This past Memorial Day weekend, Disney’s live-action Aladdin premiered in theaters, promising to take viewers on a magic carpet ride of possibilities:
I won’t see it, because Robin Williams will forever be #MyGenie and that’s how I want it to stay. But the sentiment can easily be applied to the 2019 Minnesota Twins thus far. It truly has been a “whole new world” for fans when it comes to experiencing Twins baseball in a different fashion than we are used to.
For the past two decades, the Twins have not been known as a power-hitting club. Actually, that is probably even a severe understatement looking at these numbers...
Minnesota Twins Home Run Rankings 2000-2018
|Year||Rank (out of 30 teams)|
|Year||Rank (out of 30 teams)|
Since the year 2000, the Twins have never once ranked higher than 12th of the 30 major league teams in any given season. In fact, one has to go back to 1991 for a top-ten finish in round-trippers.
In the early-to-mid 2000s, this was because the team was built around pitching, defense/speed, and the Piranhas.
Even in the years of Jim Thome, Delmon Young, & Justin Morneau (2009-2010) when I thought the Twins would be up further in the HR ranks, they were still pretty middling compared to the rest of the pack.
Teams featuring Josh Willingham, Trevor Plouffe, & Brian Dozier couldn’t get this team into the upper third of dong-ness either.
Coming into Monday’s contest with the Brewers, the Twins were first in MLB in team home runs with 104, seven dingers ahead of second-place Seattle. They are hitting so many jacks that we don’t even know what to call them anymore. The last time the Twins led both leagues in HRs? It happened in back-to-back years: 1963 & 1964—back when your grandparents were driving their station wagons to the giant Metropolitan Stadium parking lot in Bloomington. They were actually fourth in HRs in 1962 as well.
A few other great power years in Twins history:
1969: 5th of 24 teams
1986: 2nd of 26 teams
1988: 4th of 26 teams
Other than those campaigns, though, this organization’s teams have generally been middling-to-worse in the home run department.
Of course, some will say that this power surge in ‘19 for the Twins is because of a juiced ball. While I cannot refute that statement—and indeed there is evidence that something may be afoot in that realm—I can say this: the opponents are getting the same hacks at the rabbit ball as well. While the raw numbers are indeed eye-popping and perhaps a little inflated, this doesn’t change the fact that the Twins are out-slugging even perennial bashers like the Yankees, Blue Jays, & Dodgers. Basically, this team just seems to be taking advantage of juiced balls, launch angles, or hard contact better than all 29 others at the moment.
It seems almost surreal that the Twins are 20 games over .500 and hold a double-digit game lead over the Cleveland Indians. I think the fact that they are doing it primarily by bashing their opponents into submission only further adds to the intrigue. For most of us, this is something we haven’t seen in our lifetimes of watching this team.