Jump to content
Twins Daily
  • Create Account
  • 2015: A Far Cry From Past Twins Futility


    Ted Schwerzler

    70-92, 66-96, 66-96, 63-99, those are the records of the Minnesota Twins over the past four seasons. At the end of 2014, Terry Ryan fired longtime manager Ron Gardenhire, and the Twins appeared determined to make a turnaround. While just a month into 2015, comments suggesting the Twins are lackluster and bad continue to be tossed around by the uninformed fan.

    It's time to realize the suggestion sounds clueless, and this club is proving you couldn't be more wrong.

    As things stand, the Minnesota Twins are currently 13-12 on the year. They are sitting in third place in the AL Central and are just 3.5 games out of first place in the division. After experiencing a -20 run differential and starting the season off on a 1-6 note, the club battled through a divisional-tilted schedule in April, and is ready to make some waves.

    Despite having an atrocious pitching staff, and less than ideal outfield defense in 2014, the Twins were amongst the best in major leagues when it came to scoring runs. Thanks to uncharacteristic performances from Kurt Suzuki and Danny Santana, Minnesota was buoyed by less than predictable contributors. In 2015, the outfield defense remains a work in progress, the pitching isn't yet top-tier, and the offense has clicked. While the formula sounds the same, the result is trending in a completely opposite direction.

    Twins teams of recent years haven't watched their records race towards 90 losses until the heat of the summer begins. As the season progresseg, the Twins generally dealt with declining play and injuries that have forced them into the doldrums of the AL Central. This time around, the 2015 version isn't waiting for the bottom to drop out, but instead, for it -- their season--to rise to the top.

    Regression was to be expected on offense this season with a handful of players. As noted, Suzuki and Santana were key contributors a year ago, and likely would not repeat their performances. Santana struggled early and has since rebounded to a certain extent, while Suzuki continues to scuffle at the plate. Despite their less than ideal contributions, the Twins have seen positives from a handful of other players. Joe Mauer looks himself once again, Trevor Plouffe is off to a blazing start, and the lineup as a whole has held its own.

    Outside of what is happening at the major league level, the Twins have some significant positives when it comes to depth. Top prospect Byron Buxton has bounced back from a slow start and has been absolutely on fire of late. While he still isn't likely an option until late summer at the earliest, Aaron Hicks has looked great for Triple-A Rochester. Missing out on the Opening Day roster, Josmil Pinto has positioned himself well in Rochester as well, and has turned his bat into a real asset. On the mound, Alex Meyer has struggled more often than not, but the Twins have plenty of options. Tommy Milone is a quality arm now on the farm, and he's joined by a lights out Taylor Rogers. Jose Berrios has continued to impress in the early going as well. No matter which way you cut it, the Twins depth from within this season is in a great place.

    Previous losing seasons have been book-ended by periods of competence and an unavoidable bottom falling out. This season, the Twins have the security blankets to make sure their current level of play remains at a consistent level throughout the season. Adding prospects along the way, as well as the eventual addition of Ervin Santana, Minnesota will continue to turn heads.

    It has become time to put the past four season of futility in the past and stop referring to this current club as a band of misfits. They've played their way into relevance, and the future prospectus is trending in an upward direction. Understand that this team isn't cut from the same cloth, and be better for it.

     Share

    Featured Video


    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

    Featured Comments

    It is still very early, haha. The Twins were 23-21 at one point last year. The "informed" fan might argue that they are pitching and hitting at an unsustainable rate lately, and due for regression to the mean. They could still finish 70-92, like last year, or 92-70. I'm certainly hoping for something like the latter, but the former is arguably more likely. They've been beating up on bad teams, which is what they are supposed to do, but this has been a very small sample size of games. 

     

    That said, I am excited to see what can happen if they can tread water until the reinforcements come. 

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    17-13 is nice, but the story of the season hasn't yet been written.  The Twins have managed to undo a dreadful start and have shown that they can score runs.  I still think they are overachieving, both in the runs scored and runs allowed.  Most supporting stats don't match up such as OBP, Slugging, OPS, Strikeouts for and against, WHIP, and OPS against.  I believe the supporting numbers would come more in line if the Twins keep winning.  If those numbers don't improve, I doubt the wins will continue. 

