Friday, July 25, 2014

Minnesota Twins July Power Rankings!

Is it really almost the end of July?  Is the 2014 MLB season really over 100 games deep?  Is it really annoying to ask three hypothetical questions because the writer can't think of an introduction?  As always, these POWER RANKINGS are cumulative, so a hot July is not more or less important than a hot April.  If I have one rule in life, it is that a hot July is not more important than a hot April.

I wanted to write about Kendrys Morales, but a top 250 list would have taken forever.  Plus, he got traded.  Onward!

Correia's most recent start was a dud, but he had been pretty great over the eleven starts before that.  In fact, I had argued that the Twins should hang on to Correia for the rest of the season and I had even started to think that he might be worth extending.  Yikes.  I wonder if Correia has some sort of mind-control device, but really bad instincts on who to use it on.  Of course, his low-strikeout act is always a risky one, so he could be reverting back to his early season form before our very eyes.  It will be very interesting to see if a team makes a decent offer for him. 

A June swoon had me reconsidering my entire Eddie 400 campaign.  I became very disillusioned.  I had my Eddie 400 tattoo converted back to my old Eddie Van Halen 400 albums request tattoo.  I'm wondering if I need to get it changed back again.  In July, Escobar has a .273/.322/.364 batting line, not great, but passable for a shortstop and much more realistic considering his level of talent.  If he can keep those numbers up through the end of the season, I'd see no reason to shop for a new shortstop in the offseason.  Escobar works for me as a stopgap between the "talent" of recent past and the talent in the farm system. 

8.  Sam Fuld
Welcome to the Power Rankings, Sam Fuld!  I would have bet my rather large collection of tunics that Sam Fuld would never appear on a list of top Twins performers.  Yet, here we are.  Fuld has easily surpassed Aaron Hicks' paltry 2014 performance and after a very slow start, he has rebounded to the tune of a 108 OPS+.  His defense has been passable in center and he's stolen 11 bases.  In all, Fuld has been a great in-season pickup.  Who would have thought?

Gibson missed his Wednesday start with a stiff lower back.  While a bad back is concerning, I'm much more concerned with Gibson's vanishing strikeout rate.  His K% had risen in each of the first three months of the season, but that rate has plummeted in 14 July innings.  Eh, small sample, whatever.  More concerning is his paltry 8.4% strikeout rate against lefties this season.  In fact, his strikeout-to-walk ratio against lefties is just barely greater than one.  If Gibson can't find a way to get that K% against lefties into the teens, he's going to struggle to consistently make it through balanced lineups. 

That said, he's been the Twins' second-best starter this season.  Take that for what it's worth. 

Plouffe has become a serviceable player.  Since 2012, he has a 99 OPS+ and he's produced about 4.6 rWAR.  I'm not sure what the trade market for a guy like Plouffe is, but it seems like there would be a team out there who could use him.  Plouffe's future with the Twins is not clear.  Miguel Sano should be ready for third base in 2015 and Plouffe could make around $4 or $5 million in arbitration next season.  Plouffe has 29 doubles this season, and that's a lot.  Just wedging that in there.

Awesome.  9 pitches and now home-field advantage in the World Series is locked in for the Twins.  Perkins currently has the same strikeout total as Gibson and Correia.  I'll let you figure out who has thrown the fewest innings of the three.

Suzuki has been one of the tougher batters to strike out over the last few years.  Jason Kubel had twice the amount of strikeouts in half of the at-bats.  Of course, Suzuki isn't just good because he's better than Jason Kubel.  He's played over 80% of the Twins' games and he's provided decent defense.  His pitch-framing skills aren't great, but he can handle the position. 

Offensively, he's been great.  In fact, he's produced about as well as I thought Josmil Pinto could have performed if he had been given regular time (115 OPS+).  Remember that guy?  Kurt Suzuki made you forget about one of the more exciting young players on the roster.  That's how powerful he is.

Hughes has been slumping lately, but I as I wrote about on Monday, I'm not worried.  He's going through a terribly unlucky stretch where just about every ball put in play is a hit.  That's an exaggeration, but it certainly feels like it.  He'll bounce back.  Even with a slump, he's easily been the most valuable pitcher on the Twins' staff and his contract looks like a bargain.  I wonder when the extension talks start...

Dozier since May 20:  .200/.300/.397.  Yikes.  It's been clear that Dozier is scuffling a bit, but I didn't realize how long he had been struggling.  He has eight home runs during that span, but just 4 stolen bases and a walk rate under 10%.  He's been a consistently streaky player and his overall numbers are still pretty good.  However, two months with the numbers presented above is a concern.  Of course, he had built up so much value over the first two months that he's still easily the second-best player on the team. 

Who's first, you ask?

1.  Nobody
Controversy!  I am doing this for two reasons.  First, there is no one on the 2014 Twins who is truly deserving of being labeled "numba 1."  Dozier, Hughes and Suzuki have been consistently good, but hardly stunning.  Second, this is motivation.  I am doing my part to motivate the players ranked 2-10 (and those unranked as well; looking at you, Oswaldo Arcia).  Hopefully by this time in August, someone has knocked my socks off and rocketed to number 1 status.

In the meantime, the nine players on this top ten have at least contributed positively in 2014.  Somehow, this collection of dudes is on a 74-win pace, marking a fairly vast improvement from 2011-2013.  Can they maintain?  Can a few more players join them?  Can someone please answer my questions; I'm losing my mind?  Have a nice weekend, everyone!


  1. I do wish they'd bring Pinto back up. Sure, as well as Suzuki has played, he wouldn't get as much time playing catcher, but with Morales now gone and Mauer on the DL, get him to Minnesota, have him and Suzuki trade off between catching and DHing, or even teach him to play first and get him into the mix there from time to time.

    I have to agree with the no number one choice, too - they haven't looked too sharp lately. Perhaps Byron Buxton and Migel Sano should be #1, as they are what our hopes are pinned upon.

    1. I agree, Pinto needs to be back on the active roster. That guy can hit. I know he was slumping, but the Twins have to be willing to let young players slump. Brian Dozier has been awful for two months and he's been in the lineup every day. There's no reason to sit guys who just need time.