Twins Daily: Defensive progress key to solving Twins' run prevention problem

Adding pitching will be big, but so will playing better defense.
Publish date:
Jorge Polanco

The focus across Twins Territory is squarely on adding pitching, and rightly so, but improving the defense would also help maximize the team’s ability to prevent runs. Matthew Trueblood’s recent article in which he pointed out some concerns regarding the Twins defense and athleticism really got my wheels turning. Here's some additional information on how the Twins defense stacks up to the rest of the league.

Take a look at how the 2019 Twins ranked in comparison to the rest of the league:

image (4)

If you’re not familiar with those stats, here are the FanGraphs Library entries: FIP, xFIP, SIERA, DRS, UZR, DEF.

The Twins clearly need to add arms, especially considering their expected departures, but it’s not entirely fair to point to pitching as a weakness of the 2019 Twins. Metrics that attempt to isolate pitching independent of defense actually look highly upon the ‘19 staff.

The Twins had the worst ranking in Defensive Runs Above Average among all the postseason teams this season. Just one team that ranked lower in that metric had a record above .500. The Twins also had the eighth-largest gap between their team ERA and FIP. Again, none of the teams with a larger gap qualified for the postseason, and just one had a winning record.

That’s not keeping good company.

While the Twins ranked ninth in ERA (4.18), they were 14th in total runs allowed per game (4.65). They gave up the fifth-most unearned runs in the league, 74. League average was 59 unearned runs, but Oakland led the league with just 34 unearned runs.

Under normal circumstances, I’d happily sacrifice some defense to improve offensive firepower. Afterall, there’s a much stronger correlation between run scoring and overall team success than there is with fielding alone. But did the 2019 Twins take things too far?

If the Twins fail to take steps forward in the field next season, their return on any pitching investments will be somewhat diminished.

This story originally appeared at Twins Daily and was re-shared through a collaboration between Twins Daily and Bring Me The News. 

Next Up

YouTube TV, FSN

Report: Fox Sports North is becoming Bally Sports North

The rebranding will reportedly happen prior to the start of the MLB season.

walmart mask

Wisconsin Senate votes to end statewide mask mandate

The joint resolution now heads to the Republican-controlled state assembly.

P.J. Fleck

Looks like the Gophers can put Fleck-to-Tennessee rumors to rest

Fleck is annually a hot commodity when coaching jobs open up.

Matt Dumba

Wild drop front end of back-to-back with Kings

The Wild lost consecutive games for the first time this season.

Andrelton Simmons / Minnesota Twins

Twins sign Andrelton Simmons to one-year deal

The former Angels shortstop is a four-time Gold Glove winner.

covid, vaccine

Minnesotans eligible for COVID shots only need to pre-register once for vaccine lottery

This is good news for people worried that they'd need to sign up every week.

police lights

2 people charged in separate Minneapolis homicides that happened hours apart

A woman is accused of stabbing a man in the chest over $60, while a man is accused of accidentally shooting a victim on the man's birthday.

House for sale

Despite pandemic, Twin Cities housing market set records in 2020

Sales were up 7.7% in 2020 compared to the year before.

Target store inside

Target unveils 'limited-edition' home, lifestyle collection with Levi Strauss

The new collection will be available in some stores and everyone online Feb. 28.

Tim Walz

Walz's $52.4 billion budget increases school spending, raises taxes on wealthy

He says the budget will help level the playing field and ensure all Minnesotans have a fair shot at economic recovery,

Screen Shot 2021-01-26 at 12.55.00 PM

Pictures from Minnesota GOP's Deadwood retreat show no masks, no distancing

The pictures were shared in Chair Jennifer Carnahan's latest email newsletter.


Byron Buxton

Twins Daily: Home Opener preview: Twins host the Cardinals

First pitch is set for just after 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Jorge Polanco

What might be a bigger problem than pitching for the Twins

How much will Josh Donaldson help the rest of the infield defense?

Hyun-Jin Ryu

Offseason blueprint: Twins could go with generics over brand names

Twins Daily thinks up a way to construct the 2020 roster.

Eddie Rosario

The injury that killed Eddie Rosario's 2019 season

Is Rosario about to have the best season of his career?

Luis Arraez

Is infield defense really that important for the Twins in 2020?

Twins Daily breaks down all of the defensive details.


Minor league contraction plan conjures painful memories

Twins Daily has details on a Twins' affiliate threatened by contraction.

Target Field

New Twins hitting coach Edgar Varela hunts the 'good stuff'

Varela has spent time with Twins prospects he calls "super athletes."

Nelson Cruz

Do the Twins have a possible problem with right-handedness?

It's a balanced lineup overall, but what if Minnesota's best hitters are all righties?