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TwinsData

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  1. The above graph plots hitting performance with OPS (on-base + slugging percentage) without runners in scoring position on the x axis and with runners in scoring position on the y axis. A point on the gray diagonal line has equal performance with and without RISP. The further a point is vertically above the line, the better the hitter performs with RISP relative to their performance without. Those hitters are performing in important spots. The farther below the line, the more the hitter is coming up empty in big moments relative to their performance otherwise. A few things stand out: The Twins have 4 players who have hit significantly better with RISP and 4 who have hit significantly worse. As a team though, they hold a 0.723 OPS with RISP (#20 in MLB) and a 0.632 OPS with RISP and 2 outs (#28 in MLB). Ryan Jeffers has the team's most extreme splits. He owns a 0.553 OPS without RISP compared to a team-high 1.011 OPS with. Gary Sánchez has large splits as well. Carlos Correa deserves special mention. Without RISP, he's third among qualifying Twins with an 0.803 OPS. With RISP, only Nick Gordon has performed worse. Jorge Polanco has the most plate appearances with RISP on the Twins. Thankfully, he has come through with an 0.861 OPS in those crucial spots. Note that this analysis is best viewed as descriptive of past performance rather than predictive of future performance. A future tidbit will compare numbers with and without RISP in previous seasons to see if these splits carry over at all from year to year.
  2. A big part of run-scoring is hitting with runners in scoring position. Which hitters have been doing damage in big spots and which have been filling up on empty calories? The above graph plots hitting performance with OPS (on-base + slugging percentage) without runners in scoring position on the x axis and with runners in scoring position on the y axis. A point on the gray diagonal line has equal performance with and without RISP. The further a point is vertically above the line, the better the hitter performs with RISP relative to their performance without. Those hitters are performing in important spots. The farther below the line, the more the hitter is coming up empty in big moments relative to their performance otherwise. A few things stand out: The Twins have 4 players who have hit significantly better with RISP and 4 who have hit significantly worse. As a team though, they hold a 0.723 OPS with RISP (#20 in MLB) and a 0.632 OPS with RISP and 2 outs (#28 in MLB). Ryan Jeffers has the team's most extreme splits. He owns a 0.553 OPS without RISP compared to a team-high 1.011 OPS with. Gary Sánchez has large splits as well. Carlos Correa deserves special mention. Without RISP, he's third among qualifying Twins with an 0.803 OPS. With RISP, only Nick Gordon has performed worse. Jorge Polanco has the most plate appearances with RISP on the Twins. Thankfully, he has come through with an 0.861 OPS in those crucial spots. Note that this analysis is best viewed as descriptive of past performance rather than predictive of future performance. A future tidbit will compare numbers with and without RISP in previous seasons to see if these splits carry over at all from year to year. View full article
  3. The Twins new bullpen addition, Jorge Lopez, has experienced a breakout season in 2022. He had a 6.04 career ERA with 7.6 K/9 innings entering 2022. But a full-time move to the bullpen in 2022 has seen his ERA drop to 1.68 with over 10 K/9 innings. The underlying numbers tell the story. The above graph compares the average spin rate and average velocity of Lopez's five pitches to all other pitchers in 2022, with the pitch-specific percentile indicated by the point. So, for example, Lopez's sinker from 2021 would qualify as a 76th percentile sinker for average velocity. In other words, his 2021 sinker was thrown harder than 76 percent of sinkers. Upon his move to a full-time bullpen role, Jorge Lopez has added velocity and spin rate to all five of his pitches. His go-to pitch is the sinker and he now owns a 94th percentile sinker for velocity. In fact, all five of his pitches are now above the 84th percentile for velocity. Every one of his pitches gets on hitters quickly. On the other hand, none of his five pitches is above the 45th percentile for spin rate. Given that he will only ever see a hitter once in a game, it's enough to blow them away with velocity. Lopez's ability to get more out of each of his pitches and specialize in throwing the ball hard upon moving to the bullpen has transformed his career. The Twins are betting that adding Lopez to the mix will transform their bullpen. View full article
  4. The above graph compares the average spin rate and average velocity of Lopez's five pitches to all other pitchers in 2022, with the pitch-specific percentile indicated by the point. So, for example, Lopez's sinker from 2021 would qualify as a 76th percentile sinker for average velocity. In other words, his 2021 sinker was thrown harder than 76 percent of sinkers. Upon his move to a full-time bullpen role, Jorge Lopez has added velocity and spin rate to all five of his pitches. His go-to pitch is the sinker and he now owns a 94th percentile sinker for velocity. In fact, all five of his pitches are now above the 84th percentile for velocity. Every one of his pitches gets on hitters quickly. On the other hand, none of his five pitches is above the 45th percentile for spin rate. Given that he will only ever see a hitter once in a game, it's enough to blow them away with velocity. Lopez's ability to get more out of each of his pitches and specialize in throwing the ball hard upon moving to the bullpen has transformed his career. The Twins are betting that adding Lopez to the mix will transform their bullpen.
