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Twins Pull into Top 5 in World Series Odds After Winning 11 of Last 13 Games

Ryan Murphy

by Ryan Murphy in MLB Baseball

Updated Apr 3, 2020 · 10:00 AM PDT

Jorge Polanco throwing to first base.
Jorge Polanco and the Twins are flying high. Photo by Keith Allison (Wikimedia Commons).
  • The Minnesota Twins are first in the AL Central and have the best record in baseball
  • Minnesota’s World Series odds have shortened significantly during their latest winning streak 
  • The Twins are on pace to have baseball’s best team OPS in 83 years

No team has undermined the credibility of bookmakers more this season than the Minnesota Twins, whose average World Series odds were as distant as +7300 on December 6th. The Twinkies weren’t even expected to be factors in their own division after winning just 78 games in 2018 and spending less than $50 million in free agency.

Flash forward five months later and Minnesota not only has the best record in the AL Central, it has the best record in all of Major League Baseball. The Twins have won eight of their last 10 games and are 27-10 since finding a new gear on April 20th.

The same bookmakers who flippantly dismissed Minnesota before the season even began have now adjusted their World Series odds to +980. The Twins still lag behind the Astros, Dodgers, and Yankees, but they could leapfrog them soon if they continue to rack up wins.

2019 World Series Odds

Team 2019 World Series Odds
Houston Astros +350
Los Angeles Dodgers +375
New York Yankees +500
Minnesota Twins +850
Philadelphia Phillies +1000
Tampa Bay Rays +1200
Boston Red Sox +1300
Chicago Cubs +1300
Atlanta Braves +1500
Milwaukee Brewers +1700

Odds taken 05/27/2019.  

Minnesota’s Offense Has Been Off the Charts

Minnesota has produced many eye-popping numbers this season, but the one you really need to know is .857. That’s the team’s OPS, and it isn’t just good, it’s historically good. The last team to post a number that high was the 1936 New York Yankees, who won 102 games and captured the World Series. The Bronx Bombers tore the hide off the ball that season thanks to Hall of Famers like Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Tony Lazzeri, and Bill Dickey.

The Twins may not be stocked with living legends like the ’36 Yankees, but they’re certainly hitting like them. Left fielder Eddie Rosario is batting .283 with 16 home runs and 45 RBIs, shortstop Jorge Polanco is hitting .332 with nine homers and 36 RBI, and right fielder Max Kepler, whom the Twins signed to a five-year extension in February, already has 12 taters and 33 runs batted in. In fact, it’s hard to find anyone on the roster who isn’t contributing. Minnesota presently ranks first in the Majors in runs, home runs, RBIs, slugging percentage, and OPS.

First baseman CJ Cron, who’s gone deep 13 times in 2019, believes the key to Minnesota’s prodigious production has been solid contact. “Our focus is on just hitting the ball hard,” he said. “That’s kind of the philosophy with the group of guys we have here. That’s all we’re looking to do. We want to hit the ball as hard as we can regardless of the count.”

It’s certainly hard to argue with the results.

Wes Johnson is Working Wonders with Minnesota’s Pitchers

Minnesota’s hitting has been so phenomenal that it’s overshadowed the work of the team’s hurlers, who are also off to a fast start. The Twins rank second in shutouts, third in quality starts, and fifth in ERA. That’s in stark contrast to 2018, when the club ranked near the bottom in virtually every pitching metric.

Credit is due to new pitching coach Wes Johnson, who was plucked away from the University of Arkansas during the winter. The 47-year-old has brought the Twins into the 21st century with an approach heavy on biomechanics and analytics. His techniques may seem foreign to some baseball traditionalists, but he’s done a phenomenal job of refining his players’ mechanics and sharpening their velocity.

No one has benefited more from Johnson’s tutelage than Martin Perez, who is 7-1 with a 2.95 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP. It’s been quite a turnaround for a player who sported a 6.22 ERA a season ago with the Rangers. Jose Berrios also appears to be well on his way to another All-Star season. The 25-year-old ace is 7-2 with a 3.20 ERA, and has allowed two earned runs or less in seven of his 11 starts.

Should Bettors Double Down on the Twins?

The time to bet on the Twins was back in February when their odds were still higher than a Nelson Cruz moonshot. Minnesota has been baseball’s feel-good story during the first two months of the season, but it’s fair to wonder if they can maintain their offensive onslaught. At some point their strikeout to home run ratio is going to swing the other way, and when it does, the Twins will struggle to manufacture runs with their all-or-nothing ethos.

For now, the Twins remain an excellent bet to win the AL Central, but need to prove that their present play is sustainable before becoming bona fide World Series contenders.

We’re personally banking on the New York Yankees, who are 8-2 in their last 10 games and sitting atop the highly competitive AL East despite sending 17 different players to the IL already in 2019. There’s no guarantee the Yankees will be healthy when the postseason begins, but if they are they have the depth and talent to beat anyone in a seven game series.

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