|Click to enlarge|
I have been watching the Twins all season long and yet it never ceases to amaze me how horrible this team really is. I mean, I knew they were bad, but good lord, the Twins are now 18 games out of first place in a division where the leader is outscoring its opponents by 5 runs. Seriously, that is pathetic. The AL Central is the only division in baseball where the leader doesn't have a positive run differential in the double-digits. In fact, there are only two other teams in baseball with positive run differentials in the single-digits, and neither one are particularly close to contending: the Blue Jays (+4, 15.5 games behind the Red Sox) and the Dodgers (+2, 12 games behind the Diamondbacks).
Oh, but it gets better. According to pythagorean win theorem, the Twins are actually bunch of overachievers. They should really be 52-83, since they've scored 516 runs and allowed 665, but their 5-4 record in extra inning games and 23-23 record in one-run games suggests that they've somehow won four more games than they probably should have. I thought it might be fun to see what our loser standings would look like if each team were performing according to its pythag, and the results were interesting:
The Twins might actually be the worst team in baseball, but it's too close to call at this point. The Twins are a bit worse than the Astros on offense, with a team OPS+ of 84, compared to Houston's 93. The Astros have more power (.120 ISO compared to Minnesota's .112) and are slightly better at getting on base (.315 OBP versus the Twins' .306), but the Twins are a little better at actually running the bases. Neither team can pitch particularly well; the Astros rack up more strikeouts (7.41 K/9 compared to Minny's 5.91), but the Twins issue fewer walks (3.08 BB/9 vs. the Astros' 3.50). The Twins are also better at keeping the ball in the ballpark (9.6 HR/FB% compared to the Astros' 11.8), though that is probably to be expected since Target Field is rather cavernous. When it comes to fielding, UZR gives Minnesota a distinct edge, -0.1 vs. -22.1, though plus/minus thinks they're nearly equally inept on defense, rating the Twins at -21 runs below average and Houston at -28. Looking at wins above replacement, Houston is actually the better team, with a combined 19.6 fWAR and 12.7 rWAR while the Twins have been worth 15.8 fWAR and 11.3 rWAR.