Beyond the San-San connection, however, the Twins haven't had many other real standout performers thus far. When you have two guys producing at levels this high above average (Santana has a 230 ERA+ and Sano has a 176 OPS+), you can afford to have a couple of holes on your roster, but the fact remains those two are carrying the team right now. Here's a look at some of the numbers with and without them.
Team: .334 (7th in MLB)
Without Sano: .324 (would be 15th)
Team: .414 (16th in MLB)
Without Sano: .393 (would be 25th)
Team: 4.17 (13th in MLB)
Without Santana: 4.67 (would be 24th)
Team: 1.30 (12th in MLB)
Without Santana: 1.40 (would be 24th)
It's a little concerning at how important Sano and Santana are to the Twins success right now for a couple reasons. Individual players just can't lift a team to dominance in baseball like in other sports. As great as they've been, Sano and Santana can only have so much influence on the team's success. Sano has accounted for 10.9 percent of the team's plate appearances and Santana 18.2 percent of the innings pitched. Obviously the biggest concerns revolve around those two going into extended slumps, or worse, getting injured.
The Twins are 7-3 in games Santana starts (18-15 otherwise). They're 10-1 when Sano hits a home run (15-17 otherwise). Yes, Max Kepler has really blossomed and Jose Berrios has been terrific in his three starts. Brian Dozier has started to heat up and both Robbie Grossman and Hector Santiago have been solid. But if the Twins are to continue to stay in contention, there are going to be a few more players who step up and contribute on a more consistent basis.
A lot of people don’t like to hear this, but there’s a good chance Sano and (especially) Santana regress. Who’s going to pick up the slack when that happens?