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Minnesota Twins: 2013 Season in Review

The 2013 Minnesota Twins continued in the wrong direction.

Over the past three seasons, the Minnesota Twins have dropped more than 95 games in each. For most organizations, that would spell doom for their manager. Not in the case of the Twins.

In fact, Ron Gardenhire and his staff were brought back, and Gardenhire received a two-year extension. After receiving the AL Manager of the Year for the 2010 season, Gardy has done little winning. The Twins three-year absence from the postseason marks their longest stretch since Gardenhire became the skipper in 2002.

Sure, Gardenhire has a nice resume’, but a pair of last place finishes and last year’s fourth, doesn’t seem like the Twins the general baseball fan is used to seeing. I know how Twins fans feel.

Some Positives

The most obvious is Joe Mauer. He’s Joe Mauer. Next…

How about that Twins bullpen? Despite the fact it was the most used bullpen in the American League, the relief corps carved a nice season. Head to the team page on Baseball Reference. Only one pitcher used exclusively as a reliever posted an ERA+ under 100. The pen’s ERA of 3.50 was the AL’s fifth-best, the 1.22 WHIP was third-best, and the BB/9 of 2.87 was second-lowest.

One directive made prior to the 2013 season was aimed at Brian Dozier. He disappointed in 2012 and was not among their September call-ups. Dozier was assured by GM Terry Ryan and Gardenhire that they still wanted him to be a part of the organization. Dozier responded. His 18 home runs led the team while his 66 RBI was second. The triple-slash was the prettiest (.244/.312/.414), but the improvement over 2012 was visible.

Add the change of position from shortstop to second where Dozier’s DRS of 9 ranked third among all AL second basemen. This despite posting a UZR of -0.9 and a UZR/150 of -0.7.

Some Negatives

The list is long, but the main negative I’m going to cover points to the starting staff. In most stats, the starters were last or near the bottom of the AL. We stated how well the bullpen performed even with its excessive workload. Well, the starters pitches the least number of innings of any AL starting staff (871). That’s barely over 5.1 IP per start.

Let’s not forget that the starting rotation accumulated these numbers (AL ranks in parentheses).

ERA: 5.26 (15th)
BAA: .301 (15th)
SO%: 12.4% (15th)
WHIP: 1.54 (15th)
LOB%: 68.0% (15th)
xFIP: 4.56 (15th)
(Stats taken from Fangraphs)

I think you get the picture.

I will touch on the bats for a minute. Minnesota scored the AL’s third fewest runs (614, 3.79 R/G). And the Twins weren’t all that swell in bringing home those ducks on the pond. With RISP and 2 outs, Minnesota hit a paltry .216. Only four players topped .300 in those situations with only the aforementioned Dozier (.315) being a starter. The next highest among the starters: Mauer (.267).

Hot Stove

After seeing those ugly numbers from the starting rotation, it is of little surprise that the Twins are one of the more aggressive teams when it comes to landing a starting pitcher. They haven’t brought any into the fold thus far, but there are still a few arms they could bring like Ricky Nolasco and Bronson Arroyo, just to name a couple.

Yesterday’s trade for Kris Johnson was to add depth to the starting rotation, or so says GM Ryan (per Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com):

“We were looking for starting pitching.”

Not sure that’s the arm some had in mind…

There’s help coming…but it might be another year or two before that help arrives. Top-ranked, prospect Byron Buxton, along with Miguel Sano and Alex Meyer, should be members of the 25-man within the next two seasons. Meyer could be a September call-up next season.

Until then, well, 2014 might be another long season for Twins fans.

Tags: Minnesota Twins