Doubters remain, but Twins are one of MLB's biggest surprises


The Minnesota Twins... scratch that...

The first-place Minnesota Twins look to continue their charge up baseball's leaderboards when they begin a weekend series against the high-powered Toronto Blue Jays at Target Field Friday night.

Minnesota's 28-18 start to the season is impressive as is, but considering they were 1-6 through the first week of the regular season makes the ensuing 27-12 run all the more impressive.

If not for the Houston Astros, owners of the only record in the American League more impressive than Minnesota's, the Twins would be USA Today's surprise team of the season, thus far.

"Winners of five straight to pull into a tie with the Royals atop the AL Central, Minnesota entered the weekend with no regular hitting above .280 or with an on-base percentage above .348. Their supposed ace, Phil Hughes, has a 4.57 ERA. Their major free-agent acquisition, Ervin Santana, was suspended for 80 games because of a drug violation. Their $49-million bust from a year ago, Ricky Nolasco, has a 5.12 ERA and is allowing 1.611 walks and hits per inning pitched — yet is somehow 5-1. Since being outscored 22-1 in a season-opening sweep at the hands of the Tigers, they have scored 190 runs and allowed 190 runs — and somehow gone 28-15. Plus, their bevy of prime prospects — outfielder Byron Buxton, third baseman Miguel Sano and right-hander Alex Meyer — remain in the minors. No, nothing makes sense about these Twins."

Minnesota's winning ways didn't spill over in the early voting results for this summer's All-Star Game. Not one Twin was listed in the top five of any position for American Leaguers. But took notice and listed Trevor Plouffe on a short list of players deserving All-Star recognition.

"I don't think it's surprised us at all," Plouffe said in an interview with Fox Sports North. "We knew we had the potential to have a pretty good team. I think what's been going on with us is we've had good pitching, good timely hitting. We've played good defense. When you line those three things up, we're going to start winning games."

Grantland: Twins' success won't last

The Debbie Downer for the day comes from Grantland, where a lot of number-crunching and sabremetrics were employed to make fans think the surge the Twins' are enjoying won't last. Basically, the Twins have a bunch of players are overachieving in areas where they historically have either struggled or performed at a lesser caliber.

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