Nobody saw this coming. The hardcore fans did not see this coming. The passive attend-five-games-a-year fans did not see this coming. Heck, I can’t imagine that first time manager Rocco Baldelli even saw this coming.
The Minnesota Twins are the best team in baseball.
Let those words sink in for a moment because they really jump off the page. The Minnesota Twins are the best team in baseball.
At 23-12, the Twins have an early four game lead on the Indians for the division lead in the AL Central. Considering that the Tigers, White Sox, and Royals are all below .500 and don’t seem to be any kind of threat to make a move, it seems possible that this pace might even be somewhat sustainable.
In baseball, it definitely requires many players playing at a high level to gain this kind of success. In the case of the Twins, nearly everyone on the roster is contributing in a major way.
As a team, the Twins are 4th in the league in home runs (with four fewer games played than the first place Mariners) and 3rd in the league in doubles. On top of showing power, the Twins have also been able to post the 2nd best batting average in the league.
Perhaps even more impressively, the Twins rank 2nd in least amount of strikeouts at 261 on the season.
It simply is rare to see a team in the top five in home runs, not sacrifice their team average while hitting for this power, and avoid strike outs at the rate they are currently at. Minnesota is presenting true balance at the plate and it has been incredibly fun to watch.
With all of this team success, clearly that must mean that some individuals are performing well. Eddie Rosario has 13 home runs (3rd in the MLB) and 31 RBI’s (8th in the MLB) while Byron Buxton is 2nd in the league in doubles with 15 and has 7 stolen bases.
Six different Twins regular starters have at least 6 home runs and 14 RBI’s while five are batting over .250. In terms of Twins history, through 35 games, this roster has more home runs than any season ever with 64, ahead of the 61 tallied in 1964 and the 55 tallied in 1986.
Maybe this pace is unlikely to continue, but even a slight drop off would still make for a very successful season.
The pitching also has to be mentioned as a huge factor into the early success for the Twins. In terms of the starters, Jake Odorizzi (4-2 with a 2.78 ERA), Martin Perez (5-0 with a 2.83 ERA) and ace Jose Berrios (6-1 with a 2.53 ERA) have carried the rotation thus far in the 2019 campaign.
Somewhat surprisingly, the bullpen has also been lights out. Relievers Taylor Rogers, Ryne Harper and Blake Parker all boast ERAs less than 2 in 13-plus appearances.
The icing on the cake, as far as I am concerned, is management’s awareness for ticket sales and fan engagement. Attendance has been down thus far in 2019, probably due to a combination of weather, price and game times.
However, on Tuesday the Twins announced a special $5 ticket offer for seats in the home run porch and grandstand for home games in the rest of May… The 20,000 tickets sold out by early Wednesday afternoon.
It sounds like the Twins will use this promotion again to help increase interest; and why not? Summer will soon be here and you can’t beat $5 to watch the best team in baseball.