Aug 30, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Twins designated hitter Miguel Sano (22) hits a 2 run home run against the Houston Astros in the seventh inning at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
(American League team gaining momentum)
Minnesota Twins: Just when we were ready to write them off, the Twins come storming back. Minnesota has won 8 of their last 10 to pull within a game of the Texas Rangers for the final playoff spot. How are they doing it? Their pitching is below average, with their rotation and bullpen both ranking in the bottom half of the league this season. They are middle of the pack in runs scored and only 12th in OPS. Their defense has been among the worst in the league with -18 defensive runs saved as a team. Even their -5 run differential suggests they are a slightly below average team. Yet here they are knocking on the door to the postseason.
22-year old Miguel Sano has given the Twins a boost since his July call-up. He’s only 50 games into his big league career, but he’s more than holding his own with a .294 average and 14 home runs. Granted it’s a small sample size, but his 1.011 OPS is second in the league among hitters with at least 200 plate appearances. He contributes nothing defensively, having spent 41 of his first 50 games as a DH (not a great sign for a player so young), but the Twins won’t care as long as he keeps hitting like this.
Will Minnesota keep this up through the final month of the season? They’ve exceeded most of our expectations by hanging around this long. The next couple of weeks could seal their fate, with 9 of their next 11 games coming on the road. The Twins .415 winning percentage on the road is the second worst among the teams within 5 games of the second Wild Card spot.