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A Deeper Statistical Look at the Surging Twins

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Trevor Plouffe has been Josh Hamilton-esque over the past two weeks. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE
Trevor Plouffe has been Josh Hamilton-esque over the past two weeks. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE

As the weather heats up -- yesterday notwithstanding -- so too have the Twins, who now stand at 25-35 after reeling off 10 of the last 13. I joked on Twitter Tuesday night that 10 games under .500 never looked so good, but in a lot of ways I was serious. This has been a total team effort, as the bats -- namely Trevor Plouffe -- have really come on strong lately, and the bullpen and rotation have been pretty good in their own right.

So today, let's take a look at some deeper statistical concepts that may be pushing the Twins back towards respectability. A lot of these bits are the kinds of things I usually share on Twitter (@Brandon_Warne if you're so inclined).

.417/.447/.944 - Plouffe's triple-slash over the past 14 days. In that span, he has five home runs, a .566 wOBA, and a 271 wRC+, and it has brought his overall line to .231/.309/.507.

0.9 - The number of wins above replacement (fWAR) Plouffe has been worth over that time frame.

.349/.429/.628 - Josh Willingham over that same time frame. Those numbers almost look anemic compared to Plouffe's, but that's about what Willingham did for all of April, too.

7 - The number of Twins hitters over 100 in OPS+ (courtesy of Baseball Reference). The Twins as a team are now up to 101 after a rough start.

.425 - Ben Revere's slugging percentage. The last time Revere slugged .400-plus was at Beloit (.497) as a 20-year-old in 2008. Keep in mind, he also hit .379 that season.

26/24 - Jamey Carroll's K/BB rate. While the hitting hasn't exactly been there for Carroll -- .948 June OPS notwithstanding -- he's done a good job turning over the order since moving to the nine-hole in the lineup. He was also once a Montreal Expo.

.177/.244/.253 - Alexi Casilla's batting line since May 1. As a result of his slippage, Casilla has only started four games thus far in June.

.839 - Joe Mauer's OPS, good for second on the club. Mauer's quietly putting up another quality season, and has played in 55 of the Twins' 60 games (91.7 percent).

239 - The number of plate appearances Mauer has made, which ranks him first most among all catchers.

2.97 - Scott Diamond's xFIP, which leads the club, ahead of Glen Perkins, Jared Burton, and Matt Capps among those with more than a handful of innings.

16.2 - Burton's K/9 over the past 14 days. #pmki indeed.

61.1 - Diamond's ground ball rate. If he qualified -- Diamond is 15.1 IP shy of doing so presently -- this would rank him third in the major leagues behind Cleveland's Derek Lowe and Arizona's Trevor Cahill.

94.9 - The velocity on Perkins' fastball, which is fastest on the club and nearly a full mph improvement from last year for the fireballing port-sider. Carl Pavano is on the opposite end of the spectrum at 86.8.

71.3 - The percent of contact made when Perkins fires a pitch in the zone. That's the lowest on the club.

1.0 - Diamond's fWAR. He's been the most valuable pitcher on the Twins roster so far.

9 percent - Twins team walk rate as an offense, which is good for eighth in the MLB.

16.7 percent - Twins team whiff rate, as the offense has proven even more difficult to strike out (fourth in MLB).

83.7 percent - Twins contact rate, tops league-wide. The club is second in zone-contact rate (89.7 percent), second in out-of-zone contact rate (72.8 percent),

.316 - Twins team wOBA, which is in the middle of the pack. That's pretty impressive given how bad the first few months were, and is largely aided by a .356 mark over the past two weeks (second overall).

.416 - Willingham's wOBA, which is eighth in the MLB among qualified hitters. He's also sixth in wRC+ (168).

6.8 - Number of runs above replacement Caroll has provided so far, leaving him among the 10 or so best defensive players this year.

1.35 - BB/K for Mauer so far, good for third in the MLB overall.

3.38 - GB/FB for Carroll, second to only Derek Jeter in the entire MLB.

3 - Number of Twins in the top eight for ground ball rate. (Mauer, Span, Carroll)

19.7 - Willingham's IFFB rate (essentially, popup rate), which is sixth in the MLB.

2 - Number of Twins in the top seven for contact rate overall (Span 91.5 percent and Carroll 93.3 percent).

1.67 - Twins overall GB/FB rate, which is still the highest.

So what do you think, TwinkeTown nation? I think the offense has a really good chance to sustain this success, especially considering the club's place on the strikeouts, walks, and contact rate lists. It seems the offense has a really good overall approach. The pitching will have to improve considerably still for the club to have any chance at reaching and staying above .500, I think, but it should be a much more fun season than 2011.