Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Month in Review: June

June Record:17-11
Overall Record: 45-38 (2nd Place in AL Central)

TEAM REVIEW
June was a very, very good month for the Twins. They hit a funk early in the month, dropping six straight games (four of them against the only team they were trailing in the division), but they rebounded in interleague play with nine straight wins and have taken 13 of their last 16 games to move back within striking distance of the division lead.

The bats have come around to some degree -- the Twins have homered in six straight games -- but the real improvement during this streak has come from the pitching staff, which has posted a spectacular 2.47 ERA over the past 16 games.

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 Kubel: .329/.427/.671, 6 HR, 15 RBI, 21 R, 0/0 SB
Kubel had a rather disappointing first half last season before going on a two-month tear to end the season, bringing his numbers up to a respectable level. This year, he's seemingly started his tear a bit earlier, and if he keeps scalding the ball like this the end-of-year numbers will be more than respectable. In April, Kubel struck out 20 times while drawing only three walks. In June, he struck out 10 times while drawing 14 walks.

2. Kevin Slowey: 38 IP, 3-2, 3.55 ERA, 30 K /3 BB, 1.03 WHIP
Take away the ugly start against the White Sox early in the month and the ERA and WHIP drop to 1.66 and 0.80, respectively. Of course, we can't rightfully just discount a bad start for the sake of making his numbers look better, but Slowey's production for the month stands on its own (phenomenal K/BB ratio) and he finished the month the right way with three earned runs allowed over his last 29 innings of work.

3. Delmon Young: .325/.345/.488, 2 HR, 13 RBI, 8 R, 0/2 SB
Young seems to be quietly coming on. His three walks in June were by far a season low (he drew 11 in May), but perhaps the pleas for Young to show more patience were misguided. He really does seem to be at his best when he's just swinging away, as the low walk total yielded a .325 average and a season-high nine extra-base hits in 84 at-bats.

Three Down:
1. Carlos Gomez: .229/.260/.297, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 14 R, 3/6 SB
Howard Sinker wrote yesterday that "steps forward, steps back will be the story of [Gomez's] rookie [season]," and that's a pretty accurate assessment. After posting a 796 OPS in May, Gomez saw that number tail to 557 in June. He's proven to be a streaky player, so one has to hope another step forward lies ahead.

2. Livan Hernandez: 34 IP, 2-3, 6.62 ERA, 15 K / 7 BB, 1.79 WHIP
Hernandez's opponents' batting average, April-May-June: .310, .347, .367. His opponents' slugging percentages as the season has progressed: .490, .497, .524. These are not good signs.

3. Craig Monroe: .125/.176/.313, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 3 R, 0/0 SB
Four hits in 32 at-bats for Monroe. Two of them were homers, so that's something I guess. He'll be seeing more at-bats with Michael Cuddyer going on the DL, so the Twins are going to need Monroe to pick up the pace.

*Note: I wrote this section up prior to last night's game so the individual player stats are current through Sunday's games.

PROSPECT OF THE MONTH
Ben Revere - Beloit Snappers
The Twins' controversial 2007 first-round pick has been on an absolute tear in Beloit this year. He actually posted better numbers in May, when he hit .433 with 17 extra-base hits in 28 games, but his June was quite impressive as well: .400/.481/.486 with a 7-to-7 strikeout-to-walk ratio and 10 steals in 11 attempts. Revere holds a ridiculous .418 batting average overall and has maintained his incredible level of production throughout the season while performing equally well against right-handers and left-handers. Though he missed some time during the month due to a hamstring injury, he's healthy again now, riding a 23-game hitting streak and probably looking at a promotion to Ft. Myers in the near future.

JULY PREVIEW
The Twins have exceeded many expectations so far this season, but July will be a defining month for this ballclub. Sixteen games against divisional foes, and three apiece against the Yankees and Red Sox. The other three games on the July schedule are against the Rangers and their high-flying offense. There's really no break in the schedule this month. Well, except for the All-Star break.

7 comments:

Andrew Kneeland said...

A good month for Minnesota, like you said. July will also be very deciding in how Minnesota chooses to address the Trade Deadline.

I have a feeling Revere will be the prospect of the month again before the season is over.

Really, really like what Slowey is going. I still think Baker has better stuff, though. If Baker is the ace of the rotation in a few years like I think he will be, Slowey and Liriano could be...co-aces. And Blackburn is there as well. If Perkins continues doing like tonight he could be a starter too.

If you read my second post today/yesterday I said what I think about dealing Livan. Andy LaRoche had a great game tonight...just saying...:)

Nick N. said...

It's going to take a LOT more than Livan Hernandez to score Andy LaRoche.

I don't think third base is even a grave area of concern right now. Buscher has been very effective, and I see no reason to believe he can't continue to be a productive hitter.

James said...

Joe Mauer has a pretty good June too:
.341/.423/.568/.991
It seems like in the last 2 weeks, he has hit everything hard. In one those games in San Diego, he went 0-4 but hit it to the warning track twice

Nick N. said...

Indeed, Mauer had a significantly better month than Young, but I felt obligated to highlight how well Young hit since he had been such a dud over the first two months of the season.

James said...

right. I totally agree with you. Delmon had a great month. I hope it continues

Mauer seems to be underappreciated by some people (not here) its I dont understand why. I wish I had a whole teams of Mauers

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