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    They are off to a decent start. I'm quite happy for that, as it's keeping me far more engaged on what they are doing as opposed to living in the minor league forums. That said, yeah, a bit too early. I thought this team had a reasonable shot at 80 wins this year, and I still think that, especially with reinforcements on the way.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    To put an even more positive spin on the article in general, and to the comments more directly, this better play and hitting and pitching has taken place with Hughes not yet in form, with Gibson really close but not fully in form, no Santana, a Nolasco who has yet to shown the Twins what he's capable, with a bullpen just finding itself and missing a key option right now. So yeah, possibly playing above themselves. But then again, with a little more give and take, this might be who they really are.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    To put an even more positive spin on the article in general, and to the comments more directly, this better play and hitting and pitching has taken place with Hughes not yet in form, with Gibson really close but not fully in form, no Santana, a Nolasco who has yet to shown the Twins what he's capable, with a bullpen just finding itself and missing a key option right now. So yeah, possibly playing above themselves. But then again, with a little more give and take, this might be who they really are.

    You know the wisdom on Wall Street - when the latest rally finally turns the most stubborn bear into a bull... SELL. :)

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    It is still very early, haha. The Twins were 23-21 at one point last year. The "informed" fan might argue that they are pitching and hitting at an unsustainable rate lately, and due for regression to the mean. They could still finish 70-92, like last year, or 92-70. I'm certainly hoping for something like the latter, but the former is arguably more likely. They've been beating up on bad teams, which is what they are supposed to do, but this has been a very small sample size of games. 

     

    That said, I am excited to see what can happen if they can tread water until the reinforcements come.

     

    All true, except I disagree about the "beating up on bad teams" part.

     

    They've played Detroit 6 times, and KC 6 times. Neither of those are bad teams, and except for the opening series, the Twins have held their own.

     

    They've played Chicago 7. Certainly the White Sox have played poorly, but they have some talent. Part of the reason their record is bad is due to the Twins.

     

    Cleveland 5 times. I didn't buy it personally, still don't, but they were SI's pick to win the WS.

     

    Seattle and Oakland 7 times. Both were picked in various places to be postseason teams this year.

     

    The Twins may be a mirage, but so far I don't think it's due to facing poor competition.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Well the Tigers have owned them and they've split with KC so those arent great counterpoints that they've been beating up on bad teams. It's early and the staff hasn't really shut down a potent line up and the lineup hasn't knocked around an ace SP so my expectations are still tempered.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

     

    All true, except I disagree about the "beating up on bad teams" part.

    They've played Detroit 6 times, and KC 6 times. Neither of those are bad teams, and except for the opening series, the Twins have held their own.

    They've played Chicago 7. Certainly the White Sox have played poorly, but they have some talent. Part of the reason their record is bad is due to the Twins.

    Cleveland 5 times. I didn't buy it personally, still don't, but they were SI's pick to win the WS.

    Seattle and Oakland 7 times. Both were picked in various places to be postseason teams this year.

    The Twins may be a mirage, but so far I don't think it's due to facing poor competition.

    Just to clarify, I wasn't saying beating up on bad teams is a bad thing. That said, regardless of where they were projected before the season started Cleveland, Oakland, Seattle and ChiSox have not been playing good ball this year. From watching our games against them, they look terrible for the most part and were booting the ball all over the place. I'm not saying none of those teams will pick it up, but they are all at or near the bottom of their division and rightfully so- they have been not been playing well. 

     

    We have hung in there against KC and Detroit, which is impressive, but we have a solid record largely (and obviously not entirely) due to the competition we've faced. 

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

     

    Well the Tigers have owned them and they've split with KC so those arent great counterpoints that they've been beating up on bad teams. It's early and the staff hasn't really shut down a potent line up and the lineup hasn't knocked around an ace SP so my expectations are still tempered.

    We actually did rough up Kazmir and Sale- our lineup has been super impressive. Hopefully they keep it up, and I agree our starters are pitching at an unsustainable rate. 

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

     

    Just to clarify, I wasn't saying beating up on bad teams is a bad thing. That said, regardless of where they were projected before the season started Cleveland, Oakland, Seattle and ChiSox have not been playing good ball this year. From watching our games against them, they look terrible for the most part and were booting the ball all over the place. I'm not saying none of those teams will pick it up, but they are all at or near the bottom of their division and rightfully so- they have been not been playing well. 

