Minnesota Twins Deserve the AL Central

Minnesota Twins
DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 19: A detailed view of a Minnesota Twins baseball hat and a Rawlings glove sitting on the dugout steps during the game against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on September 19, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. The Twins defeated the Tigers 8-2. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Minnesota Twins Best in AL Central

At the risk of stating the obvious, the Minnesota Twins deserve to take the AL Central division crown and head into the playoffs. There are many reasons as to why, and a lot of it has to do with the complete brand of baseball the Twins have been playing. There has not really been a huge streak of wretched play, and they have really come into their own heading into the final September push to take the division.

The Minnesota Twins Offense

Since the beginning of August, the Twins have had one of the best offenses in the league. The Twins hold a slash line of .278/.348/.493. Their OPS of .841 ranks fifth in all of MLB and third in the American League. They’ve scored the second-most runs in baseball at 211. Only the Houston Astros have scored more runs. The Twins have also continued their record-setting pace with home runs and have 63 since August 1st and sit third in baseball in that category.

The Twins have also done well to maintain consistency with their offense all year. They lead the league in home runs and in runs scored. Their OPS of .839 also is tops in all of baseball. Leading the charge of this all is the Ageless wonder, Nelson Cruz. Cruz is slashing .305/.385/.631 and has mashed his way to 35 homers and 92 RBIs.

The Twins have three players with more than 90 RBIs on the year. The only other team that has that going for them is the Boston Red Sox. Any way you slice the offense, they are impressive.

The Minnesota Starters

The Twins’ rotation isn’t going to blow anyone away, but what they have been is consistent and steady. Their ERA of 4.15 trails the division rival Cleveland Indians, but the starters have done well keeping the vaunted Twins offense in the games. The rotation has only walked 7.0% of batters and that’s good for sixth in all of baseball. Walks can make or break a pitching staff. This staff has done well doing that while still maintaining a decent strikeout percentage of 22.1%.

The pitching staff has been led by Jose Berrios and Jake Odorizzi for most of the year. After a crazy start to the season, Odorizzi has regressed to career normal numbers but has still been good. He has thrown 142 innings this year and has a 3.61 ERA and a FIP to back it up at 3.66. He has walked his fair share of batters, at an 8.3% rate, but he has also struck out batters at a 25.7% rate. Berrios has had similar numbers, with a 3.78 ERA over 174 innings. He has faired better with walks at a 6.1% rate and a little worse with strikeouts at a 22.9% clip.

The rotation hasn’t been the strong point of the club, but it has been a steady contributor.

The Twins Bullpen

The Minnesota Twins as a team have had a solid bullpen. The unit as a whole has a 4.18 ERA which puts them inside the top 10 and right up with their with playoff contenders. The bullpen does not put runners on base as they lead the MLB with a 7.6% of batters walked. The team couples that with a 24.2% strikeout rate. The trouble with the bullpen is the rate at which they strand runners. It’s at a 71.8% clip and that is good for 18th in the entire MLB.

The Twins have used 27 different relievers this year, which does include position players as well. The most impactful arm the bullpen has had this year is Taylor Rogers. He has thrown 61.1 innings this year to the tune of a 2.49 ERA. Rogers has left 88% of baserunners stranded this year and that mark would be good to call him the team’s “fireman” when it comes to situations. He has done that with a 31.7 K% and a dominance only bested by Tyler Duffey on the Twins.

The Minnesota Twins Deserve It

This is the year the Minnesota Twins enter the playoffs and could be in a position to make some noise. Their consistent approach across three facets of the game should get them there as the AL Central Division champions. The Twins have done their fair share of beating up on mediocre to bad teams, but they have also shown they can hang with the big guns of the AL by amassing a 20-20 record against the team’s leading AL divisions or in the hunt for the Wild Card. This is the year the Twins take the division, and their team has earned it.

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