Having lost 103 games in the 2016 season, the Minnesota Twins weren’t really expected to be listed in the conversation of Championship contenders for at least another year or two. Then again, the rebuilding Cubs were also able to move things along relatively quickly during Kris Bryant’s first year, and around a young core, the team was able to make it to the NLCS before eventually losing to the New York Mets.
However, following baseball’s first full week, the Twins find themselves at the top of the American League in what’s a way too early to call season, especially considering how strong the White Sox looked at the start only to eventually come back down to earth in more of plummeting free fall that eventually led the team to trade away ace Chris Sale and lead off man Adam Eaton with more trades expected on the way.
Considering that the Twins are already in rebuilding mode, such a dump off isn’t expected regardless of what happens throughout the rest of the season, but are they already set to content for an AL, and possibly World Series, title?
Their largest downfalls in the season before were the pitching and defense, which combined to give up 889 runs, second highest in all of baseball, and two stats which have markedly improved as the Twins managed to only give up 13 runs in their first six games with six of them coming in their lone loss of the season, a less than impressive first outing for Adalberto Mejia in a game that also saw Third Baseman Miguel Sano make two errors, a sight reminiscent of last year, but which wasn’t repeated in the following day.
Of course, these stats likely won’t hold up throughout a full year. The .989 fielding percentage and the 2.25 team ERA are excellent starts to the season, but when considering the fact that their competition has been the same aforementioned rebuilding White Sox and a Kansas City Royals team that continues to see pieces removed from their World Series season, there really isn’t too much that can be taken from the play.
In fact, if anything, it’s likely that the Twins will eventually see those two stats start moving closer to the league average as more time passes and the competition gets to be more difficult.
But in a world where teams are looking to see progress after the beginning of a rebuild, the Twins are looking like a team that’s closer to contending than most would have expected.
Main Photo Copyright: ffooter / 123RF Stock Photo