Previewing the Minnesota Twins | The Process Report

Previewing the Minnesota Twins

Gonna be a quickie today, but did want to show the numbers, and also add some quick comments. The Twins have enjoyed more rest than any other team to start the season having played seven (7!) fewer games than the Rays. This has allowed them to act aggressively with their bullpen when needed, but also afforded their position players plenty of rest to keep the lingering ailments attributable to #TheGrind at bay. It won’t always be that way for them as the schedule always catches up. On the other hand, the Rays are battle-tested at this point after mostly conquering a brutal schedule to start the year. They’ll start getting more days off, and will be able to get everybody more rest including the blessed back to back days off. We’re almost there.

Over the last 30 days at the team level you can see the Rays still giving so much of the value of their hard contact back thanks to the strikeout, but they’re also still walking more than any team in the league. The Twins bring a lot of the walks without nearly the strikeouts, and are also walloping the ball as much as any team in the league when they put it in play.

Thing about their contact is that it looks like they’ve underperformed expectations thus far this year. It’s a small amount that does more to confirm that, yes, they’re hitting the piss out of the ball this year than anything else. The Rays trail them by a good bit on expectations, but have seen better results in actuality.

Dozier and Sano are the big bats that can really hurt you. Both are righties that bat near each other so one reliever might be able to kill two birds. Joe Mauer is the good lefty stick and balances their whiff and slug by being more contact-driven and getting on base.

We see some separation in the other direction here as the Rays pitching has been exemplary over the last 30 days while the Twins, not so much. They don’t strike anybody out, and have nearly as many walks as the Rays despite nearly 200 fewer plate appearances. They also get whacked when they do give up all those balls in play. The Rays have done everything well, though limiting the walks a bit further would help them ascend to the very best in the league.

Both teams have been fortunate on balls in play, but the Twins much more so. That doesn’t include their underrated closer Brandon Kintzler who has pitched surprisingly well, and better than his traditional numbers may indicate. With luck the Rays should avoid both Berrios and Santana who are incredibly good.

Looking at total production yielded you can see a couple of good relievers to go with the avoidable starters and then the rest of their rotation getting hammered at the bottom. Santiago goes tonight, and will be a good test for a Rays team that has struggled with lefties. If Santiago is walking guys it will be a short night for him.

This is a series the Rays can absolutely take if they are truly able to avoid the two stud starters for the Twins. Tampa Bay has a noted advantage with their arms, both in the rotation, but also in the bullpen. The bats are closer than they are far as the Rays big weakness, the strikeout, is something the Twins run from as if it were the plague.

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