With the 2019 season underway, I decided to take a look at some stats that have been key for each player on the Twins roster in the past, and may also be for this upcoming season. Keep reading to learn more about your each active member of you favorite baseball squad, and if you have any questions about the stats I will do my best to answer them in the comments section. Enjoy!
Ehire Adrianza, UTL: .291. That is Adrainza’s career wOBA, which is just one tick above “awful” on FanGraphs scale. The utility infielder will need to start hitting better if he wants to keep a roster spot this year.
Willians Astudillo, UTL/absolute unit: 2.2%. That was the amount of hit types classified by Baseball Savant as “weak” for La Tortuga last year. Even with his mentality to swing at nearly everything, Willians still was often able to make solid contact.
Tyler Austin, 1B: .977. That was Austin’s OPS last August for the Twins. It seems likely that the former Yankee will have to produce similar numbers in his limited playing this season not to be sent packing.
Jose Berrios, SP: .181. That was what opposing batters hit against Jose Berrios’ curveball last season, with nearly a 40% whiff rate. One of Berrios’ statcast comps is Phillies ace Aaron Nola, whose numbers last year would be a good (but tough to attain) goal for the Twins Puerto Rican pitcher.
Byron Buxton, OF: 26. That’s the number of outs above average Buxton produced defensively, as well as the amount of runs he saved in 2017. Even if Buxton doesn’t hit much, he is still likely an above average center fielder with his speed and his defense (if he stays healthy).
Jake Cave, OF: .382. That was Cave’s BABIP against right-handed pitching last year, where most of production came from. While Cave has been a high-BABIP guy throughout his minor league career, at least some regression seems likely.
Jason Castro, C: 27.5%. That is Castro’s career strikeout rate, and it has trended closer to or above 30% in recent seasons. Without bringing much to the table when he does put the ball in play, Castro will have to prove his value as a defensive catcher this year or be banished to the bench.
C.J. Cron, 1B: 15.2. That was Cron’s launch angle in 2018, which was lower than his 2017 average angle by nearly three degrees. Just because he hit 30 bombs for the Rays doesn’t mean he is Logan Morrison 2.0, which I think many Twins fans are concerned about.
Nelson Cruz, DH/OF?: 51.3%. That was Cruz’s hard-hit percentage in 2018, which ranked 7th in all of baseball and was way above the league average of 34.1%. Even with some regression, Nelson Cruz should still be quite good.
Mitch Garver, C: -16. That was Garver’s “run saved” metric in 86 games behind the dish in 2018. His offensive profile is above average for a catcher, but he needs to make significant strides defensively to prove that he should be more than a part-time backstop.
Kyle Gibson, SP: 51.1%. That was the whiff rate for opposing batters against Gibson’s slider in 2018. TJ’s favorite pitcher allowed batters to accumulate just a .229 wOBA against the pitch last year.
Marwin Gonzalez, UTL: .360. That was Gonzalez’s wOBA against fastballs in 2018 -- an above average mark. However, Gonzalez mashed fastballs for a wOBA of .442 in 2017, which led to much of his success in his best professional season.
Ryne Harper, RP: 11.0. That was Harper’s K/9 in the minor leagues. Along with a 2.56 ERA, it’s curious that the 30-year old right hander didn’t get at least a cup of coffee in the big leagues previously, but it will be interesting to see what happens when he finally gets his chance this year for the Twins.
Trevor Hildenberger, RP: 60.3%. That was Hildenberger’s ground ball rate in 2017, when he finished the season with a 3.21 ERA. Last year his ERA rose to 5.42 and his GB% dropped to 47.5%, as batters barreled the ball over twice as much against him in his sophomore campaign.
Max Kepler, OF: .236. That was Max Kepler’s BABIP in 2018, a far cry from the league average (.300) and a significant drop from Kepler’s career averages. The young German only had a BABIP lower than .300 at one stop in his minor league career, and has been closer to .270 in the big leagues. Look for Kepler to at the very least have a slight bounce back this year.
Trevor May, RP: 12.1. That is May’s K/9 as a reliever, a pretty large jump from his mark of 8.1 as a starter. May has the stuff to become the full-time closer, but Taylor Rogers is showing similar abilities as well.
Adalberto Mejia, RP/SP: 2.88. That is Meija’s ERA when pitching on the road, much better than his 5.16 mark at home. For some reason Meija has struggled more at Target Field, but some of it could be luck. Batters have a .347 BAbip against him at home, compared to a .289 mark on the road.
Jake Odorizzi, SP: 28.4%. That was Odorizzi’s ground ball rate in 2018, the lowest among qualified starters according to FanGraphs. The former Tampa Bay Ray has been known as a flyball pitcher, but there is very little margin for error when his control issues lead him to get behind in counts -- and give up dingers.
Blake Parker, RP: .635. That is Parker’s OPS against in the first half of seasons, as he has been especially good in May (1.61 ERA) and June (2.29 ERA) in his career. If the Twins find themselves out of the playoff race in July, don’t be surprised if Falvine dishes a thriving Parker. Ideally they will instead be supplementing the pitching staff this time around.
Martin Perez, SP/RP: 92.8. That was the average velocity of Perez’s four-seam fastball last season, with opponents hitting an even (and ridiculous) .400 against it. It will be intriguing to see if an extra few MPH on his heater can make the difference on how he and the pitch performs in 2019.
Michael Pineda, SP: 14.2%. That was the percentage of pitches that Pineda threw in 2017 that were not either a fastball or a slider. The former Yankee relies heavily on those two offerings, having a lot of success with the slider. Batters hit under .200 against it in both 2016 and 2017, but developing a quality third offering as well may be the key to Pineda’s success this season.
Jorge Polanco, SS: .845. That was Polanco’s OPS as a left-handed batter last season, much better than his .628 mark when batting from the right side of the plate. Their may have been some luck involved in this case as well, as the shortstop had a .382 BAbip form the left-side and a .269 BAbip from the right.
Taylor Rogers, RP: 47.8%. That was Rogers K% on his curveball last year, quite a leap from his 2017 mark of 29.7. His breaking balls were straight filthy last season, with an opponent wOBA of .150 against his curve and .141 against his slider.
Eddie Rosario, OF: 64. That is how many home runs Eddie Rosario has hit off of right-handed pitching, compared to just ten off of lefties. Granted, Rosario has significantly more at-bats against righties, but his slugging percentage is nearly 100 points lower (.498 to .407) even through his batting average is actually higher against southpaws (.280 to .281)
Jonathan Schoop, 2B: .261. That was Schoop’s BABIP in 2018, a number that plummeted from .330 in his breakout 2017 campaign. While some of that may be due to Schoop’s hit types, it seems that he was probably a bit unlucky in 2018 and has a solid chance for a bounce back year.
These stats were courtesy of Baseball Reference, Baseball Savant, and Fangraphs.