Sunday, June 10, 2007

Slumpin'

It’s getting a little redundant, this talk about the offense not working. But there’s no escaping that the June swoon the Twins are in right now is mostly related to the offense, and when you look at each players numbers, that’s the obvious problem.

NOBODY is hitting right now. That’s not an exaggeration. The only regular who has been productive offensively in the month of June is Jason Kubel, and he’s day-to-day with a strained knee. As a team, the Twins are hitting .216 in the month of June, and that includes facing the Nationals’ quadruple-A rotation.

Oh, heck, if we’re gonna wallow in this thing, we might as well go all the way. This team’s OPS (On-base Plus Slugging percentage) is 600. For those of you not familiar with OPS, I tried to find a comparable bad ex-Twin with an OPS of 600 – and couldn’t find one. Luis Rivas? His career OPS is 690. Denny Hocking? Career OPS of 654. Last year Tony Batista had an OPS of 691 when the Twins released him. Even Juan Castro has a career OPS of 694. That’s where we’re at right now – the Twins lineup is hitting much worse than a lineup full of Juan Castros. Heck, they might be worse than a lineup full of Fidel Castros.

In fact, you can’t find many Twins who are individually outhitting Castro’s 694 benchmark thsi month. There are, in fact, just four, and two of them aren’t regulars (Lew Ford and Luis Rodriguez). Besides Kubel, only Michael Cuddyer (just a 710 OPS, .233 BA, 1 HR) has been better than Castro-phic. As for the rest of the team…
  • Luis Castillo is hitting .294 in June, but is still getting on-base less than the league average because he’s drawn only one walk (versus four strikeouts)
  • Torii Hunter and Justin Morneau, who have been as good a twosome as there was in the American league, are hitting .183 combined this month. Each also has one home run, but no doubles.
  • After hitting .239 in April, and .243 in May, we expected Jason Bartlett to get on track in June. Instead, he’s jumped them, hitting just .143 so far this month.
  • And he’s STILL out-hitting Nick Punto, whose batting just .130.
  • And they’re both out-producing each of the Twins catchers. Mike Redmond did a decent impression of Joe Mauer in the month of May, but has hit just .182 in June, with just one walk, no extra-base hits, and only one RBI. Mauer returned to the lineup this weekend, and had one hit and zero walks in his nine plate appearances.

So, at least they’re being consistent.

For several weeks Twins fans have lobbied for adding a significant bat to the lineup, but it’s fair to say that the futility we’ve seen this month goes far beyond that. This is just an offensive slump, one that is affecting the whole team.

2 comments:

Jack Ungerleider said...

I can see it now, a new reference for offensive utility: The Batista Line. Since all you stat-heads view OPS as the a better measure of offensive output than batting average its out with the Mendoza Line and in with the Batista Line.

BTW how's Tony doing now that he's on the Nats' major league squad? ;-)

David Wintheiser said...

Batista isn't really doing that badly for Washington so far - he has seven singles and a walk, and since he's been used mainly as a pinch-hitter, that's been good enough for 5 RBI in otherwise limited play. Not earth-shattering, but not horrifying, either.

Our old friend Cristian Guzman is doing even better - he's having a career year hitting .346/871, and has impressed enough so that some commenter on Joe Christensen's Strib blog actually suggested trading Bartlett and another player to get Guzman back from the Nats.