Three Reasons to be Optimistic
No, that isn't a typo. For the first time since this blog began, Mr. Mike Pelfrey is on the optimism section of the Week in Review. Of course, his seven inning shutout performance means nothing for the future, but it's nice to be occasionally reminded that he's capable of being decent once every two years.
2. Gradual Improvement
After the miserable first week of the season, things have gradually gotten better. Hunter, Plouffe and Santana didn't have anywhere to go but up, and Hughes seems to be returning to form (more on him in a few paragraphs) and Mauer's been doing pretty well all season.
After spending the last decade plus with Gardenhire, Molitor's aggressiveness and knowledge is a breath of fresh air. He platoons way more often than Gardy and has smartly been sitting Santana against righties. He's also been more willing to try different things. Yesterday he was talking about batting Mauer leadoff, something that makes sense when you think about it; He's consistently on base, which is the most important quality in a leadoff hitter, and has a low slugging percentage, so he isn't a very good fit in the middle of the lineup. If Gardy were still here he'd never consider it just because he always felt the need to have a quick middle infielder or infielder leading off, no matter how little sense it made in every other area.
Three Reasons to be Frustrated
Arcia's pretty easy to figure out. He swings out of his shoes every at bat and if he gets something to hit he destroys it, and if he doesn't, he strikes out. His discipline has been even worse this year as it was the last few. His O-Swing percentage* has gone up from last year's already terrible mark of 38.1% to 43.8%. The result of that's been a .195/.261/.268 line this year. I hope he gets it going because there's no one more fun to watch on the team than him when he has it going.
*That's the percentage of pitches he swings at outside the strike zone
2. Buxton and Sano
Both are off to terrible starts in AA Chattanooga, Buxton starting with .200/.254/.364 and Sano with .173/.317/.385. It was expected that they would start out slowly after their injury riddled seasons last year. It's only April, we'll see how they progress.
Right now, there is exactly one above average fielder who regularly plays for the Twins: Dozier. Everyone else is somewhere between average and horrible. It makes the pitchers look even worse than they usually are.
Stat of the Week
That's Hunter's average with two strikes this year. It's also the highest average on the team. That should give you a pretty good idea of how the Twins offense has been so far this year.
Question of the Week
What's up with Hughes?
After a breakout season last year, Hughes has struggled this year, leading the league in both losses and hits allowed. Even his first good start of the year a few day ago in Seattle came in a ballpark built for pitchers. Of course, since Hughes is a fly ball pitcher it's difficult for him to succeed with the slow as molasses Arcia-Schafer/Robinson-Hunter combination in the outfield. Hughes will eventually return somewhat to form and possibly do even better if Molitor makes some changes.
Dan Gladden Stupidity Moment of the Week
In which we look at something moronic Dan Gladden said while announcing Twins games this week
I'm cheating here and using one from two weeks ago, but this is too good not to use. Against the Royals, Mauer was coming up with guys on first and second
when Danny said, "The Royals walked Mauer earlier in the game even though first base was open." Take a look at that quote again. First, he's seems surprised that they walked Mauer, then he answers his own question while talking about why it was surprising. Brilliant!