During the month of July players across all 30 major league franchises collectively hit 0.253/.317/.389. Minnesota Twins hitters fell well short of that mark with an OPS 69 points below the league average. It’s a truly staggering deficit that highlights how inept the offense has been of late. The team’s slash line was just 0.225/.286/.351 over the course of 26 July games. It was a rough month at the plate but they’ve surely hit rock bottom and have no where to go but up in August.
On a team level it’s no surprise they finished the month with a 9-17 record. Outside of a stretch from July 13th-27th where they went 8-3 the rest of the month was a very forgettable 1-14. They scored more than four runs just five times and, to make matters worse, lost two of those games.
July marked the first month that the Twins failed to win at least 10 games this season, but for all the disappointment that the month brought, one Twins hitter stood head and shoulders (no pun intended) above the rest of his teammates.
Of course one player can’t offset much when the rest of the roster collectively struggles to make contact, hit for power, or do much of anything else.
Brace yourselves for what follows because it gets real ugly in a hurry.
All-Star C Joe Mauer hit a robust 0.360/.437/.453 during the month with 27 hits in 20 games played. On the season he’s hitting 0.327/.409/.472 and among the AL leaders in BA (3rd), OBP (2nd), OPS (6th), 2B (2nd), BB (10th) and runs created (7th). He’s also first in the AL with a 48.4 CS%.
33-year old infielder Doug Bernier has also contributed in six games since being called up hitting 0.333/.467/.500. The small sample size (15 PA) disclaimer certainly applies, but there aren’t a lot of positives otherwise so I’m going to count it.
Ryan Doumit also lands in this category thanks to a 0.274/.327/.379 slash line in 104 PA. His SLG is actually below his season output but the BA and OBP are showing signs of life (baby steps right?). Of course it’s not all roses with Doumit as he’s below average in the field and on the basepaths. His July WAR according FanGraphs was 0.0 right on the nose and it’s not a surprise the team couldn’t find a suitor for his services prior to the non-waiver deadline.
Brian Dozier hit 0.240/.298/.417 in 23 July games. His 105 PA ranked second on the team and while the BA and OBP are far from impressive he lands here due to positive marks in both his fielding and baserunning. He was worth 0.6 wins above replacement for the month which trailed only Mauer among the team’s position players. Dozier has made a believer out of me and he’s one of the few players on the roster that I’m confident can be a productive piece of the team’s future.
Aaron Hicks hit 0.230/.292/.379 in 98 PA. His five steals accounted for nearly half of the team’s eleven and his 13 runs placed him first for the month. His 26.5 K% was not good but on this team that was the fifth best mark of the 16 players that stepped to the plate in July.
Ice Cold (warning – absurdly low OBP ahead):
Pedro Florimon hit 0.227/.256/.427 and needed just 78 plate appearances to tie for the team lead in RBI (11) and home runs (4) while finishing second in runs scored (12). Of all the players on the roster not named Mauer, he’s actually contributing more than what was expected of him and his fielding continues to be superb. Florimon was worth 0.5 WAR during July which ranked third on the team but when you’re OBP is just a tick above the average MLB BA for the month you deserve to be ranked in this category.
Jamey Carroll hit 0.222/.263/.250 and the fact he was given 38 plate appearances during the month speaks volumes about the present state of the Twins lineup and roster.
Chris Colabello: 0.216/.256/.378 in 39 PA
Chris Herrmann: 0.212/.256/.378 in 36 PA
Chris Parmelee: 0.200/.267/.350 in 45 PA
Trevor Plouffe: 0.189/.223/.300 in 94 PA
Clete Thomas: 0.182/.259/.260 in 85 PA
Justin Morneau hit four home runs during July which tied him for the team lead but they had little impact. Since the bulk of the lineup is OBP challenged he managed to drive in only five runs. Morneau hit 0.175/.266/.330 in 109 PA but his BB% (8.30) and K% (21.10) were respectable. Much has been made of his struggles but some of it was a result of a team low 0.186 BABIP and I continue to believe there’s still plenty left in the tank.
Oswaldo Arcia hit 0.159/.196/.182 in 46 PA before he was sent back to Rochester to get back on track. It was a move that needed to be made and his 2.20 BB% and 37.00 K%, which were both worst on the team, certainly backed up the reasoning. Not that anyone questioned it.
Eduardo Escobar: 0.154/.214/.154 in 14 PA
Drew Butera: 0-3 in 3 PA
Up next, we review the rotation.