Twins Win

The Twins’ first win at Yankee Stadium in three years is worth remarking, as is their overall record one-fifth through the season, the best in the Major Leagues. Every Minnesota fan has a deep reservoir of pessimism, but there are plenty of hopeful signs for the remainder of the 2019 season.
First is the fact that no one is playing over potential. Yes, Eddie Rosario’s league lead in home runs will not last, but neither should his .222 batting average. Marwin Gonzalez, whom I had all but given up on, is starting to look like a solid contributor and will raise his average above .200. The other free agents – Nelson Cruz, C.J. Cron and Jonathan Schoop – have all been solid additions, but nothing terribly unexpected. Mitch Garver is rounding into the franchise catcher of the future, and Jorge Polanco has been the hitting machine I always thought he was. The offense has been awesome, but there is still room for improvement. Byron Buxton still refuses to learn how to bunt, a weapon that would make him less of a potential black hole at the bottom of the lineup. And Max Kepler could cut down on the long stretches between his hot streaks.
The pitching has been the bigger surprise, although I’ve been higher on Jake Odorizzi and Kyle Gibson than many other observers. Conversely, I wasn’t convinced that Jose Berrios was the ace others deemed him. Martin Perez was new to me, and if his most recent efforts are at all indicative he will give the Twins four quality starters. I’ll wait until today’s game with New York, if it’s played, to judge Michael Pineda; but again, he has potential to round out a top-flight rotation.
Everyone says the Twins’ bullpen is the weak link, but Taylor Rogers has been lights-out for a year now, and Blake Parker, Trevor Hildenberger, Trevor May and Ryan Harper have all had bright moments, giving the Twins about as good a bullpen as anyone else. Yes, they could use two more good arms, but that may not be necessary if the offense keeps building four-run leads. Matt Morin looked good in his debut, but we’ll need more time to know for sure. I’m not hopeful about prospects in the minor leagues, and Fernando Romero has not impressed, but the expectation is that a free agent or two will be added mid-summer if the team remains in contention.
The one worry is injuries. Every team suffers them, and so far the Twins have suffered less than their competitors. Only Willians Astudillo has been a significant loss to the IL. If one of the starters, or Rogers or Cruz, gets hurt it will test the suspect depth. But in the meantime, let’s enjoy.

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