Sunday, July 16, 2006

Unlikely Suspects

In a 6-2 victory over the Indians last night, the Twins got the following performances:

* Career utility-man Nick Punto collected two hits, including an RBI double, to raise his season line to .306/.393/.403. Punto is currently on an eight-game hitting streak, in which he has hit .424 with five doubles. Stat-heads keep waiting for Punto to start to regress and hit closer to his career rates, but he keeps looking better and better with more regular play-time.

* Jason Tyner, in his second game since being called up, went 2-for-4 with another big RBI. Tyner is a career .262 hitter who has not been a regular major league player since 2001, but he has come up big in his first couple games with the Twins.

* Mike Redmond, a career backup catcher who is hitting .347, went 0-for-3 but continued to be a productive number-3 hitter, driving in a run on a sac fly.

* Dennys Reyes shut the door with a 1-2-3 ninth inning, striking out each batter he faced. The Twins picked up Reyes in the bargain bin just before the start of the season after he had been cut by the Padres last year when he posted a 5.15 ERA. His current ERA is 1.52 and he is holding opponents to a .224 batting average.

That the Twins got outstanding performances from their ace Johan Santana and their young slugger Justin Morneau is not surprising... what is surprising is that the players listed above are doing as well as they are. Considering their pasts, it would seem that these players have no business performing this well. Nonetheless, the Twins do often seem to have guys like this play way over their heads. Is it good coaching or luck?