Saturday, June 19, 2010

A wild one

Not much more to say. Enjoy the win, Twins fans.

More sink, Blackburn!

If you began watching the Twins/Phillies in the 3rd inning, you missed Nick Blackburn's performance. You might ask, how? Well, take a look at Blackburn's line from last night:

1.2 IP, 6 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 2 HR

On top of that, Blackburn threw 50 total pitches - half of which were registered as strikes. He also retired just two Philadelphia on balls in play; one on the ground and the other on a line drive to left field.

To say it wasn't Blackburn's best start would be an understatement.

In fact, this was Blackburn's fourth start in the month of June; and the third of which he was not able to complete 4 innings of work. On the Twins last road trip, Blackburn 10 earned runs in just 6.1 IP versus Seattle and Oakland.

Blackburn's lack of success on the road should not come as a surprise. In 32 IP, Blackburn has an ERA of 7.31; including 55 hits allowed, 5 home runs, 9 walks, 8 strikes, and an opponents batting average of .393.

As you may have noticed, I highlighted a few different numbers. In fact, I could have highlighted all those numbers based on the significant amount of ridiculousness that they present. In a much easier way of saying it, Blackburn has been awful on the road this season; and not much better as a whole.

However, I am not going to ignore Blackburn's month of May. Blackburn gave a number of people hope that he would be worth the contract extension that he signed with the Twins just a few months ago. Blackburn posted a 2.65 ERA in in 37.1 IP in the month of May - impressive. However, if one looked deeper into Blackburn's moth of May, they would have noticed that he was very, very lucky.

To prove that, here is Blackburn's BABIP by month so far in 2010:

April: .325
May: .288
June: .444

Notice - there are two extremes there; meaning that Blackburn was lucky in the month of May, and has been a bit unlucky in the month of June. Blackburn will never be a pitcher that records a lot of outs via strikeout - and as much as people want to claim his as one, Blackburn isn't as 'ground ball driven' as one would think. In fact, he has a less than one GB/FB ratio on the season.

However, he will always be a pitcher that relies heavily on his defense - and right now, those batted balls in play just aren't finding the Twins defense like they had been in May. In fact, Blackburn is probably closer to the pitcher we saw in April than he is to the pitcher in May or June. And Blackburn wasn't very good, at all, in the month of April.

So be fair, he is probably a little better than that as well. In fact, he has posted ERA's of 4.05 and 4.03 the last two seasons before 2010 so he has had some success - he just isn't going to be able to sustain that success; and I believe we have seen the beginning of that in 2010.

It is just too bad the Twins front office became enamored with ERA and .500 record over the last two seasons to realize that this was bound to happen.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Matt Tolbert + Nick Punto = Joe Mauer

As far as home run totals go, this is the truth.

What is wrong with Denard Span?

When looking at the roster of the 2010 Minnesota Twins, one would be able to find a handful of players that have underachieved through the first 66 games of the season.

Joe Mauer's lack of power, Jason Kubel's lack of batting average, J.J. Hardy's non-existent offensive production, and Jesse Crain's lack of consistency out of the bullpen are all issues that have plagued the Twins throughout the 2010 regular season.

However, perhaps the most disappointing and surprising struggle that has appeared for the Twins has been that of Denard Span. Span, who emerged onto the scene two seasons ago in 2008 to become this team's everyday center fielder and leadoff man, has had a decent season thus far - but it certainly has not met expectations set forth by himself, the Twins, and the fans.

Span's current line of .278/.351/.359 is not bad, but it certainly leaves plenty to be desired. Among all qualified Major League Baseball Center Fielders, Span has the 18th best wOBA - after having the 3rd best wOBA a season ago.

Back in early May, Over the Baggy's Parker Hageman talked about Span's hand placement within his swing and how it had been affecting his ability to elevate the baseball. It was a legitimate concern for Span, but he seemed to right the ship by hitting .353/.403/.462 during the month of May - following a brutal April in which he hit just .211/.339/.278.

In the month of April, despite his struggles, Span still managed to find himself getting on base at a decent clip. Not great, but decent; and in May, he was one of the best hitters in the American League. However, the month of June has been a brutal one for Span. Granted it has been just 58 at-bats, Span has been Nick Punto-esque as far as his offensive production is concerned.

