Obviously, a bunch of things have gone wrong for the Twins given that almost the whole roster is underperforming. But a bunch of them have some underlying Statcast numbers that say they should be better but they aren't. While that sounds like I'm making an excuse for them, that's not the case. I believe that given how many guys are underperforming them, there could be some deeper issue. I'm not smart enough to go finding that,so I'm just going to show all the guys underperforming.
Kepler’s an interesting one because his Ks are at the highest amount since 2017, but everything else is improved. He’s got career highs in exit velocity, hard hit % and barrel %, but his triple slash line of .205/.300/.404 is pretty bad. Would actually be his worst OPS.
Polanco had a great 2019 and pretty terrible 2020, and the Statcast numbers seem to agree with both of those seasons. However, it says that he should be even better than 2019 this year, with significant improvements to Hard Hit rate, Barrel %, and xWOBA with about the same K and BB rates. Unfortunately, it’s more in line with his 2016-2018 seasons, which is solid, but not all star level like before.
Arraez is the most interesting one here to me, which applies for most scenarios. His hard hit rate took a big jump, and so did his exit velocity, but his launch angle nose dived. So basically, my interpretation is that he wants to whack a bunch of doubles, but only 7 of his 49 hits have gone for extra bases. His .064 ISO is well below his xISO of .145 (I don’t know if xISO is a real stat, I just did xSLG-xAVG.) Also, while his K% is still in a very high percentile, it’s gone up a decent amount. This might be a change in approach for Arraez, sacrifice a bit of contact for some more extra bases, but they haven’t came. After all, his only real change in his Fangraphs plate discipline stats is a slight drop in contact percentage. Whether his approach has changed or not, hopefully he finds some doubles.
Donaldson’s page is full of red because he’s always hitting it hard, and this year is no different, with some of his best years in barrel and hard hit rates as well as exit velocity. And while the walks are down, so are the strikeouts. His Zone Swing percentage is way up to a career high 75.2%, suggesting a more aggressive approach, which has resulted in some hard hit balls. Unfortunately, he only has a .245/.342/.454 slash line to show for it.
Kirilloff’s .260/.304/.427 line feels solid for a rookie, so I was initially happy with it. But after checking his baseball savant profile, he should be doing way better. His hard hit and barrel rates are crazy high, especially for a rookie. The WOBA and xWOBA discrepancy is huge. What stands out to me is that 4.7 average launch angle. It looks like he needs to put all these hard hit balls in the air to be rewarded for them. I could be wrong, that’s just a hunch. But most importantly, it’s a solid start to a career, so that’s promising.
So to conclude, those are 5 guys who have numbers well below what the underlying Statcast numbers say they should have. I don’t know why these guys aren’t getting the results, whether it’s bad luck or something else beneath the surface. I just hope that we can see these guys hit like we know they all can. The lineup has been a little sad, but it could be scary if these guys played like Statcast numbers say they can.