Minnesota Twins: Puckett’s Patter – Dangerous Lumber Edition
This week on Puckett’s Patter look at the Minnesota Twins and their new-found will to win.
Welcome to the third week of Puckett’s Patter. The purpose of this feature is for Puckett’s Pond to provide for some fan interaction on a weekly basis. In order to participate, send a Twins related tweet to @PaulOverbee or @PuckettsPond with the hashtag #PuckettsPatter. I will take a sample of each week’s questions and thoughts, and I will address them on this weekly feature. For this week’s edition, we had a contribution from a new participant. We look forward to interacting with more fans from Twins’ Territory in the coming weeks, so keep the questions coming for next week’s edition.
First of all, thank you for the great question. Now that the Minnesota Twins have four wins under their belt, not only does it feel like the team has taken a step forward, but the fan optimism appears to have returned as well. It is quite interesting to see how a solid win-streak can make redress for over a week of extreme disappointment. Of course, it is important to figure out how the team was able to turn that corner, and the question from @LukasComstock directly addresses that issue. By quickly running through an analysis of the team to date, it becomes apparent that a lot of the blame to the slow start falls on the bats. At the same time, Twin fans should expect the team’s bats to continue improving as they have over the last three games.
To date, the Minnesota pitching staff has collectively allowed an earned run average of 3.68. Comparing that number to the Twins’ offensive average of 2.27 runs a game shows that Minnesota is on pace to lose a lot of games if nothing changes on either side of their game. The question becomes ‘where is the team best able to improve?” With a .215 batting average, the bats for Minnesota are currently the 5th weakest line-up in all of the Major Leagues. Additionally, that aforementioned 2.27 runs per game average is the worst in baseball.
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Last season, the Twins were at league average for total runs, but their batting average was still near the bottom of the league. To contrast these disappointing batting stats, Minnesota’s 3.68 earned run average is the 11th best in the majors. Of course, the pitching can always improve, but in 2015 the team finished the year with the 19th best pitching staff in the league. If the team wants to compete throughout 2016, the bats need to stay warm.
One popular statistic to look at how bats are performing is the batting average on balls in play (BABIP). The idea behind this statistic is that when a ball is ‘in play’ a.k.a. not a strikeout, home run, walk etc, then around 30% of those balls should result in a hit. As a team, the 2016 Minnesota Twins own a .282 BABIP, which would suggest that they are performing somewhat below expectations. Diving a bit deeper, it becomes obvious that players like Eduardo Nunez and his .818 BABIP may skew the team’s overall number. Fans should expect Nunez’s bat to cool somewhat, but other players like Eddie Rosario, Kurt Suzuki, and JR Murphy have been unlucky in their at bats. Another name to note is Brian Dozier, he is currently the owner of a BABIP that is 70 points lower than his previous season performance. All in all, it would appear that the bats should come around, the real question is whether the arms can hold up at the same time.
Next: 2001: A Minnesota Twins Odyssey
Feel free to join the discussion below in the comments or on Twitter. For next week, we’d like to hear who is your favorite Twin of 2016. A special thanks to @LukasComstock for providing some additional material for week three of Puckett’s Patter. Again, if you would like to participate in next week’s feature send a Twins related tweet to @PaulOverbee or @PuckettsPond with the hashtag #PuckettsPatter. We look forward to hearing from all of you.