Now, there are many things that led to the downfall of the Minnesota Twins this year—injuries for the most part—but could one man be the cause of it all?
Let’s face it, Tsuyoshi Nishioka did not produce nearly what the Twins thought he would. The Twins thought Niskioka would be a breakout star and very productive both on the field and at the plate.
The Twins felt very confident—probably over-confident—that Nishioka could perform, allowing the Twins to easily wheel and deal J.J. Hardy to the Baltimore Orioles. It just happened to be that this year Hardy decided to play and would have helped his embattled former team a lot.
If you look at RBIs alone, it’s very showing how much Hardy would have helped the Twins. Nishioka had 19 RBIs this past season; Hardy had 80. The Twins had 572 RBIs as a team; take away Nishioka’s 19 and add Hardy’s 80, and it moves the Twins' team total up to 633, moving the Twins to 17th in the MLB, compared to 27th with Nishioka.
Those 61 runs probably would've won the Twins a few more games.
Hardy played better on the field too; in fact, he was just on the field more than Nishioka. Hardy played in 129 games, while Nishioka played in 68 games. Nishioka had 12 errors this past season; Hardy only had 6 while playing in 61 more games.
Hardy’s batting average was 43 points higher than Nishioka. Hardy had 92 more hits. And Hardy had 30 more home-runs compared to Nishioka, who had only one long ball all year.
Anyway you cut it, it looks like Hardy should have been the man for the Twins.
Hindsight is always 20/20, but it’s hard to say that Twins fans didn't have questions about the move from the start.