Winning a series in New York is becoming old hat. The Twins took two of three from the Yankees in Yankee Stadium for the second year in a row. They exploded for six runs in the top of the ninth, with most of the damage being done off of the generally dominant David Robertson. Phil Hughes won his sixth game and pitched extremely well in his return to Yankee Stadium. In fact, all three starters pitched well this weekend. Not surprisingly, the Twins won the series.
On the negative side, Mauer had another poor series in New York, although I'm still not ready to join the "concerned" camp. In fact, Parker Hageman's article on Twins Daily last week made me feel much better about Mauer's slow start. Basically, he showed how teams are taking away Mauer's opposite-field power. Not surprisingly, Mauer's power is way down in 2014 and he's even making contact at a lower rate.
That said, there are plenty of important stats that point toward some improvement in the near future. His line drive rate is right in line with some of his best seasons. His strikeout rate isn't much higher than last season, when he posted a 144 wRC+ and that rate is slowly decreasing. His plate discipline numbers are still borderline elite.
Hageman points out that Mauer needs to adjust to the adjustments, something that I am confident he can do. While Mauer's 2014 season is currently a disaster, I could still see Mauer finishing this season as the best hitter on the team. Mauer may never be 40% better than the average hitter going forward, but I don't think he's washed up just yet.
Correia has been better in his last three starts. Since I called for his head a couple weeks ago, he has made three starts, pitched 19 innings and given up just eight earned runs. He had 14 strikeouts with just two walks in those three starts. During that time, he lowered his ERA from 6.80 to 5.87, which is obviously a huge improvement. On Saturday, he gave up a bunch of hits, but he kept the Twins in the game against a pretty good team.
I hope that Correia can get back to being the surprisingly effective pitcher he was last season. Obviously, that helps my favorite team win games. I don't see much of a future for Correia in Minnesota, but hopefully he can build some value in his next 6-8 starts. I imagine the Twins will be shopping Correia in July and with any luck they can something decent in return.
Isn't it great to have these two back? Any lineup gets so much better with two actual MLB-quality hitters added. These two quality hitters combined to drive in six of the Twins' 14 runs over the weekend. They combined for five home runs last week. Adding their power to the lineup can only help, especially if the guys at the top of the lineup can get back to their high-OBP ways.
Former Twin Update - Carlos Gomez
Well, Carlos Gomez appears to be a superstar. Through Sunday, Gomez sits at 2.6 fWAR, good for 7th in the Majors. Most impressively, almost all of that number comes from his hitting. He had a 166 wRC+ as of Saturday, meaning he was 66% better at the plate than the average player. His defense only rates slightly above average and his baserunning has actually been slightly below average. When Gomez broke out last year, he was a good hitter, a great baserunner and a superstar defender. Now, he appears to be a superstar hitter. His walk rate is better than the NL average and his strikeout rate isn't really that high for the power hitter he appears to have rounded into.
I'm sure there are Twins fans weeping and screaming right now, but on Wednesday, I'll explain why we shouldn't be upset. Oh, the suspense!
Fun Stat - No Walks in May
Phil Hughes has been a revelation for the Twins. He started slow, but was dominant in May. In fact, Hughes did not issue a single walk in the month of May. Going an entire month without issuing a walk is impressive. In fact, no starter in Twins' history (throwing at least 15 innings) has gone the entire month of May without issuing a walk. Hughes threw 33.1 innings this May and interestingly enough, Brad Radke threw 33.1 innings in May of 2001 and issued just one walk. Math tells me that Hughes was infinitely better than Radke.
To take this a step further, Hughes' May is a Twins record for most innings pitched without issuing a walk in a single month. Prior to Hughes' walk-less May, the record was 27.1 innings in a single month. That record was set in September of 2011. The man who set that record? The Great Kevin Slowey. Slowey posted a 7.57 ERA that month. That was part of his charm.
I tweeted this picture out about three times, so you know I'm proud of it. If you follow me on Twitter, you'd already be sick of this picture! Oddly enough, as I was working on it, the great Andrew Walter, Twins Fan From Afar, was on my wavelength:
Before ultimately being shot in CA, working title of "Angles in the Outfield" was "Infielders in the Outfield" when @Twins were to host film
— Andrew Walter (@MNfanfromafar) May 28, 2014
Follow him on Twitter, he has great Twins and New Britain Rock Cats takes.
Then, I found out that another Twins twitter personality was working on the same thing!
@bridman77 I was literally working on this in MS Paint when you posted it.
— Greg (@glp_vt) May 28, 2014
Then, I realized that he wrote an Aaron Hicks article that I really enjoyed. You should read it. And follow him on Twitter. In summary, the internet Twins community is great.
Let's Get Excited about a Prospect! - Trevor May
Trevor May has not allowed a run in his last four starts. He has thrown 55 innings this season, with 54 strikeouts and just 22 walks. I've been high on May since the Twins acquired him for Ben Revere. While May didn't put up huge numbers in 2013, he made every scheduled start. In fact, May hasn't missed a start since 2010. Now, he's combining performance with durability. He's a big guy with a big frame and big stuff. He's on the 40-man roster and I think it's very likely he slides into the rotation the next time someone is needed. He may not leave the rotation for a long time. I'm excited!
Random Link - All-Time Twins Team
Jesse at TwinkieTown posted something really fun last week. You have to build a team of 11 Twins players with a $33 budget. Players cost from $1 to $5. There are some pretty great values too. Brian Dozier is just $2. Shane Mack was just $3. Matt Lawton was just a buck! Anyway, you should check it out and build your team. Because I am the Bugs Bunny of Twins blog-guys, I couldn't resist making an obvious joke:
.@TwinkieTown Here's my team and I'm pocketing the extra dollar in honor of the Pohlads. pic.twitter.com/75N3tCGEQ8
— Brad Swanson (@bridman77) May 30, 2014
Ain't I a stinker?
Plugging My Way - Draft Stuff
Last year, I wrote recaps of each of the Twins' drafts from 1988 to 2013. I looked at all kinds of important things: fun names, what ifs, fun facts and more! Here's a fun fact from 1999 to whet your appetite:
- I briefly thought that Barry Quickstad's name was Barry Quicksand. Once I realized my error, I completely lost interest in Barry Quickstad.
Yeah! If you want to read any or all of these draft recaps, I put them all in an archive. Here's the link. Enjoy!
Speaking of the draft, the Twins will select fifth overall on Thursday night. The last three years have been really hard to watch, but in the end, the Twins will benefit because they will come away with Byron Buxton, Kohl Stewart and the guy they draft this week. No one likes to lose, but those guys should help the Twins win in the future. Have a great week, everyone!