Archive for May, 2014

The Twins And How Not To Assemble A Roster

Once again, major league baseball players are striking out at previously unseen levels, with 20.5 percent of plate appearances ending in a whiff, which would set a record for the ninth year in a row. And once again, the Minnesota Twins’ pitching staff is doing its best to go against that trend.

Twins pitchers currently sit in last place in strikeout percentage; their 14.9 percent whiff rate is a full 1.6 percent behind the No. 29 White Sox. (If you prefer K/9, their 5.85 rate is also in last place, well below the league average of 7.85.) Not that this is new. The Twins had the majors’ lowest strikeout percentage rates in 2011, ’12 and ’13 as well.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Twins’ cumulative pitching strikeout percentage dating to 2010 pulls up the rear by a considerable amount: Read the rest of this entry »


Key Weaknesses for Contenders

It’s the first week of May, and so that means it’s still early in the season, but maybe not quite as early as you think. No, none of the various starting pitchers with ERA marks south of 2.00 are going to keep that up all year long — well, maybe Jose Fernandez — but most teams have played about 18 percent of their schedules at this point.

It’s enough that it can’t be totally discarded, and where we can at least take an early look at contenders, identify some potential trouble spots and see if there’s anything they can — or should — do about fixing their early-season ailments.

Here’s a look at key weaknesses that have emerged for three contenders. Read the rest of this entry »