Minnesota Twins Opening Day Countdown: 59, Notable futility

CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 31: Starting pitcher Pat Dean
CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 31: Starting pitcher Pat Dean /

The Minnesota Twins are just 59 days away from opening day in Baltimore. As we near that day, we will tap into Twins history related to each number as we get closer!

The Minnesota Twins are preparing for a 2018 season with expectations after making the playoffs in 2017 as a Wild Card. We will have bring out numbers from team history that represent the number of days until opening day on March 29th in Baltimore.

The Minnesota Twins are notable in that they have achieved two of their World Series titles in the year after finishing over 20 games out of first place. In a full season, the team’s lowest amount of wins in a season, however, was the 59 wins of 2016.

The 2016 season

The opening day lineup for the 2016 team was Kurt Suzuki at catcher, Joe Mauer at first base, Brian Dozier at second base, Trevor Plouffe at third base, Eduardo Escobar at shortstop, Eddie Rosario in left field, Byron Buxton in center field, Miguel Sano in right field, ByungHo Park at DH, and Ervin Santana on the mound.

Injuries decimated the starting rotation, with only Santana making 30 starts in the entire rotation and no one else getting 150 innings. Phil Hughes only threw 59 innings as one of the Twins opening day rotation. Tyler Duffey took his place in the rotation, posting a 6.43 ERA over 133 innings, so even the replacements into the rotation struggled mightily.

The Twins did have a young lineup, and they knew that could mean that they would see some ups and downs, but they didn’t expect the injuries that decimated the lineup, with only Brian Dozier playing in even 140 games. Beyond Dozier, only Joe Mauer even played 120 games.

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On top of the injuries, those who were healthy struggled. Dozier had a monstrous season, hitting 42 home runs with a .886 OPS. However, of the 17 hitters who accumulated 100 or more plate appearances for the Minnesota Twins in 2016, only 7 posted an OPS+ of 100 (league average).

However, even with the struggles at the plate, the team managed to score 4.46 runs per game, just under the league average of 4.52 runs per game. The team also hit 200 home runs, becoming just the third team to hit 200 home runs (the 2017 team would become the 4th).

Overall the pitching was the fifth-worst in team history, and it was easily the worst in the American League by over 3/4 of a run in pure runs per game. By ERA, the team was still worst in the AL, though just a half-run worse than the next closest team.

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As we get closer to opening day, we remember #59 by looking back at the rough 2016 season, the least amount of wins in a full season for the organization. It all makes the success of 2017 and direction of the team even more positive!

We look forward to that first day of the season against Baltimore!