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30 in 30

30 in 30: The Minnesota Twins

We begin our 30 in 30 with the Last Place Minnesota Twins! 

Target Field by Andy Witchger is licensed under CC 2.0

30 in 30: The Minnesota Twins


Estimated Reading Time: 5 Minutes

2016 Record: 59-103

2016 Finish: DEAD LAST

2016 in Review

The Minnesota Twins finished dead last in the entire league in 2016. WOOF. A team that went from 83-79 in 2015 and finishing second in the American League Central fell further than any other team in 2016. How? Well, they just sucked. THEY SUCKED SO BAD. THEY SUCKED MORE THAN ANY OTHER TEAM IN THE WHOLE LEAGUE. The last time the Twins had even close to 103 losses in a season they were the Washington Senators in 1949.

One reason the Twins found themselves on the bottom of the pile is their pitching staff. In 2015, the Twins starters were fairly decent. Lead by Kyle Gibson, Ervin Santana and Phil Hughes, the Twins were passable on the mound. Wait… Passable sounds too harsh… they were average, quite literally the average. The Twins 2015 staff found themselves right in the middle of the stats ranks, and when you play in the AL Central, that’s gonna be fine. I mean, look at the Kansas City Royals. Without Johnny Cueto that World Series team had Chris Young, Yordano Ventura, Edinson Volquez and… that’s pretty much it. That team won a World Series. They were worse than the Twins.

With the pitching imploding the offense decided to join the fun too! Why not?! The Twins offense never got going. The Twins hitters were stifled at the plate hitting a collective .247 as a team, good enough for 21st in the league. At the plate is where the bright spots came to light as Brian Dozier went off hitting 41 home runs, the most ever hit by a second baseman in one season. YEAH. BRIAN DOZIER. HAVE A SEASON. Speaking of which, let’s transition.

Surprises

Brian Dozier

Get out of town with this guy. Brian Dozier is that one kid in your class who gets put with the dumb kids on a group project. He does all the work, while the other loaf around, except when it comes to presentation time, Brian Dozier takes all the credit and say “Y’all are dumb. I did this by myself.” By the midway point in the season, the Twins were 32-56 and a mere 20 games back, but Brian Dozier was just getting started. With his 14 home runs and .246 average, it would seem that the Twins cold streak was hitting everyone hard, even their stars. In fewer games in the second half, Dozier would hit .296 and smash 28 round-trippers. However, this effort was all for naught. Regardless of their win-loss record, Brian Dozier proved that he wasn’t going down without a fight. Take September 5th, for example, a game where Dozier hit THREE HOME RUNS, SCORING 4 RUNS IN THOSE THREE SWINGS. What makes this game remarkable is not how many home runs Dozier hit, IT’S THAT THE TWINS LOST THAT GAME 5 to 11. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!

Disappointments

Jose Berrios & PITCHING IN GENERAL

Pitching was the problem. Out of all of the starters on the Twins roster, only one had a sub 5.00 ERA, that would be Ervin Santana in his first full season back after testing positive for PEDs. That’s unacceptable. A 5.00 ERA is only really acceptable when you pitching in Colorado on a consistent level, but it shouldn’t be the team’s average. That’s abysmal. Ervin Santana had a Cy Young season in comparison to everyone else. Minnesota’s bullpen gave up the 3rd most Dingers in the league, but the Starters gave them a run for their money coming in a #5 in the league. I mean, it’s a pure, unfiltered garbage.

But what’s really disheartening is Jose Berrios. Coming into the 2016 season, Berrios was regarded at the #4 pitching prospect in the game. It came as a surprise to most folks when the Twins didn’t bring Berrios up in 2015, considering the guy lead the minors in strikeouts. Being lumped in with guys like then Washington Nationals’ Lucas Giolito, Pittsburgh Pirates’ Tyler Glasnow and the Cardinals’ Alex Reyes is no easy task, but while the other guys proved themselves worthy, Berrios struggled.

Well, struggled is a nice way of putting it. Berrios went 3-7 in his 14 starts in 2016, throwing only 58.1 innings and giving up 52 earned runs, setting himself up for a WHIP of 1.869. Needless to say, Berrios had the worst year of his career on a very large stage for the worst team in the league. That’s what poor pitching does, it throws everything into chaos.

Looking Ahead

The good news is that the twins can only go up from here! POSITIVITY! When you come in last place by 9 games, there’s no other option. The issue with the Twins for me lies with their young players. It’s beginning to feel like the Twins have no idea what’s happening with their prospects both on the field and off. Berrios is a great example of this, but let’s look at two other guys. Really quickly, Eduardo Nunez was traded to the San Francisco Giants at the trade deadline. Nunez was an All-Star for the Twins and despite his injury, was an integral part of the Giants playoff march. So, you’re trading away an All-Star 3B to a team in need of one, what do you ask for? A top prospect. What did the Twins get? Their new #6 prospect in their system. This all seems fine until you think about the odd log-jam in the Twins system. Nunez was an All-Star 3B on a team with THREE OTHER OPTIONS WHO COULD PLAY THE HOT CORNER. Trevor Plouffe was cut, for some reason, and now Miguel Sano will be taking over full time. Three guys, all major league ready, and there’s no room to put them.

If 2016 has shown us anything, it’s that the Twins Organization is a bit of a mess. There’s an odd stalemate between the urge to rebuild and the urge to keep what they have bulit to this point. Until the frotn office and Paul Molitor, the Twins Manager, can get on the same page in regard to player usage, I’m gonna expect more of the same. The Twins were lost in 2016, and I don’t expect them to find their way out of the woods easily in 2017.

Justin Colombo is a 2017 Broadway Show Softball League All-Star at 3B/SS. He's essentially the Manny Machado of the Kinky Boots team. Justin has been writing about Baseball since he was a little kid. Now that being an actor in NYC has given him a lot of free time, in 2015 he decided to take his passion public and founded Three Up, Three Down as a way to express his love for the game. From there, Three Up, Three Down grew from a hobby to an obsession. After years of growth and one insult from MLB's Historian, Justin launched The Turf, a way to expand into all areas of the sporting world. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter. LET'S. GO. METS.

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