Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Twins Decline Isn't Coming

Yes, I'm more than aware that the title is a significant ringing endorsement of a team that has lost 90 games for each of the past four seasons. I'm also more than well aware that it's still May and the 2015 Major League Baseball season remains in its infancy. I'm probably more well aware than most that regression is staring the Twins right in the face. The good thing is that I'm here to tell you there's no proverbial cliff.

To start the season, the Twins kicked off a road trip that saw them go a combined 1-6, and all of those games were played against divisional foes. Since however, the team has rattled off victories at a 25-12 clip and amongst the hottest teams in all of baseball. Obviously in baseball things even out, and hot teams can't ride a streak forever, but that too doesn't mean a decline is coming.

Going into the season, if I tried to pitch that the Twins were going to win 82 games, I probably would have been considered a significant homer. While I noted that was probably somewhere near their ceiling, I had the Twins at 79 wins back in March. Following the Ervin Santana news, I suggested 74 wins might be a more logical mark. Now on pace to surpass 90 wins, it's fair to suggest that the projections may have been altered, but that a certain decline shouldn't be considered.

I have a hard time believing this Twins team will win 90 games, there's far too many players toying with regression. That being said, baseball cannot be broken into parts and then analyzed as a whole to prove a point. With the suggestion that .500 baseball would be a welcomed contribution for the Twins, reaching that point following game 162 wouldn't signify anything but a step in the right direction. For a team that has experienced so much losing, turning things around prior to the influx of young talent that is coming would be a very exciting situation.

There's no doubt that continuing to win seven out of every ten games throughout the rest of the season is going to be a difficult pace to uphold. On the flip side, this isn't the same Twins team of old. Not only was the roster constructed to be competitive from the get go, but Samuel Deduno, Kris Johnson, and Yohan Pino are no longer looming for spot starts. Minnesota has developed quality options in the minor leagues with some real upside, and they can be counted on to produce when called upon.

While it's been a great first couple of months for the Twins, it should be equally hard to suggest that they both continue this pace as well as see a decline from where expectations lie. Of course regression will set in at some point, but whether the Twins won 50 of their first 80, or put together an insane run to close out the year, taking significant steps forward was the goal for 2015. This team is well on its way, and the longer Paul Molitor can hold off the law of averages, the more excitement Twins Territory should continue to expect.