The post-season for the MLB is strongly approaching us with less than a month away. Many teams are still fighting for a spot to compete in October. One of these teams not in contention unfortunately are the Minnesota Twins. With a terrible record of 52-88, as of Sept. 9, but the season has not been a total bust despite the record.
The greatest highlight of this 2016 season has to be the consistent play of second basemen Brian Dozier. Dozier is leading the Twins in batting average (.278), runs (94), homeruns, (39), runs batted in (92) and stolen bases (14). With his team high of 39 home runs he now holds the record for most home runs in a single season by a Twin that is not named Harmon Killebrew, who had 49 homeruns in 1964 and 1969 and hit over 40 homeruns 8 times in his career.
To go along with his great bat this year, Dozier only made 7 errors and has a .989 fielding percentage in 131 games played. It is safe to say that Dozier is leading player to be the Twins MVP this year.
Now you can’t talk about the Twins and not talk about Joe Mauer. Mauer is having another Mauer-type of season. Batting .271, second behind Dozier, and has 10 homeruns. Mauer also has a great eye at the plate with a team leading 75 walks, which has helped him with is .371 on base percentage.
Yes, he is getting a large paycheck and fans are not happy about his home run production. Ever since he came up in the league he has not been a big power house hitter, beside his 2009 season where he had 28 homeruns, he is just a man to get on base. First base is the only logical spot to put him now that is catching days are done. In the future, expect his stats to be roughly where they are now.
Looking into the future of the Twins and the young faces they have on the team and how they have played in MLB, the most impressive player has to be Max Kepler. Kepler came up and made an impact right away, hitting 16 homeruns in 95 games and makes play in the field.
One young player that the Twins must be concerned about is power house hitter Miguel Sano. Sano has 22 homeruns but is prone to strikeout as he leads the team with 155 in 389 at bats. He also makes errors left and right. He has a total of 17 errors this season. He shows great plays at times but makes simple throwing errors or misplays a simple roller right at him. Sano won’t be around the club long if he cannot produce. Which is a shame because he has so much potential.
Twins pitching has been the biggest problem. When none of the starters have a winning record and the lowest earned run average is a 3.58, held by Ervin Santana, there is a problem. It is not only the starters. The bullpen has not helped at all. Many times this season the Twins would be up and the bullpen would blow a lead. Closers have blown saves too. Kevin Jepsen has a record of 2-5 and 7 saves in 11 opportunities. Brandon Kintzler 14 saves out of 16 and a record of 0-2 show he has pitched well at times. If the Twins want to get in the hunt for 2017 they need to figure out their pitching in this offseason.