In the month of June, Span is hitting just .224/.250/.276, including a 4:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio - that included a 1-for-26 road trip to begin the month of June.

So one needs to ask - what is wrong with Span so far in 2010?

Well, after dissecting the basic numbers, let's take a look deeper into Span's 2010 season.

BB%: 9.3% (10.4% in 2009)
K%: 11.6% (15.4% in 2009)
ISO: .082 (.104 in 2009)
wOBA: .330 (.359 in 2009)
BABIP: .309 (.353 in 2009)
GB/FB: 2.41 (1.89 in 2009)

If you notice, I highlighted two different statistics that are the most significant. One, which is Span's ground ball-to-fly ball ratio has jumped significantly since 2009. Span's GB% has jumped to 58.2% after sitting at 53.1% in 2009. In addition to that, Span has seen his FB% drop from 28.1% to 24.1% over the last year.

So what does that mean? Well, it leads into the other statistic that I highlighted - Span's batting average on balls in play. As you can see, it has dropped - and dropped significantly. Why? Well, Span has been giving himself less opportunity for balls to 'grab some green' as he has pounded the ball into the ground more often than not - resulting in easy out opportunities for the opponent.

The AL average for BABIP is .297 thus far in 2010 - so Span remains above average in that department, but the increase in GB% has obviously been an issue towards Span's production so far in 2010.

Could it be his hand placement, as Hageman dissected earlier? Possibly. I would love to see an updated breakdown of this.

Another issue that has plagued Span is a lack of plate discipline. Despite walking 17 times in 90 AB's during the month of April, Span has walked just 2 times in 58 June at-bats. As you may have noticed above, Span has seen his BB% drop by almost one-third when compared to 2009 - and it has been become more an issue over the last two months.

So what does this all mean? Well, while a number of Span's statistics are very similar to his first two seasons at the Major League level, there has most certainly been in a change in Span's approach at the plate. While his contact numbers remain similar both within the zone and out of it, Span is no longer walking as much as he had been - as well as his batted ball placement has changed as well.

Span is an important part of this team's offense - that is pretty obvious. In the month of June, the Twins have scored one less run than their season average (3.6 to 4.6 rpg), with Span's struggles (especially on the road) being a huge part of that.

With the Twins lead in the American League Central down to just 1.5 games over the Detroit Tigers, the Twins are in for a fight - meaning they will need Span to return to the Span of old in order to remain in contention for a division championship.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Q & A: Liam Hendriks

Despite a busy minor league schedule, Twins pitching prospect Liam Hendriks took the time on Wednesday to answer some questions. Below is the interview.

Despite signing with the Twins as an undrafted free agent in 2007, you have been one of the more effective pitchers in the organization. What reasons can you give for your success so far?

Hard Work. Being an Australian, I was only eligible to sign as a free agent but it is a lot harder being a free agent than it is if you were drafted. You don't really know where you stand compared to other players so you just have to go out and do what you can. I've been brought up knowing that there is nothing better than hard work and thats how I still operate over here and lately its really been paying off for me. Hopefully I can keep it up for a while longer.

You underwent back surgery a couple years ago which resulted in you having to miss the entire 2008 season. How did you manage to come back from such an injury and remain effective?

Yeah, that is right. I had spine surgery at the end of the 2008 season. The rehab was only 6 weeks long and all I could do for it was wait and see how it turned out. It did give me a chance to pitch back in Australia and get some coaching from ex-major leaguer in Graeme Lloyd. He helped me to improve my change-up and slider which were effective pitches for him when he played.

Would you say you fit the mold of a 'Twins pitcher?' Your statistics may support that notion, but how do you feel about that from your standpoint?

I would like to think so. The mold of a Twins pitcher in my view is a pitcher who throws strikes, doesn't walk too many, throws a change-up and forces contact.
I feel I fit that mold especially as I pride myself on throwing strikes and not walking too many people.

Was there as reason why you decided to sign with the Twins rather than another organization?

They had and still have one of the best farm agencies in all of baseball and that really appealed to me. I did not want to be skipping organizations like others have.
There were also a few Australians with the twins as well so that helped it made it easier to come over here and get accustomed to a different country.

