“Hot” Minnesota Twins – Not Just An August Thing

TORONTO, ON - AUGUST 27: Byron Buxton
TORONTO, ON - AUGUST 27: Byron Buxton /

As the Minnesota Twins perform well into September, we look back to see how far back the hot streaks go.

The Minnesota Twins have seen a number of Twins players put up incredible numbers in August of 2017, but many of those players saw their “hot” streaks begin far before August.

Hot bats

The most publicized bat got hot way before August. It seems that August has re-awakened the general public to the brilliance of Byron Buxton. In August, Buxton hit .324/.354/.619 with 3 doubles, 2 triples, 8 home runs, and 8 stolen bases. Buxton had missed roughly half a month in July before returning on August 1st. However, if you go back to July 1st, Buxton has even better numbers, .338/.378/.596, with 4 doubles, 2 triples, 9 home runs, and 11 steals.

Jorge Polanco‘s big August was probably the most notable. He only went hitless 3 games in the entire month and hit .373/.413/.686 with 10 doubles, 2 triples, 6 home runs, and 4 stolen bases. Polanco, however could be the literal August-only guy, as he hit .078/.158/.118 in July before going off in August, though Polanco has kept things going in September thus far a couple games in.

Eddie Rosario certainly provided big power on the month, hitting .307/.339/.605 with 7 doubles and 9 home runs. while he hasn’t had as much power, since July 1st, he’s had the same OPS, with a .313/.352/.556 line with 18 doubles, 10 home runs, and 3 steals. Really, Rosario’s season can be traced back to mid-April, when he went from hitting .154/.214/.179 to hitting .307/.343/.535 from that point until the end of August with 27 doubles, 20 home runs, and 4 steals.

The veteran mentor of the club, Joe Mauer, had a monster August as well, hitting .336/.405/.458 with 8 doubles, a triple, and a home run. However, Joe’s really been on a role since his average dipped down to .270 just before the Cleveland series in late June that the Twins swept on the road. Since that series, Joe’s hit .318/.413/.426 with 13 doubles, a triple, 2 home runs, and put up a 31/28 BB/K ratio, leading the top of the lineup.

Last season, the second half that Brian Dozier had was one of legend, yet he’s building on it this year and producing in a similar way, if not with pure home run numbers. In August, Dozier tied for the team lead with 9 home runs, as he hit .319/.419/.603 with 4 doubles, a triple, 9 home runs, and 4 stolen bases. Since returning from the All-Star break, Dozier has hit .302/.389/.582 with 8 doubles, 2 triples, 13 home runs, and 4 stolen bases.

Hot arms

After a very hot start to the season, Ervin Santana had struggled mightily in June. He had an up-and-down July before turning it on again in August. His August numbers were a 3-0 record over 6 starts, throwing 39 2/3 innings, with a 2.95 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, and a 10/42 BB/K ratio. He’s one Twins pitcher who really has been much better since the calendar switched to August.

While not all of his starts are pretty, Bartolo Colon has impressed the Twins in his ability to fight through innings, getting the outs he needs and generally limiting damage. His August was very good, as he went 4-1 over the month in 6 starts, throwing 39 2/3 innings, with a 3.40 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, and 9/27 BB/K. If you turn the date back to his first start just after the All-Star break, he’s been solid every time out as a Twin, going 4-2 with a 55 innings, a 4.09 ERA, a 1.47 WHIP, and a 10/33 BB/K ratio, which doesn’t sound amazing, but it’s a far cry better than what he had done previously in the season and better than what the Twins had received out of his rotation spot.

Yes, Trevor Hildenberger had a very good August, making 13 appearances, throwing 12 1/3 innings, with a 2.19 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, and 1/13 BB/K ratio, but that’s not a terrible far cry from what he’s done ever since he was called up in June, making 25 appearances through August, with a 2.73 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, and a 4/34 BB/K ratio.

Alan Busenitz‘s excellent performance goes back further, but only one appearance further, as he was up in the Twins bullpen after being recalled on July 24th, but from that day until the first of August, he only made one appearance. In fact, add in that appearance, and Busenitz appeared just twice from the time he was called up on July 24th and his third appearance, which was on August 10th. Minnesota Twins manager Paul Molitor quickly realized that he had been ignoring a valuable asset in the bullpen, and, starting with that appearance August 10th, Busenitz made 9 appearances the rest of the month. His August ERA was 1.32, but his total line since he was recalled is 11 appearances, 14 2/3 innings pitched, a 1.23 ERA, a 0.48 WHIP (!!), and a 2/12 BB/K ratio.

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Based on his raw stuff, Ryan Pressly has always been a guy that Minnesota Twins fans had hoped could eventually be a closer, but the performance this season has just not been there. However, Pressly put up some of the numbers that matched his stuff in August, with 12 appearances, throwing 16 innings, with a 1.13 ERA, 0.50 WHIP, and a 3/9 BB/K ratio, but he really has been on a scorching pace since July 7th, after a blow up against the Royals on July 1st. From the 7th of July through the end of August, Pressly posted 20 appearances, 25 2/3 innings, a 1.75 ERA, 0.70 WHIP, and a 3/22 BB/K ratio.

One of the dominant August relievers who really was primarily an August guy, Taylor Rogers really had a bigger run of dominance this year, going from April 28th to July 22nd without allowing multiple runs in an appearance, putting up 33 appearances in that time, throwing 31 innings, with a 1.16 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, and a 5/22 BB/K ratio. In August, he wasn’t quite as dominant, but he righte the ship after a rough 5-game stretch, making 9 appearances, throwing 7 2/3 innings, with a 2.35 ERA and 1.29 WHIP, posting a 4/8 BB/K ratio.

Next: What to do with Mauer in 2018?

So while this past month was fun to watch, not all the excellent performances were focused just in August, and who’s to say which Twins player we look back on after September and cite a 2-week period of August as the beginning of his breakout?