The Twins — not unlike an un-housebroken puppy or racist grandma — are really hard to love. But rather than dwelling on the faults (i.e., the strong likelihood of a third consecutive 90-loss season), we decided to focus on positives as the team sputters into its final month of play. Here’s why it’s not all storm clouds in Twins Territory.
Brian Dozier stumbled last season, finishing his hyped rookie campaign back in Triple-A. This year, with an OPS of .747 combined with dazzling glovework, he’s a top-10 second baseman. The 26-year-old leads the club in home runs (17) and RBI (60). One of this year’s buzzing rooks delivered upon arrival. Hint: It’s not Aaron Hicks. Among 22-year-old Twins hitters with at least 250 at-bats, outfielder Oswaldo Arcia ranks fourth in all-time slugging percentage, according to blogger/stat-whiz Aaron Gleeman. The guys ahead of him? Kent Hrbek, David Ortiz and Tom Brunansky.
A flat 5 means the Twins have the worst combined starting rotation ERA in the bigs. Andrew Albers was the exception, beginning his pro career with back-to-back scoreless performances. The 27-year-old former independent leaguer has since come crashing to Earth, but he made for a pleasant August fairy tale. Samuel Deduno, 30, had spectacular numbers (7-4, 3.17 ERA) entering August, before a string of rough starts segued into an injured shoulder, landing him on the DL. Glen “Proven Closer” Perkins (32 saves, 2.63 ERA) earned his first All Star nod.
Stacked at the Farm
The future is blindingly bright for the Twins, with a minor league system that currently houses an embarrassment of future stars. Six Twins populate MLB.com’s top-100 prospects list: outfielder Byron Buxton (No. 1), third baseman Miguel Sano (No. 3), pitcher Alex Meyer (No. 33), pitcher Kohl Stewart (No. 62), infielder Eddie Rosario (No. 64) and pitcher Jose Berrios (No. 78). Buxton, the second overall selection in 2012, is setting the minors on fire this year, hitting .334 while nabbing 55 stolen bases. Under the header “Minnesota’s fat with twin phenoms,” Sports Illustrated featured Sano and Buxton on its Aug. 19 issue.
Mauer’s big double
Joe Mauer’s hometown hero status knows no bounds, as even his bedroom heroics further the legend. Case in point: wife Maddie’s you-can’t-make-this-stuff-up delivery in July — real-life twins Emily and Maren. It was reported that the Mauer family exited the hospital atop an apple-pie-eating bald eagle. Joe has also delivered at the plate. His .404 on-base percentage ranks third in the American League, while is .324 batting average is good for fourth best.