Thus far in 2012, the Twins offense has been all about Josh Willingham. Willingham has hit safely in each game this year.
Anyone who has read anything I've written—be it here, Fangraphs, Baseball Prospectus, etc.—knows of my affinity for baseball statistics. The fun part about baseball stats, especially at the beginning of the year, is the levity of them; they can change at any given second with a home run or an oh-fer, and it really takes until June before big or bad games can really alter a player's rates too much.
With this in mind, I'm hoping I can make this into a semi-regular series over the course of the year. Today, we'll dive into some Twins statistics to help get a better feel for this 5-9 bunch.
8: The number of walks AND strikeouts for Jamey Carroll so far this season. Carroll, who was acquired via free agency in the offseason, is well-regarded for his plate discipline and steady shortstop play, and he has been rather good despite only a .657 OPS.
.245/.355/.302: The collective triple-slash line of Twins shortstops—largely Carroll—so far in 2012. In 2011, Twins shortstops combined to hit .238/.292/.320.
0.3: The combined WAR of Twins shortstops in 2012, good for 11th overall. In 2011, the group combined for minus-1.1, by far the worst in either league.
.771/.664: The Twins' OPS against RHP and LHP, respectively. In 2011, the Twins actually hit LHP better, with a .665/.670 split.
.301/.357/.451: The Twins' triple-slash at home, good for an .808 OPS. Last season, the Twins had a .670 home OPS and a .662 road mark (.687 road mark in '12).
0.7: The WAR the Twins have gotten out of left field this season, due in large part to Josh Willingham's early-season success. This mark is third best MLB-wide.
Given the Twins start, where do you think they'll end up record wise?
3: The number of times combined that Alexi Casilla has walked or struck out in 39 plate appearances this season.
.267/.353/.578: This is Justin Morneau's triple-slash. After a slow start, Morneau has hit .316/.435/.789 the past five games to hopefully show a potential return to form.
91: The number of chances fielded by Chris Parmelee without a single error thus far in 2012. He was voted the Eastern League's (Double-A) best defensive first baseman last season.
8.1: The number of scoreless innings tossed by Alex Burnett. Burnett, who actually had a rough spring training, may still be headed back to Rochester despite his hot start because he's one of the only relievers with options left.
2.74: Francisco Liriano's WHIP through three starts (11.1 IP). Essentially, he's allowing three base runners per inning pitched. As a result, it's no surprise his ERA is knocking on 12.00.
33: The number of free passes issued by the Twins staff, good for second in the AL. The Twins are perennially among the major league's best in allowing the fewest walks.
9: The number of home runs combined for Willingham and Morneau. The rest of the team has a total of three (one each for Thomas, Doumit and Mauer).
28: The number of doubles the Twins have hit, good for fourth in the junior circuit. Eight Twins have more than two doubles, but none have more than four.
.739: The collective OPS of Twins hitters so far. It's early, but it still easily trumps the .666 mark from last season.
This is just a random sampling of what's gone on so far with this year's Twins club. To me, it looks like a vastly improved group that needs a little more out of its starters, and a little more offensive consistency. What do you think?