  5. There are 30 rookie hitters who debuted in 2022 and have at least 100 plate appearances under their belts. The above graph plots their on-base percentages and slugging percentages, with Miranda indicated. Miranda is 3rd in slugging percentage at 0.477. Given that he is on the older side of this group, one may wonder if his success relative to other rookies is a product of having extra time to develop. But he's out-slugging all the rookies in his age 24 cohort. Only Mariners phenom Julio Rodriguez and Atlanta upstart Michael Harris, both in their age 21 seasons, have higher slugging percentages. Among Twins hitters with sufficient plate appearances, only Nick Gordon and Alex Kirilloff swing at a higher percentage of pitches in the strike zone than Miranda. At the same time, only Gordon, Gary Sánchez, and Gio Urshela swing at more pitches outside the strike zone than Miranda. Given his aggressiveness at the plate, Miranda's 0.317 on-base percentage (11th out of 30 qualifying rookies) is promising. If Miranda puts together two more months with production that resembles his July production, he may just put himself in the conversation for AL Rookie of the Year.
  6. Jose Miranda has quickly developed into one of the Twins most formidable hitters. But given his struggles early in the season, how do his overall numbers compare with other rookie hitters who debuted in 2022? There are 30 rookie hitters who debuted in 2022 and have at least 100 plate appearances under their belts. The above graph plots their on-base percentages and slugging percentages, with Miranda indicated. Miranda is 3rd in slugging percentage at 0.477. Given that he is on the older side of this group, one may wonder if his success relative to other rookies is a product of having extra time to develop. But he's out-slugging all the rookies in his age 24 cohort. Only Mariners phenom Julio Rodriguez and Atlanta upstart Michael Harris, both in their age 21 seasons, have higher slugging percentages. Among Twins hitters with sufficient plate appearances, only Nick Gordon and Alex Kirilloff swing at a higher percentage of pitches in the strike zone than Miranda. At the same time, only Gordon, Gary Sánchez, and Gio Urshela swing at more pitches outside the strike zone than Miranda. Given his aggressiveness at the plate, Miranda's 0.317 on-base percentage (11th out of 30 qualifying rookies) is promising. If Miranda puts together two more months with production that resembles his July production, he may just put himself in the conversation for AL Rookie of the Year. View full article
  7. Correct. The dashed line is league average OPS. Those periods are removed from the data for Kirilloff. He had 18 plate appearances in April, then was out for 3 weeks, then had 14 plate appearances in May, then was out for 5 weeks. To include periods like that in the graphs would be distracting and misleading both for sample size reasons and the fact that there is no continuous stretch of play to actually measure a trend.
