Friday, August 31, 2007

Month in Review: August

There are still two August games left with the double-header taking place today, but with the off-day yesterday and an unexciting series against the Royals set to kick off, it felt like a good time to go ahead with the August installment of my monthly review series. The numbers will exclude the final games of the month obviously, but that shouldn't be too big of a deal. Without further ado...

August Record: 12-15
Overall Record: 67-66 (Third Place in AL Central)

TEAM REVIEW
It was a miserable month for the Twins, as they failed to capitalize on the nondescript play of the Indians and Tigers. Rather than making up ground, the Twins fell further behind and effectively eliminated their playoff chances. The dagger was their latest sweep at the hands of the division-leading Tribe. The Twins scored some runs in their series sweep against the Orioles, but still averaged just 3.9 runs per game for the month. If you take away the Baltimore series, the Twins averaged just 3.3 runs per game, which is exactly the same number they averaged in July if you subtract the 32-run double-header outburst. So, basically, if you take away a few flukishly high-scoring games, the Twins have averaged 3.3 runs per game over the past two months solid, which is utterly awful.

THREE UP, THREE DOWN
A look at three players whose performances were outstanding over the past month, and three who fell bellow expectations.

Three Up:
1. Jason Bartlett: .363/.416/.625, 2 HR, 12 RBI, 12 R, 1/2 SB
This is the type of month we've been waiting for out of Bartlett. With the way he has been spraying line drives all season long, he simply couldn't continue to hit for such a low average. His big month of August brings his season line to .280/.346/.390 with five home runs and 38 RBI. With a decent September, he should finish with a line very close to the .295/.350/.390 with 7 HR and 50 RBI that Mr. Mosvick predicted back in March.

2. Torii Hunter: .330/.368/.547, 4 HR, 20 RBI, 18 R, 3/5 SB
Hunter continues to chug along in his career year. For people that have followed Hunter in the past, the truly surprising thing is that he has been so consistent. Hunter is a notoriously streaky player who tends to fall into major slumps from to seemingly offset every hot streak, but this year he just hasn't dropped off. His worst month was July, and even then he managed a respectable .769 OPS.

3. Carlos Silva: 31.2 IP, 1-2, 3.13 ERA, 17 K / 4 BB, 1.01 WHIP
A very ugly outing in his last start of the month kept Silva's August numbers from looking as impressive as they could have been, but he still had a very solid month. The 1.01 WHIP is extremely low for him. Naturally, his trend of receiving absurdly low run support continued.

Three Down:
1. Justin Morneau: .233/.292/.350, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 11 R, 0/0 SB
Last month, Morneau topped the "Three Up" list by hitting .347 with eight homers and 28 RBI. For whatever season, he fell off a cliff in August. One home run? Six RBI? The numbers are so uncharacteristically bad that I don't even know what to say. Morneau has still had a good season overall, but he chose to tank at the absolute worst time possible.

2. Michael Cuddyer: .232/.287/.414, 3 HR, 16 RBI, 13 R, 0/0 SB
Cuddyer collected 11 extra-base hits in 99 August at-bats, but hit just .232 and saw his OBP drop off a cliff. After posting nearly even K/BB ratios in each of the past three months, Cuddyer struck out 18 times in August while drawing just seven walks.

3. Nick Punto: .119/.208/.149, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 6 R, 2/3 SB
At this point, it's like staring at a car wreck. The truly sad part is that he still started 20 games and got 80 plate appearances while hitting like this.


PROSPECT OF THE MONTH
Brock Peterson - New Britain Rock Cats
I really believe that Peterson is the single most underrated prospect in the Twins' organization. He was a 49th-round pick in the 2002 draft, and he doesn't get talked about a whole lot, but he's really developed into one of the best hitters in the upper levels of the Twins' minor league system. After posting a .306/.457/.514 line in August, the 23-year-old first baseman is now hitting .281/.380/.470 with 14 home runs and 54 RBI on the season. He has clearly made adjustments to the pitching in Double-A; after posting a 66/12 strikeout-to-walk ratio through the first three months of the season, he drew 30 walks while striking out only 21 times between July and August. Plus, he's a right-handed hitter. Keep an eye on Peterson, he may be a candidate to fill that DH spot somewhere down the line.

SEPTEMBER PREVIEW
No furious playoff chase down the stretch this year. Instead, it will be about checking out some of the young players and looking toward next year. Should be interesting to see who the September call-ups are.


9 comments:

Matthew said...

Nice recap. What's sad is that as bad as Morneau and Cuddyer have done, I just can't get over the whole Punto debacle and how in the world he keeps getting starts (I too plan to rant about him today in my column).

You're right on about Brock too. I think he's over looked a lot due to pitching being focused on so strongly and then Chris Parmelee getting any other attention. I think Brock is going to be a nice player for the Twins in the future.

WinTwins57 said...

I agree about Brock as well. We saw him play during Spring Training and he's got a nice swing, homerun potential. He knocked one out during the game we saw and is now my dad's fave minor league prospect!! He's easily swayed. I'm excited to see how he does in the next few years!

No comment on August. There are no words!

Tricia said...

No matter how crummy things are, they can nearly always be worse. Imagine trying to follow the White Sox this year. Yuck! In theory, they have a lineup full of guys who should be able to knock the ball out of the park at will, and yet, there they sit in last place, behind the Royals.

Karleeee said...

Atleast we're not Devil Ray fans.
Big ouch.

I'm still un utter shock and horror as to how horrible Morneau has been.
Did the company that made his maple cookies in Canada go out of business?

Did his doctor tell him NO MO JIMMY JOHNS?

Or is he just sucking because he's secretivly jealous of Punto because even though he sucks, people still want to hug him and feed him candy.

Nick N. said...

No matter how crummy things are, they can nearly always be worse. Imagine trying to follow the White Sox this year. Yuck! In theory, they have a lineup full of guys who should be able to knock the ball out of the park at will, and yet, there they sit in last place, behind the Royals.

I think it was pretty clear in '05 that the White Sox were playing over their heads, but man have they been horrible this year. Ozzie Guillen is a really bad manager.

I'm still un utter shock and horror as to how horrible Morneau has been.
Did the company that made his maple cookies in Canada go out of business?

Did his doctor tell him NO MO JIMMY JOHNS?

Or is he just sucking because he's secretivly jealous of Punto because even though he sucks, people still want to hug him and feed him candy.


Those are all better reasons than I could come up with.

Karleeee said...

haha, just pretend thats the reason.
It will make you sleep better at night.

Corey E said...

Im patiently awaiting "The Baker Report."

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