By Brad Berreman @bradberreman24 on July 15, 2014
The Minnesota Twins went into the All-Star break on a high note, winning five out of seven games on a road trip through Seattle and Colorado. Still, they are just 44-50 on the season and barely hanging on to any faint hope of playoff contention.
Here is my report card in some key areas for the Twins through the first half of the season.
Brian Dozier (18 home runs, 69 runs scored and 16 stolen bases) and Kurt Suzuki (.309, 37 RBI) have been highly productive, and others have had moments. But the Twins are only near the top of the American League in doubles (183; second) and walks (336; third).
Defense is still fairly hard to quantify with advanced statistics, but the Twins are currently 10th in the American League with a -10.4 UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating; via Fan Graphs.com). But they have made just 45 errors (tied for second-fewest in the American League) with a .987 fielding percentage.
The Twins have had good (Phil Hughes, Kyle Gibson), bad (Ricky Nolasco) and downright ugly (Mike Pelfrey when he was healthy) in their starting rotation thus far, so taking that all into account...
Closer Glen Perkins earned all All-Star nod with 22 saves, and Casey Fien (2.23 ERA), Brian Duensing (2.52 ERA) and Caleb Thielbar (2.97 ERA) have also been very good out of the bullpen. Jared Burton's recent improvement, with a 0.82 ERA over his last 12 appearances, bolsters the grade here.
Given the situation the roster has been in so far this season, from starting pitchers not going deep into games regularly at times to having to use infielders in the outfield, manager Ron Gardenhire and his coaching staff has done the best it can.
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