Monday, June 11, 2007

So Much Inconsistency

As I alluded to last week, I've been working on an update to my earlier article about the Twins lack of power (as seen through Isolated Slugging Percentage [ISO]). And let me tell you--it is not a pretty picture. Then again, you could probably guess that the Twins were still having problems with their offensive consistency after Levale Speigner held them to one run on two hits on Saturday, a feat which lowered his ERA to 7.79. If you'll excuse me for one moment, I'm going to smash a bat against my face to see if I can repress that memory (as well as display more power than every Twin not named Morneau, Cuddyer or Hunter).

If you look at the Twins run distribution, you'd expect to see a Bell Curve, with the biggest part of the curve centered somewhere near the Twins' average of 4.59 runs per game. That's not what happens, however. Since the Twins have scored 3 or less runs in almost half their games (29 out of 61), and their run total is skewed upwardly by the five games in which they've scored ten or more runs, the distribution actually looks like a downward slope, rather than a bell curve.

So if you want inconsistency, well, this is the team for you. The Twins have been shut out the same amount of times that they've scored more than ten runs. Only four teams have been shut out that many times (Pittsburgh and Oakland are tied with the Twins at five, while Washington, San Fransisco and St. Louis have six). Of those five teams, only Oakland has an OBP better than the league average and they are also the only one that's in the top two thirds of the Majors in that crucial statistic. Consequently, none of them are in the top two thirds in run scored.

Of course, the Twins are in the top ten in the Majors in OBP, yet they are seventeenth in runs scored. Of the top fifteen teams in OBP, only Colorado and Oakland have scored less runs than the Twins. My explanation for this phenomenon is the same as it was earlier--lack of power. Their inconsistency is due to their complete and total lack of power (the Twins' ISO is currently .124, which is less than 2006's .138 and 2005's .132). Colorado also backs up this theory--their ISO is just barely above the Twin's at .129, which helps explain why they have the 22nd most runs despite the 8th best OBP and a similar run distribution (28 of 64 games with 3 or less runs).

Currently, on the Twins, only Cirillo (.103), Kubel (.138), Mauer (.135), Morneau (.269), Hunter (.250) and Cuddyer (.171) have ISO's over .100. Only the last three have ISO's over the league average of .152. You'd expect an ISO of .200 or greater from a power hitter, which means the Twins have only two legitimate power threats and only three players that could be considered to have better than average power. Of course, this might not be surprising to you if you knew how many home runs the Twins' DH's have hit (2--both by Morneau).

So in a nutshell, the Twins' lack of power has once again lead to an offensive inconsistency that is both befuddling and infuriating. And there's little hope of any help on that front from the minors or from any of the Twins' current players. Which means that barring a trade, you can expect the Twins' offense to continue it's inconsistency through out the year, and it may even get worse next year, as the Twins could be down to just one power threat if Torii Hunter signs elsewhere.

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