A contributing factor to Sunday’s 7-3 loss to Cleveland was potential game-winning run Ehire Adrianza being thrown out at home plate in the ninth inning. Adrianza was the second Twin to be erased at home in the span of two games - C.J. Cron was similarly retired the day before - sparking many complaints about third-base coach Tony Diaz and his decisions on when to send players. In my opinion, these complaints were justified regarding Adrianza’s out, as he would have been on third base with one out as the would-be winning run had he not been sent. But have Twins runners regularly failed to complete their basepath circuits throughout the season, or is this a recent development?
I’m using Baseball Reference for all the stats cited below; these do not include Sunday’s game referred to above, as BR updates arrive a bit later and I don’t have the stats from Sunday’s other games.
- Before Sunday, the Twins were fifth-worst in the majors with 41 outs made on the bases. BR defines “outs on bases” as:
Runner is put out while making a baserunning play.
Example plays: out advancing on a fly ball, out attempting to reach another base on a hit, doubled off on a line drive, or out attempting to advance on a wild pitch or passed ball.
Does not include pickoffs, caught stealing, or force plays.
- Of these 41 outs, 12 came at home plate, the 10th-worst total in the league.
- Another 12 came at third base - third-worst.
- At every base, and in their total, the Twins have made as many or more outs than the league average.
Not a good sign as a whole.
Regarding individual Minnesota players:
- Cron “leads” the team by being retired at home three times. One of those, on April 16 against Toronto, ended the game.
- Other Twins retired at home: Jonathan Schoop (2x), Miguel Sano (2x), Willians Astudillo (2x), Jake Cave (1x), Max Kepler (1x), Nelson Cruz (1x). And now Adrianza.
- The group of Twins retired at third base, in contrast, is led by speedster Byron Buxton (3x); Marwin Gonzalez (2x) is the only other Twin to be put out multiple times at third base.
- The Twins do not have a very fast team. According to Statcast sprint speed, just six Twins have an above-average (27 MPH) or higher sprint speed: Buxton, Jorge Polanco, Max Kepler, Cave, Schoop, and Eddie Rosario.
Which brings us back to Sunday. After Cron’s single put two runners on, Rocco Baldelli chose to pinch-run Adrianza (26.3 MPH sprint speed) for Cron (26.2 MPH) instead of subbing in Cave (27.6 MPH), the runner on the bench with the best chance to score on a double.
However, Adrianza reached an impressive 27.8 MPH on the play. I still argue he was not the best choice as a pinch runner, but he did all he could and deserves no blame for the out.
From this point forward, in such a tight divisional race, Twins coaches will have to do their part to keep Twins players from being erased on the bases as much as the players will have to make wise baserunning decisions. It can be done; unfortunately, in a few key moments this season, it hasn’t.