You have had a pretty dominant 2010 season so far in comparison to your 2009 season. What are the reasons for your success?

As I said earlier, hard work. I really pushed myself this off season to stay in shape and keep my arm fresh. I didn't even pick up a ball until January and I think that rest for my arm definitely helped.

Having pitched at both levels so far, what type of differences have you seen between Low-A and High-A so far during your 2010 season?

The High-A hitters don't swing at as many balls as they do in Low-A. You can't get away with as much up here either. You need to make quality pitches time after time or else you will get burned. I've noticed that you really need to change speeds a lot more here than in Low-A. Keep the hitters off balanced and make it hard for them to put a good swing on the ball.

You have always gotten more ground ball outs than fly ball outs during your professional career. Is this a product of the type of pitchers you choose to throw, or has the Twins organization made it a point of emphasis to put sink on the baseball – resulting in more ground balls?

I throw a 2 seam fastball that sinks only a little bit but I think that is what gets most of my ground balls as well as the slider. It is just the way I throw. I don't try and get them, but I do try and keep the ball low and off the middle of the plate and I think if i do that, more ground balls will come from it.

Do you pay attention to prospect rankings and such? Most experts did not have you in the Twins Top 10 going into this season, but your performance so far could dictate a jump in those rankings. Is that something you and other prospects pay much attention to?

It doesn't really bother me. Of course it would be nice to be mentioned in them. I just try and do what I have to do and then as long as the Twins think I am doing well thats all I want. Seeing my name in a list such as that would definitely be a compliment – I won't lie there, but if not, I can live with it and try and work hard to get there the next year.

Is there a specific Twins pitcher, or pitcher in general that you attempt to model yourself after?

Not really. Each person is different, so they need to pitch in different ways. I do like to watch Kevin Slowey and Scott Baker pitch though. They aren't over powering like myself, but are strike throwers and battle every time they step on the mound. It is interesting to watch what they throw in different counts in different situations to each hitter.

Being on the road quite a bit, do you get the opportunity to sit down and watch the Twins?

It is tough even when we are playing at home; the games coincide a lot so by the time we get home it is hard to watch them. I did spend 3 years in extended spring training playing early games and I got to watch a few then.

More often, pitchers are beginning to analyze themselves through the world of statistics. Have you found yourself doing the same, or do you rely on your catcher, coaches, and scouting reports to provide that information for you?

I would be lying if I said I didn't keep track of my stats, but it doesn't effect my pitching at all. I compare myself to others in the league just to see how I shape up to the rest. When I step foot in the clubhouse on the day of my start, I get into my routine and stats don't come into my mind at all - other than hitters of that day and who to be careful with.

Do you have a goal in mind as far as when you want to reach the major league level?

Not really. I just take it as it comes; keep trying to do my best and see where it goes. I am hoping to stay on track for one level a year and if I am lucky enough to stay here this year and be able to play in AA next year, I will be on track for that.

Thanks to Liam Hendriks for taking the time to do an interview with Inept Ullger.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Upgrading the roster

On Tuesday, the Star Tribune's Howard Sinker (who is one of the better Twins followers around) wrote a blog piece discussing ways to upgrade the current roster for the Minnesota Twins.

In much of his blog, he discussed ways to upgrade the roster by going outside the organization - bringing in a guy like Mike Lowell or Kevin Kouzmanoff to upgrade the hole that is third base for the Twins; or bringing in Cliff Lee to solidify the rotation - giving the Twins one of the best 1-2 punch in Major League Baseball (along with Francisco Liriano).

While I am not opposed to going outside the organization to upgrade the roster - almost because it is necessary to make this team a legitimate World Series contender rather than a 'one and done', as Sinker says. This team built itself during the off-season to contend for a World Series title - why stop there?

However, there are ways to upgrade the roster right now - without having to give up a top prospect like Wilson Ramos or Ben Revere; or having to surrender one of their current starting pitchers. How is that, you may ask? Well, here are my offerings:

Demote Drew Butera and recall Jose Morales from AAA Rochester

Some people would ask why not promote Wilson Ramos? Well, it is pretty clear that the Twins want Ramos playing everyday and he just would not get that opportunity at the big league level. While Butera is a significant upgrade defensively over Morales, he does not play enough to provide much of an impact with his defensive abilities.

