Multiple Minnesota Twins players can make argument on August award
Major League Baseball announced Manny Machado as the August Player of the Month. Could multiple Minnesota Twins have had better arguments for the award?
The Minnesota Twins had a tremendous month of August, going 20-10 as a team and seeing many players hit and pitch very well at an individual level.
When Major League Baseball announced Manny Machado as the American League player of the month for August, most looked at his numbers for the month and accepted that, yes, he did have a tremendous month. However, upon further review, multiple Minnesota Twins players had an excellent argument.
First, let’s get Machado’s numbers on the line. Machado hit .341/.348/.690/1.039 with 23 runs, 6 doubles, a triple, 12 home runs, 35 RBI, 3 steals, and a 3/11 BB/K ratio over 29 games and 132 plate appearances. To get into more deep stats, he posted a 1.548 WPA, 12.95 RE24, and a 166 OPS+.
Now, let’s see who could have had a legit argument wearing the “TC” on their cap:
Buxton was a human highlight reel in August. He hit .324/.354/.619/.973 with 22 runs, 3 doubles, 2 triples, 8 home runs, 22 RBI, and 8 stolen bases, posting a 5/27 BB/K ratio. He also posted a 152 OPS+, 1.069 WPA, and 9.62 RE24.
So, there’s not much statistically that Buxton did at the plate that puts him ahead of Machado. Well, except one thing, one thing that leads to a second thing. Machado stole 3 bases. Buxton stole 8, but on top of that, he set a speed record on an inside the park home run. That speed also allowed Buxton to continue his league-leading season in center field in defensive runs saved. While Machado has an excellent reputation, the eye test and statistics have shown that Machado has had a significant off season in the field this season.
Am I saying that Machado is a bad defender by any means? No, not at all. I’m saying that Buxton is an uber-elite defender and runner along with hitting statistics that were on par with Machado’s, and a “player of the month” would seem to take into consideration all contributions from the player.
Polanco is the guy who has the certain stats to blow Machado’s out of the water. Polanco hit .373/.413/.685/1.099 with 16 runs, 10 doubles, 2 triples, 6 home runs, 23 RBI, and 4 stolen bases, posting a 7/16 BB/K ratio. Polanco also had a 185 OPS+, 1.682 WPA, and 13.55 RE24.
Polanco has all of the statistics. He plays the more difficult position, though he’s admittedly a league average shortstop, but still, he’s a shortstop. The only thing that Jorge Polanco doesn’t seem to have that Machado does is home runs…and fame.
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Just like 2016, Dozier has been hitting well in the second half, albeit not just with home runs. In August, Dozier was the key to the Twins offense, hitting .319/.419/.603/1.023 with 27 runs, 4 doubles, a triple, 9 home runs, 22 RBI, 4 stolen bases, and 18/22 BB/K ratio. He posted an OPS+ of 168, though oddly, he only posted a 0.465 WPA, and a 10.12 RE24.
Part of why the two value metrics being lower is that Dozier bats leadoff, and WPA often hurts leadoff hitters.
Dozier also plays an up the middle position and plays it well, and his numbers were absolutely on par with Machado’s in every way, though he was certainly on base a significant amount more for his team, providing his team significant value.
Eddie Rosario and Joe Mauer each had pieces of their month that outpaced Machado as well, but their overall impression was a tougher argument to make.
Next: Twins Minor League Awards
Looks like while Machado was a deserving choice, there were certainly some Twins that deserved a longer look as well! What do you think? Comment below!!