  8. As we move in August, which Twins hitters are heating up and solidifying their place in the every day lineup? Which are cooling off and casting doubt as to their role going forward? Let's take a look at the trends to determine which stocks to buy and which to sell. The above graph shows rolling OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) over the past 30 days for each hitter with a sufficient number of plate appearances in the last month. For example, the height of the line at 7/1 indicates the hitter's OPS in the month of June. Hitters are sorted by their current OPS in the last month from left to right and then top to bottom. The dashed line indicates the MLB-average OPS of 0.708. Some takeaways: Jose Miranda is the hottest hitter in the Twins lineup with a 1.054 OPS in the last 30 days, capping off a meteoric rise. On May 15, his rolling OPS was a paltry 0.322. Stock way up. Jorge Polanco is similarly on fire. His rolling OPS has been above 0.900 for almost the entire month of July. Ryan Jeffers' injury is a shame. He had really started to heat up. At the same time, Gary Sánchez has been in a steady decline since June began. The consistent performance of Luis Arraez is remarkable. He has yet to have a 30-day stretch with a below-average OPS. By contrast, Byron Buxton is the most volatile hitter in the lineup with 30-day stretches of both 1.360 and 0.532 OPS. An underreported part of the Twins' forgettable July has been the cooling of Buxton (0.643 OPS in the last 30 days) and Carlos Correa (0.702). Miranda and Polanco were a band-aid over a struggling top of the lineup. It was past time for Gilberto Celestino to return to Triple-A. He owns a 0.488 OPS in the last 30 days and had been trending in that direction for some time. What else can we take away from the hitting trends that might help the Twins construct a winning lineup down the stretch? View full article
  9. The above graph shows rolling OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) over the past 30 days for each hitter with a sufficient number of plate appearances in the last month. For example, the height of the line at 7/1 indicates the hitter's OPS in the month of June. Hitters are sorted by their current OPS in the last month from left to right and then top to bottom. The dashed line indicates the MLB-average OPS of 0.708. Some takeaways: Jose Miranda is the hottest hitter in the Twins lineup with a 1.054 OPS in the last 30 days, capping off a meteoric rise. On May 15, his rolling OPS was a paltry 0.322. Stock way up. Jorge Polanco is similarly on fire. His rolling OPS has been above 0.900 for almost the entire month of July. Ryan Jeffers' injury is a shame. He had really started to heat up. At the same time, Gary Sánchez has been in a steady decline since June began. The consistent performance of Luis Arraez is remarkable. He has yet to have a 30-day stretch with a below-average OPS. By contrast, Byron Buxton is the most volatile hitter in the lineup with 30-day stretches of both 1.360 and 0.532 OPS. An underreported part of the Twins' forgettable July has been the cooling of Buxton (0.643 OPS in the last 30 days) and Carlos Correa (0.702). Miranda and Polanco were a band-aid over a struggling top of the lineup. It was past time for Gilberto Celestino to return to Triple-A. He owns a 0.488 OPS in the last 30 days and had been trending in that direction for some time. What else can we take away from the hitting trends that might help the Twins construct a winning lineup down the stretch?
  10. Great questions about statistical significance. Significance testing would go something like this. Suppose the Twins converted OPS to runs just like every other team (the gray line). How unlikely is it to produce the patterns given in red in the 96-game sample? And the statistical answer will be that it's not too unlikely. 96 games just isn't enough to separate signal from noise. 162 probably would not be either, so if statistical testing is the bar to clear to identify teams doing a bad job turning OPS into runs, we'll simply never identify one even if they exist.
  11. The above graph shows, for each Twins game this season, their game-specific team OPS and the runs scored in red. The solid red line is a moving average specific to the Twins. It measures how many runs the Twins typically score in a game given the OPS on the x axis. The solid gray line is the rest of the MLB. You can interpret these lines as "how each group turns OPS into runs". For example, when the Twins have an OPS around 0.600, they typically score 3 runs. Ditto for the rest of the MLB. The more interesting story appears where the lines diverge. Where the Twins line is lower than the MLB line, there are missing runs. The left side of the graph shows missing runs in games where the Twins bats go cold. The Twins have had 17 games with an OPS of less than 0.500. Typically, teams find a way to scratch across 1 or 2 runs when this happens. The Twins, however, have been more frequently shut out on these occasions. The right side of the graph has missing runs as well. The Twins have had 6 games with an OPS of more than 1.100 and only once scored more runs than expected in these games. For example, the Twins had a 1.132 OPS against Michael Kopech and the White Sox on July 5th but only scored 8 runs. A typical team scores 10 runs with that kind of production. There are two missing runs. (Rest easy, the Twins won 8 to 2.) Why the Twins don't turn OPS into runs is still up for debate. But it's clear that it happens at both ends of the spectrum: in the games where the lineup struggles and in games where it mashes.