Having Morales on the bench would give the Twins another late-inning option as far as pinch-hitting goes - rather than having Butera on the bench who is essentially as effective as Kevin Slowey is at the plate. While Morales is hitting just .259/.352/.330 at Rochester in 112 at bats, that is a significant upgrade over what Butera currently offers the Twins.

While it is just a handful of at-bats, Morales has also hit .311/.381/.361 at the major league level.

Demote Ron Mahay and recall Anthony Slama or Kyle Waldrop from AAA Rochester

This one seems like a pretty easy one. The Twins currently have three left handed relievers in their bullpen, and Mahay is clearly number three on the depth chart behind Brian Duensing and Jose Mijares. So what is the purpose of keeping Mahay on the 25-man active roster?

He was a non-roster invitee during spring training, and did not make the team out of camp. While he was a terrific find to begin the season, boasting a 0.90 ERA in his first 12 appearances, Mahay has had a had time finding work as of late - and when he has found work, he has been less than effective during those outings.

In Mahay's last 7.1 IP, he has allowed 8 runs including two poor outings versus Toronto and Milwaukee.

He just has no purpose on this baseball team at it's current state. On the flip side, both Slama and Waldrop could be useful arms in the Twins bullpen. Both have been terrific for Rochester so far in 2010, boasting the first and second best ERA's on the Red Wings pitching staff.

Slama: 38.1 IP, 16 H, 19 BB, 44 K, 0.91 WHIP, 1.64 ERA
Waldrop: 45.1 IP, 36 H, 8 BB, 29 K, 0.97 WHIP, 1.19 ERA

There are not too many teams in Major League Baseball that would let two young pitchers, with those statistics, continue to sit at AAA in favor of a middling veteran reliever - except for the Minnesota Twins.

I understand the reluctance to recall Slama because he is not on the 40-man roster; but that excuse cannot be used with Waldrop as he is one of the 40 individuals on the Twins 40-man roster. Plus, there are plenty of candidates to be removed from the 40-man roster to make room for Slama. Estarlin De Los Santos, Glen Perkins, Matt Tolbert, and Ron Mahay all make sense.

Plus, couldn't one move Alexi Casilla, who is expected to miss significant time with an elbow injury, to the 60-day DL to make room? You would think so.

DFA Brendan Harris and recall Jason Repko from AAA Rochester

This move would require some more roster shuffling, but it is a move that makes the most sense if one is looking to upgrade the current Twins roster - which is what this blog post is all about, right?

Harris, who signed a 2-year deal during the off season (for whatever reason), no longer has a place on this baseball team. Even with the injuries to J.J. Hardy and Orlando Hudson, Harris cannot find himself in the lineup - wondering what the purpose is of having him on the active roster to begin with.

During the month of June, Harris has received just 18 AB's - resulting in a .111/.111/.222 slash line. For the season, Harris is hitting just .160/.237/.217 and has not recorded an extra base hit since May 9th versus the Baltimore Orioles. You think that's bad? Harris hasn't recorded an RBI since April 21st versus the Cleveland Indians.

Repko seems to be the player who makes the most sense for what the Twins need. If the Twins want to reward Denard Span with a day off every now and then, they would be best served doing so without shifting Michael Cuddyer to center field. Keep Cuddyer in right field where he belongs, and put a guy capable of playing center field in that position.

In 202 AAA at bats, Repko is hitting .297/.389/.446 which would be a heck of an addition to the Twins underwhelming bench - especially with the recent injury plague.

If you don't want to do Repko, fine. Then go with Dustin Martin who has been equally as good for Rochester so far (.294/.356/.468) and can play center field more effectively than Cuddyer.

While none of these moves figure to place the Twins above the New York Yankees or Tampa Bay Rays, they will improve the current roster of the Minnesota Twins - giving them a better chance to win the American League Central Division and move forward toward competing for a World Series Championship.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Matt Tolbert - 1, Joe Mauer - 0

Now Matt Tolbert can say that he has done something that Joe Mauer has not.

That is all. Enjoy the win, Twins fans.

Minor League Recap: June 14th

Despite the Twins having an off-day yesterday, there was still plenty of action being displayed within the organization. Below is a quick breakdown of yesterday's minor league action.

