Thursday, June 19, 2008

Cleaning Up

When you have a lineup that doesn't feature a lot of power or a lot of great on-base percentages, it sure helps to have a cleanup hitter who is as ridiculously effective as Justin Morneau has been this season. Morneau entered last night's game with a .345/.434/.619 line with runners in scoring position, and he proceeded to drive in three runs in last night's win with a sacrifice fly in the first and RBI singles in the seventh and eighth. This one night after Morneau drove in both of the Twins' runs in a 2-1 victory in the series opener against the Nats. His success in these situations has been critical, because he's gotten a ton of opportunities. Compare Morneau's number of plate appearances with runners in scoring position to the other Twins regulars (entering last night's game):

Morneau: 99
Cuddyer: 77
Mauer: 74
Young: 70
Harris: 70
Kubel: 67
Gomez: 58
Lamb: 53
Casilla: 34

Morneau is not hitting the ball out of the park the way he has the past two years -- he's on pace for just 25 homers this season -- but his RBI total of 55 ties him with Carlos Quentin for second in the AL. This makes Morneau a powerful weapon and a crucial component of the Twins lineup.

The Twins rank sixth in the AL in runs scored despite sporting a worse team OPS than five of the teams that rank behind them. In no small part, this can be attributed to Morneau, who has consistently cleaned up in his ample opportunities to drive in runs.

8 comments:

Beau said...

Casilla has 34 RISP and 23 RBI. Now that's impressive.

MVB said...

Morneau has been incredibly effective which as you say it crucial for us. I'd like to see a little more power, but I'll let it slide for sake of knocking those runners in.

Did you see Joel Sherman's column on the New York Post? He mentioned that if Milwaukee's Prince Fielder became available at the deadline the Twins, along with the Yanks, Mets, Dodgers, and Royals would be interested. Shocked me.

I wrote a post on it, not sure where here got that idea. More unlikely than my Beltre trade, hah!

Nick N. said...

Did you see Joel Sherman's column on the New York Post? He mentioned that if Milwaukee's Prince Fielder became available at the deadline the Twins, along with the Yanks, Mets, Dodgers, and Royals would be interested. Shocked me.

My guess is that that was simply a throwaway line. The idea is ridiculous.

Frymaster said...

Don't forget, Cuddy's played in a lot less games than Mauer and Morneau have, but he's still getting the opportunities..and for the most part failing.

Nick N. said...

Cuddyer has actually hit quite well with RISP this year, which is one of the few positive things that can be said about his performance.

TT said...

The Twin's speed may have something to do with Morneau's success as well:

Gomez has been on base 87 times and scored 38 times. Casilla has been on base 41 times and scored 18 times. Mauer has been on base 111 times and scored 41 times (eliminating HR in all cases).

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