The 2019 Minnesota Twins are in the midst of a historic season that has required players up and down the roster to do their part. We all have heard about the guys like Jorge Polanco, Jose Berrios and Taylor Rogers but there are some other players who have not been talked about as much. I will be highlighting three of the players who seem to go under the radar despite their contributions to the team.
The first player is right handed reliever Trevor May. May has quietly been having a solid season out of the bullpen, posting a 3.42 ERA, 1.37 WHIP and 22.4 K%. While those numbers do not exactly jump out at you, his secondary numbers have been borderline elite. He ranks 10th in baseball in average exit velocity at just 84 MPH and that has gone right along with his stellar 23.3 hard hit%. When opponents make contact, they are not getting hits as May has a .206 AVG against.
His best pitch has been the fastball and he has thrown it 62.1% of the time. The average velocity is 95 MPH and opponents have had an extremely tough time against it, posting a .162 AVG and .502 OPS. His only struggles have been coming from walks where he walks 13.2% of the batters he faces. He does a good job of working around those but you hope to see them drop soon.
Another relief pitcher takes the second spot on this article mainly because of his unexpected contributions and performance. The Wes Johnson effect looks like it took over Duffey and turned his career around. He owns a 1.99 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and a great 12.7 K/9. He is having a career year at a time when it is needed because of the bullpen woes the Twins have seen.
Duffey made a large adjustment to his pitching arsenal this year. Before 2019 he was never at more than 40% for amount of fastballs thrown but this season he has increased the velocity by 1-2 MPH and he is throwing it at a 54% clip. He used to be known as a curveball pitcher but he now throws the slider (24.7%) more than the curve (17.6%). The slider has been nearly unhittable this season as hitters have an average of just .148 this year on the slider.
I know you’re probably thinking “Wait how is he underrated? I know he’s a good outfielder!” Well I’m here to tell you he is underrated because Kepler is an ELITE outfielder. Here are his rankings among all AL outfielders:
- SLG: 4th
- OBP: 11th
- OPS: 4th
- HR: 4th
- ISO: 2nd
- wRC+: 6th
- WAR: 2nd
Despite his wonderful rankings, he still didn’t make it into the top nine for All Star voting...but it’s whatever.
Max Kepler is hitting .274/.351/.551 (.903) with 19 home runs and already a career high WAR of 2.7 through just 70 games. He has been just as impactful as anyone on the team but does not receive the same recognition as guys like Buxton, Polanco or Rosario. It looked like he was going to have his breakout season for the last two years but finally everything has come together for him in 2019. Hopefully he is still selected into the All Star Game as a reserve.
Those are the three players I think deserve some more love from everyone around Twins Territory for how they have helped the team. What do you think of the players I chose? Is there someone else who deserves to be on here? Let me know in the comments!