The Twins have turned things around in 2017, and the team finds itself just a half-game out of first place in the American League Central division on May 11.
There's no doubt their pitching is better than last season, but the team's ERA still ranks outside of league average.
The biggest reason for the Twins' improvement has everything to do with their defense. According to Fangraphs.com, the Twins are leading the American League in defensive runs saved (DRS). DRS measures the number of runs a player saved or cost his team on defense, relative to an average player.
Minnesota's defense has saved 16 runs so far this season, whereas in 2016, the Twins were -49 in DRS – the second-worst figure in baseball.
Outfielders Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, and Eddie Rosario deserve a lot of credit for the turnaround. The trio has posted the best catch probability improvement from a season ago.
Catch probability represents the likelihood that a batted ball to the outfield will be caught. The more time a fielder has to react to a ball, and the less distance needed to reach it, the higher the catch probability.
New front office executives Derek Falvey and Thad LaVine put a big emphasis on improving the team's defense this past offseason – which is why they threw $24.5 million to defensive-first catcher Jason Castro and put the kibosh on Miguel Sano and Robbie Grossman in the outfield.