  12. The Twins are 5th in baseball in team OPS but only 13th in runs scored per game. An additional 0.19 runs per game would move them to 5th in run scored per game, suggesting there are 18 missing runs. Where are they and why are they missing? The above graph shows, for each Twins game this season, their game-specific team OPS and the runs scored in red. The solid red line is a moving average specific to the Twins. It measures how many runs the Twins typically score in a game given the OPS on the x axis. The solid gray line is the rest of the MLB. You can interpret these lines as "how each group turns OPS into runs". For example, when the Twins have an OPS around 0.600, they typically score 3 runs. Ditto for the rest of the MLB. The more interesting story appears where the lines diverge. Where the Twins line is lower than the MLB line, there are missing runs. The left side of the graph shows missing runs in games where the Twins bats go cold. The Twins have had 17 games with an OPS of less than 0.500. Typically, teams find a way to scratch across 1 or 2 runs when this happens. The Twins, however, have been more frequently shut out on these occasions. The right side of the graph has missing runs as well. The Twins have had 6 games with an OPS of more than 1.100 and only once scored more runs than expected in these games. For example, the Twins had a 1.132 OPS against Michael Kopech and the White Sox on July 5th but only scored 8 runs. A typical team scores 10 runs with that kind of production. There are two missing runs. (Rest easy, the Twins won 8 to 2.) Why the Twins don't turn OPS into runs is still up for debate. But it's clear that it happens at both ends of the spectrum: in the games where the lineup struggles and in games where it mashes. View full article
  13. A manager's decision to pull a starting pitcher or squeeze another inning out of them is often criticized. Rocco Baldelli, who tends to pull pitchers quickly, is no exception. But what goes into that decision and how should we assess the effectiveness of Baldelli's quick hook? The above graph shows OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) against each starting pitcher separated by times through the order. So for example, it shows that hitters have a 0.786 OPS when hitting against Joe Ryan for the second time in a game. The size of the points indicate fraction of pitches. Chris Archer has only pitched to 10 hitters for a third time in a game (mercifully, it seems). The pattern for most pitchers is clear: the scales tip toward the batter with each successive time through the lineup. So for Rocco Baldelli, the urge to call on the bullpen should strengthen each time opposing lineups turn over. For comparison's sake, consider the group of middle relievers comprised of Tyler Duffey, Caleb Thielbar, Emilio Pagán, Jovani Moran, and Trevor Megill. That group has an OPS against of 0.636. So while turning to the bullpen often has not been pretty, it's still a much better option than having the likes of Chris Archer, Dylan Bundy, or Devin Smeltzer face a hitter for a 3rd time. View full article
  14. The above graph shows OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) against each starting pitcher separated by times through the order. So for example, it shows that hitters have a 0.786 OPS when hitting against Joe Ryan for the second time in a game. The size of the points indicate fraction of pitches. Chris Archer has only pitched to 10 hitters for a third time in a game (mercifully, it seems). The pattern for most pitchers is clear: the scales tip toward the batter with each successive time through the lineup. So for Rocco Baldelli, the urge to call on the bullpen should strengthen each time opposing lineups turn over. For comparison's sake, consider the group of middle relievers comprised of Tyler Duffey, Caleb Thielbar, Emilio Pagán, Jovani Moran, and Trevor Megill. That group has an OPS against of 0.636. So while turning to the bullpen often has not been pretty, it's still a much better option than having the likes of Chris Archer, Dylan Bundy, or Devin Smeltzer face a hitter for a 3rd time.
  15. Luis Arraez has been named to his first All-Star team, so it seems appropriate to reflect on what makes him such a dynamic hitter. What differentiates him from the rest of the Twins lineup? The above chart shows Arraez's on-base percentage (as well as the on-base percentage of his teammates as a group) after combining all the at-bats that had a given count. So for example, his on-base percentage from a 0-0 count is his published on-base percentage (an AL-high 0.420) and his on-base percentage from 1-0 is his on-base percentage for all at-bats that begin with a ball. Here are the things that stand out: Luis Arraez is better at getting on base from every count than his teammates. That's not a huge surprise. Arraez is better from an 0-1 count (0.333 on-base percentage) than his teammates are from 0-0 (0.312 on-base percentage). In fact, only 5 Twins hitters have higher on-base percentages from 0-0 than Arraez from 0-1 counts. Getting to 2 strikes doesn't faze Arraez much. Look at the loss in on-base percentage for his Twins peers in going from 0-1 to 0-2 or 1-1 to 1-2. It's substantial. But not so for Arraez. He loses barely any on-base percentage from taking a second strike. From 0-2 counts, Arraez has an incredible 0.300 on-base percentage. He's more likely to get on base behind 0-2 than are Byron Buxton, Jose Miranda, Ryan Jeffers, and Gary Sanchez from empty counts. Falling behind Arraez in the count is a death sentence for pitchers. He has a 0.513 on-base percentage from 1-0 counts and a 0.733 on-base percentage (!) from 2-0 counts. The hallmark of a great contact hitter is the lack of any clear weakness to exploit. Because of his ability to handle the bat and trouble pitchers from any count, Arraez clearly has that trait. He's a savant at the plate and now a deserving All-Star. View full article
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