Reality and the Minnesota Twins

Published 9:30 am Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Minnesota Twins first 15 games have been a joy to behold. They look like they can beat any team in the league. Of course, the Yankees “Evil Empire” is peering down from their exalted position and it remains to be seen if Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Obe-Wan Kanobi can defeat the Empire and their starship.

Fantasy plays a big role in our entertainment dollar. There is “Harry Potter,” “Lord of the Rings,” and “Avatar” (Although “Avatar” was more science fiction than fantasy).Our culture runs in cycles and we are probably headed toward realism, or at least pretend reality and Humphrey Bogart-type pictures.

In keeping with that possible trend I’ve shown each Twins player in the starting lineup having an average year based on his past statistics.

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Let’s get started with Denard Span. An average year for Span is as follows: batting average of .302, on-base percentage of .389, 114 runs and 77 RBIs. Span has a good on base percentage, no doubt benefitting from his batting average and all the walks he receives. To give you a feel for this stat, the average OBP in the majors is .340. The best-ever was Ted Williams with an OBP of .482. The worst for a starting player over a number of years was a catcher by the name of Bill Bergan with an OBP of .194.

Orlando Hudson has the following stats: batting average .282, 79 runs, .348 OBP and 69 RBIs. Not too bad and should give the Twins a boost.

Joe Mauer has a .328 batting average, 97 runs, .404 OBP and 93 RBIs.

Justin Morneau’s batting average is .281, 90 runs, .352 OBP and 116 RBIs. Just about what you would expect from a former MVP.

Jim Thome’s batting average is .277, with 72 runs, an OBP of .340 and 111 RBIs. If Thome has a decent year he will have a big impact on scoring. I would have to rank Morneau’s statistics ahead of future Hall of Famer Thomes’; I hope Justin can keep it up.

Jason Kubel’s batting average is .276, with 72 runs, an OBP of .340 and 89 RBIs.

Delmon Young has a batting average of .289, 75 runs, an OBP of 321 and 75 RBIs. Young’s RBIs surprised me, but his OBP did not, because he doesn’t walk.

J.J. Hardy was expected to improve the shortstop position and according to his stats he will. Hardy has a batting average of .261, 79 runs, an OBP of .322 and 75 RBIs. Higher in RBIs and lower in OBP than expected.

Nick Punto has a batting average of .248, 66 runs, an OBP of .322 and 39 RBIs.

None of which surprised me with the possible exception of his of OBP being as high as Young’s and Hardy’s

Statistics don’t mean much unless they’re compared with something. OK, let’s use the (shudder) Yankees. The Yankee’s OBP for 2009 was .362, which compares to the Twins’ .345 against the major league average of .340 Will the addition of Hudson, Hardy and Thome help with their OBP of .348, .322 and .404 respectively help? Yes, particularly if Thome gets a number of at-bats.

Runs scored in 2009 are 915 for the Yanks and 817 for our Twins, which is fourth in the league. Thome, Hardy and especially Hudson should help the Twins here.

While statistics show the Twins not to be the Yankees, but a better than average team, there is still a tremendous amount of variables involved; luck, injuries, new ball park, etc. Not only that, we haven’t even looked at the pitching.

So perhaps it is best to sit back, cross our fingers, and watch.