Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The Flip Side of Selling

Right now, the Minnesota Twins own a 1.7% probability when it comes to making the postseason per Fangraphs. I recently wrote about how Minnesota can utilize their remaining schedule if and when they decide to sell off. Should the losing continue, things become very clear for this squad. What makes things interesting however, is the slate that lies ahead.

So far, the Twins have found themselves playing a significant amount of games outside of the AL Central. While divisional matchups are all bound to get in eventually, it's of note for Minnesota given the poor quality of competition. Obviously the Cleveland Indians have the same opportunity to beat bad teams, but the Twins schedule sets up favorably. In September, 17 of the 28 games come against the White Sox, Royals and Tigers. In August, the club plays more than their fair share of games against Cleveland, as well as Kansas City.

What that means for Paul Molitor's squad is somewhat of an unknown at this point. Having recently faced both the White Sox and Royals, Minnesota is enjoying a nice five game winning streak. On the year, the Twins are just 12-10 against the three "poor" teams in the division, while owning a 6-3 record against Cleveland.

Beating bad teams, or the ones that you should beat, is what good teams make a habit of. Sitting eight games below .500 at the moment, Minnesota can't say they've capitalized on opportunities thus far. What makes things somewhat interesting, is that there's plenty of opportunity ahead.

I don't know that I believe this club can turn it around. On paper coming into the year, this should've been a very good team. The pitching has been there, but seeing very little from players like Dozier, Morrison, Sano, Buxton, and Kepler has crippled the offense. Should they all turn it around, we're talking about a much different outlook down the stretch. The Indians have their warts, and a clicking Twins team is more than capable of holding serve.

Derek Falvey and Thad Levine are stuck in the position of deciding whether or not they're willing to bet on their expected producers to turn things around. They've got roughly two more weeks to evaluate the progress, and while they could end up being sellers, don't really have a big trade chip of note.

Given what we've seen thus far, it's hard to bet on a group of five or six guys all turning things around and competing at a high level. If half of those players become assets however, we could be in for a bit of interesting baseball slightly longer than anticipated. The unfortunate flip side to this however, is that the middle ground seems to be where this is all trending, and that's hardly an enviable place to be. Not bad enough to grab a top third draft pick, but not good enough to make the playoffs, the success would then need to be measured on what you learned or the evaluation that took place.

While not dead, the Twins are on life support. They have a few key contributors that could help them to pull through, and if that takes place in even the slightest fashion, the opponents that wait down the road may be of assistance as well.

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