The 2016 Minnesota Twins season got off to a very rough start, losing their first nine games. The Twinkies then went on to win the next four games, and that is how this season has pretty much been, lots of ups and downs. Minnesota went into the all-star break at 32-56, and dead last in the AL Central. Shortly after the Midsummer Classic the Twins shipped All-Star SS Eduardo Nunez to the San Francisco Giants for minor league pitcher Adalberto Mejia.
Today, August 9, the Twins sit at 46-67, still dead last in the AL Central, but drastically improving.Second-Baseman Brian Dozier leads the team with 23 Round-Trippers, and 63 RBIs. Long time Twin Joe Mauer, who has been the face of the franchise ever since Minnesota took with the first pick in the 2001 draft, leads the team with a .381 OBP. South Korean rookie DH/ first baseman Byung Ho Park started the season hot with 12 homers, but cooled off and, towards the end of June, was optioned to AAA Rochester. OF Oswaldo Arcia was sent to Tampa Bay at the trade deadline for cash or a player to be named later. Third Baseman Trevor Plouffe spent all of June on the DL with a broken rib. Sophomore RF/DH Miguel Sano has 18 dingers to go along with 47 RBIs and a .249 average.Aging Veteran catcher Kurt Suzuki only has 6 homers this 2016 campaign, but his 36 RBIs and .275 average are no joke. German imported rookie Max Kepler has been hitting the ball out at an alarming rate, setting the Twins record for RBIs by a rookie in a single game (7) in the process. Kepler’s stats this season include 15 homers, along with 45 RBIs and a .252 average.
The Twins pitching is what is bringing them down this year. The starters have not been consistently going far in games, and they have been giving up lots of runs. Tyler Duffey leads the rotation with just 7 wins, which would be almost last in most starting rotations. His 5.94 ERA is nothing to brag about, either. Ervin Santana leads the team with a 3.62 ERA and 93 strikeouts, but has just 5 wins to show for it. Relief pitcher Brandon Kintzler leads the roster with 10 saves and boasts a 1.91 ERA. Right-Handed Relief pitcher Ryan Pressly has 6 wins, a 3.52 ERA, and leads the team with 10 holds, which the MLB stopped keeping official stat of in 2005. A hold is recorded when a relief pitcher sets the closer up for a save, meets all the requirements for a save, but is pulled before the game ends.
This season may turn out to be a tale of too little, too late, but the future looks bright for this Minnesota lineup.Max Kepler, Byung Ho Park, and Miguel Sano are all young players who hit the ball very far, very often. Kurt Suzuki and Joe Mauer are both towards the end of their prime, but should produce for the next 2-3 seasons. Trevor Plouffe is on that list too, but in order for him to produce he will need to stay healthy, which has been a challenge for him recently.With Brian Dozier about to enter his prime, this lineup is in good shape. If rookie speedster Byron Buxton can find his groove and stay healthy in the Big Leagues, the team should be putting runs on the board night in, night out. If the team can fix up some deficiencies in the starting rotation the Twins could potentially be major contenders for the pennant in the fall of 2017.