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Entries in Minnesota Twins (25)


Best Offspeed Hitters

Top 20 Offspeed Hitters by AVG, 2010-2011 (Min. 300 offspeed pitches faced)

While Justin Morneau has the highest batting average on offspeed pitches of all players since the start of the 2010 season, Ichiro has collected the most hits (140) over that period....This season, new Phillie Hunter Pence leads all hitters with 63 hits on offspeed pitches....Cleveland Indian Lou Marson has the lowest batting average on offspeed pitches (.116) of all active players since 2010.


Pitchers Challenging Ben Revere

Twins outfielder Ben Revere is a polarizing prospect. His backers see a high-contact hitter with blazing speed. His critics point out that the 5-foot-9, 175 pounder rarely gets the ball out of the infield and may be bullied by pitchers at the highest level. It's far too early to make a definitive judgment about the 23-year-old, but those shouting warnings about Revere's hitting ability have been right so far.

Revere's triple slash in 2011 (.264/.291/.295) is devoid of walks or power. And pitchers, knowing that the worst Revere can do to them is slap a single the other way, are challenging him to hit pitches over the plate.

Opponents have thrown Revere a fastball or a sinker about 68 percent of the time, which is the highest rate among MLB hitters and well above the 57-58 percent league average. And 53 percent of those fastballs/sinkers have been thrown within the strike zone (51 percent average). Revere's in-play slugging percentage versus fastballs and sinkers is chock full of blue:

Revere's in-play slugging percentage against fastballs

Revere has a .300 slugging percentage versus fastballs/sinkers, while the league average is .439. The lefty batter has one extra-base hit against a fastball in 2011: a double against Chicago's Gavin Floyd on June 15.

Similarly, pitchers are pounding the zone when they do decide to throw Revere breaking stuff. Over 57 percent of the curveballs and sliders that Revere has seen have been within the strike zone, compared to the 45 percent league average.

Revere's in-play slugging percentage against breaking balls

Revere's .231 slugging percentage against breaking balls is well short of the .351 league average.

One might look at Ben Revere's three percent walk rate and assume that he's hacking, but that's not the case. Rather, pitchers see a hitter who can't do much extra-base damage against them, and in response, they're throwing strikes and forcing Revere to prove that he can hit in the majors. After all, why tiptoe around the strike zone when the worst the batter can do is poke a single through the infield?


Tigers and Twins and Short Fly Balls

At Baseball Musings, I noted the Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers remain the only teams without a three-run or better homer in 2011.  The Baseball Analytics heat maps provide a good indication of why.  The Twins rank last in the AL in home runs with 15, and they just don't get very much distance on their fly balls.

Twins fly ball distance, 2011.The Tigers, with 28 home runs, rank 10th in the AL and don't put much sock on the ball either.

Tigers fly ball distance, 2011.Note that the Twins are at least hitting balls in the middle of the plate well.  The Tigers only seem to be getting distance on the edges.

Compare these teams to the Yankees.  They lead the league with 54 homers:

Yankees fly ball distance, 2011.The Yankees light up the strike zone with much brighter greens and even a little yellow.  If you think the New Stadium has something to do with it, the Yankees are actually hitting the ball further on the road this season.

Injuries and age hurt the Twins and Tigers long ball ability this sesaon.  Until the big bats come back or are replaced, the teams need to concentrate on other ways to score runs besides waiting for the three-run homer.


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