Thanks in large part to having gotten to play the Royals enough and not being in a division where a team loaded with talent is off to a good start—looking at you, Cleveland—the Minnesota Twins are in the thick of the race for the AL Central crown, holding a one-game lead in the division over Cleveland and Detroit. It’s possible that they’re playing above their heads, but they do have a young core of high-end talent that could break out at any time. One of them already has.
The folks at numberFire—namely Alex McDonald—sent the odds for this weekend’s series at Target Field. They look like this:
In the first game of the series, we give the Royals a 46.71% chance to win tomorrow night.
In the second game, a 44.4% win probability.
And in the third game, a 45.64% win probability.
Game times and pitching matchups:
- Friday, May 19, 7:10 PM CDT - Nate Karns versus Hector Santiago
- Saturday, May 20, 1:10 PM CDT - Ian Kennedy (?) versus Adalberto Mejía (L)
- Sunday, May 21, 1:10 PM CDT - Jason Hammel versus Phil Hughes
Royals at Twins pitching matchups
|Hector Santiago (L)||8||45.0||32||16.8||18||9.4||3.80||4.75||5.34||5.06||0.3||0.6|
|Adalberto Mejía (L)||3||9.1||10||21.7||8||17.4||5.79||6.58||6.14||5.52||-0.1||-0.2|
Hector Santiago has been much luckier in run prevention than his peripherals suggest he should have been thus far. A fly-ball pitcher, Santiago has been beneficiary of the Twins’ solid outfield defense of the future. His career BABIP has always been low (.267 career BABIP), but he has gotten a bit luckier than that with a .258 mark despite allowing the highest LD% of his career so far in 2017.
Both Ian Kennedy and Adalberto Mejía are expected to start Saturday, though both slots at time of writing early Thursday evening were still technically TBA. Despite Mejía’s underwhelming major-league stats thus far this season, he’s actually pitched quite well in the high minors for the last two years. Coming over to Minnesota in last year’s deadline deal that sent Eduardo Núñez to San Francisco, Mejía doesn’t come with the strike against him of having been developed by the awful pitch-to-contact oriented philosophy of the pitching development of the Twins organization that is just recently being phased out.
Despite similar profiles with Hector Santiago and a better K/BB rate, Phil Hughes has seen luck elude him. His FIP, xFIP, and SIERA are all lower than Santiago’s, but his ERA is 1.43 runs higher. Sometimes life ain’t fair. Of course, neither Santiago nor Hughes have pitched well, so it’s probably more likely that Santiago comes back to Hughes’s ERA than vice versa.
Twins position players
|Jorge Polanco (S)||SS||134||2||14||16||2||.248||.306||.364||.293||81||0.6||1.1|
|Robbie Grossman (S)||DH||105||2||13||10||0||.241||.400||.361||.349||120||0.5||0.3|
|Max Kepler (L)||RF||126||3||16||13||2||.248||.341||.404||.327||105||0.4||0.9|
|Eduardo Escobar (S)||Util||72||4||10||12||0||.234||.306||.462||.330||107||0.4||0.1|
|Jason Castro (L)||C||102||3||9||11||0||.202||.304||.360||.296||83||0.3||0.8|
|Kennys Vargas (S)||1B/DH||58||4||7||13||0||.236||.259||.491||.313||94||0.1||0.1|
|Eddie Rosario (L)||LF||127||3||13||11||1||.273||.294||.405||.300||86||-0.1||0.1|
|Ehire Adrianza (S)||Util||8||0||1||3||0||.143||.125||.143||.110||-46||-0.1||-0.2|
|Joe Mauer (L)||1B||126||2||16||14||0||.256||.310||.350||.292||80||-0.1||0.0|
It would be easy to say that as goes Miguel Sanó, so goes the Twins’ offense. Per fWAR, Sanó’s value has only been exceeded thus far by Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, and the just injured Freddie Freeman. The 24-year-old third baseman has been positively dominant at the plate, and moving back to his natural position at third has moved his defensive contributions back into the positive. Robbie Grossman and Brian Dozier have both been solid—Grossman has walked more than he’s struck out—but their respective contributions are nowhere near where Sanó’s have been as he looks to be emerging as one of the game’s young superstars.
As a unit, the Twins own a .240/.326/.404 triple-slash with a .319 wOBA and 99 wRC+. They’ve been worth 5.7 fWAR, tied for tenth-best in baseball. These Wins come from their defensive value though. They have the third-best UZR/150 and fourth-best UZR. DRS loves them even more, valuing the Twins’ defense as the best in baseball.
This series preview brought to you by StubHub.
Whether you’re a baseball junkie or casual fan, games are better at the ballpark. Grab seats at StubHub and be part of the action at Kauffman Stadium. And, download the StubHub app to choose the perfect seats with 360* views from your section.
How will the Royals fare in Minnesota?
This poll is closed
Royals take two of three
Twins take two of three