Minnesota Twins: Quarter Season Review


The Minnesota Twins have been one of the biggest surprises in baseball this year. Through their first 43 games they are sitting 7 games over .500 at 25-18. A team that most predicted would spend the year in the AL Central cellar has now leapfrogged the Detroit Tigers into second place in the division and an AL Wildcard spot. All of this has been accomplished without their richest free agent procurement in team history, Ervin Santana, who should return to the team around the All-Star break. As we have drawn just past the quarter mark in the 2015 season, here is a look at some of the keys and obstacles to the Twins success.

Despite a hapless 1-6 start, the Twins have been the hottest team in the league in May. So far this month they have amassed a 15-6 record, winning 15 games in a month for the first time since a 16 win July 2011 (there’s still 6 more games in May gang). The Twins have also turned Target field into a fortress with a record of 14-6 at home and an almost .500 11-12 on the road. The Twins return home on Memorial Day to play 12 of their next 16 games at Target field and will face opponents currently under .500 on the season in 16 of their next 19 games.

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Minnesota’s pitching has been the biggest difference this season. Ranked dead last in the league in 2014, the Twins currently rank 20th in the majors. The Twins are still struggling to record strikeouts, sitting dead last in the league, a full 25 Ks behind the next to last Rockies but conversely, have the third fewest walks in the league. The Twins also have Tommy Milone waiting in the wings at AAA Rochester. Milone seems to have taken umbrage to being demoted; giving up just a single earned run in 31.2 IP with 41 SO in his four starts in the minors so far. It will be interesting to see who may give way to Milone if anyone. For the Twins Trevor May just came off a career best 10K beating of the White Sox, Kyle Gibson has pitched to a 2.72 ERA through his first 56 innings, even Mike Pelfrey, who drew the ire of many Twins fans last season, is off to a solid start.

Minnesota’s bullpen has been steady, if unspectacular. Currently ranked 21st in the league, the back end has been led by early season struggler Blaine Boyer, who just came off a 17.2 inning scoreless streak and whom currently holds an impressive 2.45 ERA through 22 innings pitched. Glen Perkins has also been phenomenal for the Twins; converting 17 out of 17 save opportunities to currently hold the MLB lead in saves.

The Twins have not been without their struggles. Many of the clubs younger offensive players have struggled to find their form. Oswaldo Arcia was struggling before being injured and is currently rehabbing at AAA Rochester. Kennys Vargas has been unable to replicate his power stroke from 2014. Perhaps most disappointing has been Danny Santana. I wrote here preseason about Paul Molitor’s desire to have a leadoff hitter with an OBP approaching .370, Santana’s currently sits at a lowly .253, a mere 20 points higher than his batting average (he has walked twice this season if you’re wondering). All this with a remarkably respectable .324 BABIP does not bode well for Santana, who has also committed 10 errors in the field.

Every Twins fans would have taken their current record through their first 43 games. Time will tell if their level of play is sustainable, but at 7 games north of .500, the number 6 pick in an admittedly weak draft class arriving on June 8th and a litany of excellent prospects at AA Chattanooga, the Twins appear to have a bright future ahead of them.