 7 starts.  

I agree with you about nothing in the leadership ranks offers much as a hitting coach.  What is only real difference between our Bomba Squad in 2019 compared to our poor batting results in 2020 and now 2021. the batting coach changed!  I know these guys are pros - but something had to change in the way they are being told to hit isn't there?

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I'd have Duffey in above Alcala. Duffey had rotten control in April and followed it up by being too hittable in May. Alcala is still giving up too many dingers and hasn't become the dominant, shut-down righty we've been hoping for (yet), but he hasn't been bad and at least he's still only 25. Duffey has regressed badly and looks like just another guy out there.

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, stringer bell said:

Not that I don't agree with most of your comment, but the Twins are right in the middle of MLB as far as strikeouts go and that includes Sanó, who, if he get 600 plate appearances, might break the all-time strikeout record by quite a bit. The same is true for run scoring. The Twins sit a 11th in MLB in scoring runs, not elite, but better than average. 

Strikeouts are up everywhere and run scoring is down everywhere. Baseball is trying to remedy these trends, but so far they are bailing out the boat with a teacup. I would guess just about every fan site in every big league city would have the same complaints.

Excuses. They are bad and it needs to fixed. Period. 

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I would agree with the list, for the most part.  I would disagree with Simmons.  For me, to be disappointed, you need to expect more than what they are doing.  Simmons did not come here to hit, unlike Cruz and Donaldson, who bats are why they hit top of line up.  Any offense you get from Simmons is bonus for most part.  He came here to play defense, and to my knowledge he still can do that. 

Overall, most of the team has been a disappointment though.  They need to figure out how to not strike out so much.  Personally, I am done with Sano and want him dealt to any team that will take him.  Give his position to Kiroloff.  Once Buck comes back find a team that will give up a top prospect, if one is out there, and send him on his way.  He may have MVP talent, but he lacks the most important ability, avail-ability.  I worry his numbers in April will cause Twins to give him a deal more than they should and he keeps spending half his career in the trainer room.  The most recent injury is a muscle injury, and they pop up time and again.  I expect as he ages they will keep on coming and it will always be the, if he can stay healthy thing.  After this long you just have to accept, he cannot stay on the field for 150 games a year, barely can for 100. 

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3 hours ago, bighat said:

The Twins struck out 14 times again yesterday. That's more than 50% of their outs. And 12 the game before. They're not facing Max Scherzer, they're going against below average starters for the Royals and Orioles.

It's almost unwatchable baseball. Not only are they bad, but there's very little action.

I agree. This is true of pretty much all MLB baseball at the moment. The league’s big problem isn’t necessarily that games take too long, it’s that pitching and defense have been optimized to the point that the game is just plain boring to watch. 

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It’s hard to limit the number to 5. I liked Mike’s selections. Donaldson and Cruz have not been good. Kepler looks lost at the plate.  Sano looked a little better after trying to change his swing, but it seems like he reverts back to the same big loopy swing most of the time.  I think sometimes the pitchers throw the ball where he swings and hit his bat.  But then, I can’t bring myself to watch every game.  They aren’t much fun to watch. Nobody seems like they are having much fun, even when they win. 

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