What a difference a week can make. Seven days ago, this team was riding an eight-game winning streak and was plenty of fun to write about. After dropping their last two games to the Giants and getting swept by the Brewers, they opened the Dodgers series with a 15-0 clunker of which I somehow managed to watch a significant portion (don't ask me how).
In brainstorming as to what I can possibly say about this team that won't make me break down into tears over the course of the past few days, I came across multiple interesting Twins statistics, both good and bad, spanning from Class-A to
Quadruple-A the big league club. I'll kick it off with a good one:
- Aaron Hicks has steadily improved with every month this season, and he's on a particularly prodigious tear right now. Despite not hitting a home run in the month of June, Hicks entered yesterday's contest hitting .333/.472/.507 in 89 June plate appearances. He's walked a ridiculous 19 times this month, and continued to swing a hot bat going 2-for-4 with a double in last night's contest. He's now collected seven doubles and a triple over his last nine games. His monthly weighted on-base averages (wOBA) include a weak .265 in April, a strong .358 in May, and a ridiculous .416 in the month of June (not counting last night's two-hit endeavor). Hicks isn't hitting for the home run power many of us would like to see yet, but he's amassed 20 doubles and three triples and is just 21 years of age still, so some of those doubles that are finding the gap could find the seats over the course of the next couple years. He's got an outstanding .391 OBP as part of an overall .279/.391/.416 line.
More stats after the jump.
- Michael Cuddyer is hitting an absurd .380/.482/.718 against left-handed pitching this season, including six of his ten home runs despite just having 85 plate appearances against southpaws. He's drawn 14 walks against left-handers (16.5%) to just 12 against right-handers (5.6%), despite having 213 PAs against same-handed pitching. He's homered in 8.5% of his at-bats against left-handed pitching. This is something other teams, specifically someone like the Phillies will take note of if the Twins end up selling, which looks more likely each day we move closer to the deadline. Philadelphia Charlie Manuel has been adamant about adding a right-handed bat to a lefty-heavy lineup that can improve their odds against left-handed pitching. It doesn't hurt that aside from Shane Victorino, the Phillies' outfield has been staggeringly unproductive.
- Danny Valencia is also crushing lefties, hitting them to the tune of a .296/.351/.507 line. Unfortunately, he's hitting right-handed pitching at just .196/.245/.307. Much has been made of Valencia's poor luck of late, and it's supported in his splits: Valencia's .305 BABIP against left-handed pitching is right where you'd expect it to be, while he has an abysmally low .210 versus right-handers in spite of a strong 17.4% line drive ratio.
- Cuddyer and Valencia have combined for 25% of the entire team's hits against left-handed pitching this season. The two of them have a combined 48 hits against southpaws, while the Twins as a unit have 192. That's actually more typical than you might think though; the Twins have had two players combining for about a quarter of the hits versus lefties dating back to Torii Hunter's days as a Twin.
- Dodgers lefty Ted Lilly gets the nod today against the Twins and is currently sixth in the Majors in HR/9. He's allowed 12 long balls to righties, who are hitting .279 and slugging .483 against him. It should be fun to watch Cuddy and Danny take their hacks against Lilly today, at the very least.
- Jim Hoey has been so difficult to stomach this season, that I sometimes forget the Twins even received Brett Jacobsen in the trade that sent J.J. Hardy to Baltimore. Jacobsen's been stretched out and added to the Rock Cats' rotation, and after throwing a shutout two starts ago, entered his previous one with a 1.92 ERA. Unfortunately, he got torched for six earned runs in 3.1 innings, largely due to his seven walks that game. For the season, Jacobsen has struck out 41 through 55 innings and walked 38. His BB/9 sits at 6.2, and even throwing out that last start, he was still walking 5.4 hitters per nine. Maybe that's why I've been trying not to think about him...
- Oswaldo Arcia's absurd .352/.420/.704 line earned him an immediate promotion to Fort Myers upon return from his injury. He's just 1-for-8 so far with the Miracle, but his stats over the past year and a half have been truly otherworldly. I asked Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus about Arcia a few months back on Twitter, and he said that if Arcia can remain healthy, he'd likely crack his Top 100 prospects list for 2012. Another solid international find by the Twins scouting department.
Hopefully this provides some (mostly positive) food for thought on a Tuesday morning when we could all certainly use it (especially for those who continued to watch last night's massacre). I'll wrap it up with a poll, just for kicks.
Steve Adams also writes for MLBTradeRumors.com and contributes at 612Sports.NET and MLB.com. You can follow him on Twitter: @Adams_Steve
Which Twins lefty masher will homer off Ted Lilly tonight?
Michael Cuddyer (34 votes)
Danny Valencia (16 votes)
Jim Thome (22 votes)
All three (21 votes)
Cuddy & Danny (14 votes)
Cuddy & Thome (12 votes)
Danny & Thome (6 votes)
The way they hit last night I'd be surprised if they got one past second base. (98 votes)
223 total votes