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Studies show playoff experience doesn't matter, and that's great news for the Twins

Even Ervin Santana hasn't pitched in the playoffs in nearly a decade.
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Only seven players on the Twins' 40-man roster have tasted postseason baseball before. 

That's alarming considering the Twins are on track to play the playoff-tested Yankees in a one game Wild Card playoff next Tuesday. But does postseason experience really matter?

The answer is no, according to a 2014 study by the now defunct Grantland

“There is no evidence that postseason experience has any effect on players in the postseason over and above their previously established talent levels,” Grantland research specialist Russell Carleton wrote. “The idea that postseason experience confers some sort of advantage on a player or team is not supported by the data. If it were true, we would see some sort of departure from what we would otherwise expect based on regular-season stats. It’s not there.”

Grantland's research pointed to other studies that found similar results. That's great news for the Twins because they flat out don't have much experience at all. Only seven players on the Twins' 40-man roster have been to the playoffs before. 

  1. Bartolo Colon: 17 games, last appearance in 2015
  2. Joe Mauer: 9 games, last appearance in 2010
  3. Ervin Santana: 8 games, last appearance in 2009
  4. Jason Castro: 6 games, last appearance in 2015
  5. Chris Gimenez: 2 games, last appearance in 2015
  6. Matt Belisle: 2 games, last appearance in 2009
  7. Glen Perkins: 1 game, last appearance in 2006

The Twins needn't look further than their 44-year-old pitcher for proof. 

Way back in 1998, Colon beat the Red Sox at Fenway Park in his first career postseason start. Six days later he pitched a complete game to beat the Yankees. 

In 1999 he struck out 11 Red Sox to lead Cleveland to a win in Game 1 of the ALDS, and then got killed by Boston in Game 4, giving up 7 runs before being pulled with nobody out in the second inning.

The playoffs are all about one-on-one matchups. Sometimes the hitter wins, sometimes the pitcher wins. It really is that simple.

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