Offensive Down Across Baseball
During the season’s first month, batters as a whole hit .232, which would be the worst total in a season ever. Back in 1968, the Year of the Pitcher, batters were able to bat .237 for the season. If you don’t know about that season, just look up Bob Gibson’s numbers from that year. According to the Athletic, on-base percentage (.309) was the lowest since 1968, OPS (.698) was the lowest since 1989, and hits per game (7.63) were the lowest of all-time.
Some of the best pitching performances in baseball history also happened in the season’s first month and Minnesota was witness to one of those pitchers. Corbin Burnes ended the month with a 49 to 0 strikeout to walk ratio. The Twins handed him his first loss of the year as he and Jose Berrios locked in a pitcher’s duel where Burnes struck out 11 and Berrios struck out 12. Besides Burnes, both Gerrit Cole and Jacob deGrom posted strikeout rates of 44% or higher. Unfortunately, the Twins don’t have one of these pitchers.
Minnesota’s pitchers haven’t exactly joined the pitching revolution. As a staff, the Twins are tied with the Rangers for the worst pitching WAR total in the American League. The club’s 8.87 K/9 ranks 10th and they have given up more home runs per nine innings than any other AL club. According to Statcast, the Twins average exit velocity is the third highest in the AL they have the worst hard-hit percentage. Minnesota pitchers are getting hit and getting hit hard, but they aren’t the only group that is struggling on the team.
Some players in the Twins line-up have been on fire to start the year including Nelson Cruz and Bryon Buxton, the AL Player of the Month. Those aren’t the only positions where the Twins have fared well. According to FanGraphs, the Twins rank in the AL’s top-4 for WAR at multiple positions including second base (2nd overall), third base (1st overall), and left field (4th overall).
Catcher has been a rough spot especially since Mitch Garver and Ryan Jeffers were expected to be one of baseball’s best catching duos. Currently, only two AL teams have a lower WAR from the catching position than the Twins. Garver’s bat has shown signs of life, so there is hope for a catcher turn around in the weeks ahead. Jeffers has been relegated to Triple-A where he will try to regain some confidence at the plate and he hit a home run in his first game.
Other positions that can see some improvements are first base (9th overall), shortstop (7th), and right field (14th). Luckily, there are some easy fixes when it comes to these positions. Alex Kirilloff has been killing the ball, but a wrist injury might cause him to miss time. Miguel Sano’s return can also provide a boost at first if he can get his swing back on track. Shortstop is another easy fix, because Andrelton Simmons missed time with COVID. Now that he is healthy, the Twins shortstop numbers should improve.
Do you think the Twins can continue to improve offensively? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
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