This team is just one win a way from 90 with 13 games left to play, making it very likely they will win at least 90 games for the first time since 2006, and the fourth time they have done so in ten years. Since moving to Minnesota in 1961, the Twins have had twelve 90+ win seasons. I’ll have a much more definitive look at the all-time greatest Twins teams once the season is over, but for right now, here’s a quick-and-dirty look at how the current squad stacks up among the teams that have won at least 90 games:
1962: 91-97, 98 OPS+, 106 ERA+, finished second in the AL and failed to make the playoffs.
1963: 91-70, 108 OPS+, 112 ERA+, finished third in the AL and failed to make the playoffs.
1965: 102-60, 100 OPS+, 114 ERA+, finished first in the AL and lost to the Dodgers in the World Series, 4 games to 3. Perhaps the greatest Twins team of all time, the 1965 squad was a buzzsaw that tore its way through the American League. Only Sandy Koufax could stop them.
1967: 91-71, 93 OPS+, 111 ERA+, finished second in the AL and failed to qualify for postseason contention.
1969: 97-65, 106 OPS+, 114 ERA+, Won the AL West, but got swept out of the ALCS by the Baltimore Orioles.
1970: 98-64, 98 OPS+,118 ERA+ Second verse, same as the first: won the AL West, but got swept out of the ALCS by the Baltimore Orioles.
1988: 91-71, 110 OPS+, 104 ERA+, This team won six more games than the’87 squad, yet they failed to make the playoffs. They finished second in the AL West.
1991: 95-67, 107 OPS+,116 ERA+, clinched the AL West and beat the Atlanta Braves in the World Series in seven games. I was in the third grade at the time, and the principal of our school let us skip school and go to the parade. From a personal standpoint, this was the greatest Twins team of all time.
1992: 90-72, 103 OPS+, 109 ERA+, finished second in the AL West and failed to qualify for postseason contention.
2002: 94-67, 103 OPS+, 109 ERA+, ran away with the AL Central and beat Oakland in the ALDS in five games. They lost the ALCS to the eventual world-series champion Angels, 4 games to 1.
2003: 90-72, 102 OPS+, 103 ERA+, won the AL Central, but lost in the ALDS to the Yankees, 3 games to 1.
2004: 92-70, 95 OPS+, 117 ERA+, won the AL Central, but lost in the ALDS to the Yankees, 3 games to 1.
2006: 96-66, 101 OPS+, 114 ERA+, won the AL Central, but got swept in the ALDS by Oakland.
2010: 89-59, 105 OPS+, 114 ERA+, currently leads the division by ten games and could clinch as soon as Tuesday. At first glance, it looks like this might be the best Twins team since 1991. While they did get slightly better pitching from the 2004 team, the offense is much, much stronger (yes, even with a slumping Denard Span leading off). Obviously, it remains to be seen how the season will play out. The Twins haven’t even clinched the division yet and they face a tough road in the postseason, with both the Yankees and the Rays among the best teams in the American League. This team probably ranks among the five best in franchise history, though, and whatever happens the rest of the season, it should be really fun to watch.