     

    We have hung in there against KC and Detroit, which is impressive, but we have a solid record largely (and obviously not entirely) due to the competition we've faced. 

     

    Those teams aren't playing good baseball, but their appearance as "bad teams" comes in part from the beatings the Twins have put on them.  I don't think this is a case of beating up on bad teams but more the Twins playing some decent ball and catching some teams at the right time.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    We do have yet to play a game against the AL East, or the two division leaders in the West, or interleague (those 4 games against St Louis will be a tough test -- although too bad we're not getting our "rivalry" games against Milwaukee right now!).

     

    Last year, when we started 23-21, we played a better mix of competition than we have so far this year.  Our two sweep losses were to Oakland and the Dodgers, who were the best teams in baseball at the time IIRC.  But otherwise, we had performed well against each division, including 4 series wins against 4 different AL East teams, a sweep of KC, etc.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Buster Olney, in March, ranked the hardest AL early season schedules (roughly the first 40 games).

    ( http://insider.espn.go.com/blog/buster-olney/insider/post?id=9568 )

     

    -------------------

    3. Minnesota Twins

    Games against teams that had records over .500 in 2014: 30 of their first 40.

    Home/road: 20 of their first 40 are at home.

    Noteworthy: Not only do the Twins have their share of in-division games against rivals from the AL Central early, but they also have a four-game series against Oakland and a two-game series against the Pirates. Before the All-Star break, the Twins will see the Tigers in 13 games and the Royals in 13 games. Good luck with that.

    --------------

     

    This early, I think it's fair to consider teams that were supposed to be good as still making a schedule "hard" even though they aren't playing that way currently. Do you think the Oakland fans are bemoaning their "hard" schedule because they've had to play the Twins 7 games? No.

    In the same vain we shouldn't be downgrading the strength of our schedule just because Oakland, Seattle, and Cleveland haven't looked like the teams people thought they were going to be.

     

     

    Edited by amjgt
    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    18-13 is a huge improvement and if we are even at 23-17 at the quarter mark, you have to give Molitor early consideration for manager of the year.

     

    They are playing over their heads and considering the Santana news and the 1-6 start, the improved play in all facets of the game is admirable.

     

    Biggest factors to date - proved leadership

    Molly and Hunter

     

    Bullpen

    Thompson and Perkins

     

    Defense

    Schaefer, Plouffe, Mauer, Dozier, now Rosario (Arcia might not get his job back)

     

    Timely hitting - everyone

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Regarding the schedule:  I fully expect both Chicago and Cleveland to be much better at some point in the season.  The Twins have played them at just the right time (that is, if they beat the Tribe today).  Probably, the same is true for the A's and the M's.  It seemed to me that the Twins, with the exception of the time they swept Chicago last year, never got lucky with playing teams during a lull.  Some of that, of course, is if you are a bad team you can bring another team out of a funk. 

     

    My rosy predictions for this year have included the belief that the Twins were due for a large dose of good fortune after enduring four years where basically the only luck they had was bad luck.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

     

     

    18-13 is a huge improvement and if we are even at 23-17 at the quarter mark, you have to give Molitor early consideration for manager of the year.

    They are playing over their heads and considering the Santana news and the 1-6 start, the improved play in all facets of the game is admirable.

    Biggest factors to date - proved leadership
    Molly and Hunter

    Bullpen
    Thompson and Perkins

    Defense
    Schaefer, Plouffe, Mauer, Dozier, now Rosario (Arcia might not get his job back)

    Timely hitting - everyone

    Schafer hasn't ever been regarded as a plus center fielder despite great wheels.  I think he struggled on D the first two weeks (didn't see many games), but has been solid since.  Robinson has been very good.  Also, everyone but Torii has picked up assists in the OF.  There have been a lot of very good throws from the outfield.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    This team has exceeded our expectations, but you can see the seeds of a second half flameout already.  Twins starters are not going deep enough into games.  The bullpen has been amazing!  However, if they have to pitch 4 innings per game, they're done by the end of August.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites



    Join the conversation

    You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
    Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

    Guest
    Add a comment...

    ×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

      Only 75 emoji are allowed.

    ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

    ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

    ×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

    Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...