Rochester Red Wings, L 5-7

Despite a nice night of offensive production by the Red Wings, Rochester could not overcome a poor outing from starter Jeff Manship - suffering a 7-5 loss to Toledo. Manship, who has had two brief stints with the big league club so far in 2010, has had an uninspiring month of June following a disappointing month of May. However, his numbers remain respectable as he currently holds a 4.43 ERA in 12 starts - totaling 65 innings, 51 strikeouts, and a 1.33 GB rate.

With that said, Manship has been extremely hittable during the 2010 season. He has surrendered 83 hits in those 65 innings - including 20 in his last 10.2 IP.

As expected, the Rochester bullpen pitched well last night - throwing 3, one-hit innings. Pat Neshek, who is rehabbing a finger injury, threw 2 innings last night allowing 1 unearned run on 1 hit - while walking 1 and striking out 2. 2004 draftee Kyle Waldrop followed that up with, yawn, another scoreless outing. Waldrop threw a perfect inning, dropping his ERA to 1.19 on the season.

On the season - Waldrop has thrown 45.1 IP, allowed just 36 hits, 8 walks, and has struck out 29. While his strikeout numbers are not overwhelming, he does not surrender many fly balls; as shown by his 3:1 GB/FB ratio.

Brian Dinkelman, Jose Morales, Matt Macri, and Brock Peterson all recorded two hits for the Red Wings.

New Britain Rockcats

Off day.

Fort Myers Miracle - L, 5-8. 

It has been a rough season for the Miracle this season - and last night was no exception. Despite holding a one run lead going into the 9th, the Miracle saw that lead quickly evaporate as Palm Beach deposited a grand slam off of Miracle closer Billy Bullock.

Bullock's blown save spoiled a solid outing from Adrian Salcedo, who had one of his better performances for Fort Myers. At just 20 years old pitching in High-A ball, Salcedo has been as what you would expect - inconsistent. He has coupled three poor outings with three good outings - including last night's 6.1 IP, 10 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K performance.

Salcedo's numbers look disappointing from the surface, but when you dig deeper and see what is beneath those numbers, one can understand why he would be experiencing struggles at this point in the season. There is a reason why the Twins have opted to place him in Fort Myers with the Miracle, skipping Beloit, after being in the Gulf Coast League in 2009.

Estarlin De Los Santos went 3-for-4 last night for the Miracle offense, putting his overall slash line at .304/.411/.354 in limited AB's with Fort Myers.

Beloit Snappers

Off day.

DSL Twins (Dominican Summer League) - W, 6-3

As one of the more intriguing minor league teams for Twins fans to follow, one can understand why people are frustrated when box scores are not released on time for the Dominican Summer League. However, when they are, you can see why there is excitement surrounding a number of prospects on the DSL Twins.

The biggest one is last year's international signing period prize Miguel Sano. At just 17 years old, Sano is one of the Twins' most highly regarded prospects - and so far, he has not disappointed. In just 35 AB's, Sano is hitting .314/.405/.600 while walking 5 times to 12 strikeouts. While the strikeout number is a bit high, Sano has already shown why he received over $3 million in bonus money nearly a year ago.

In relief, 19 year old pitching prospect Angel Mata struck out 6 in 3 innings - giving him 7 strikeouts in just 4 innings of work on the season.

2009 International signee Jorge Polanco did not play in today's game.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Off day banter

With the Twins having an off day today before resuming interleague play on Tuesday versus the Colorado Rockies, here are a few things to digest (or regurgitate) between now and then.

Left side of the infield still a problem. Defensively, the Twins left side of the infield has been one of the best in Major League Baseball. According to, J.J. Hardy ranks first among all SS in UZR and Nick Punto sits in 6th in UZR among all major league third baseman.

However, the issue lines within the offensive production that both the shortstop and third base positions have provided the Twins this season. Both positions were an offensive liability in 2009 as well, despite the mid-season acquisition of Orlando Cabrera - so not much has changed for the Twins in that regard.

With that said, most expected the Twins to get solid offensive production from Hardy in his first season in the American League. However, injuries, bad luck, a declining walk rate, and decreasing power have hampered that from happening so far in 2010.

As for Punto, well - the guy just is not an everyday player at the major league level; despite what Ron Gardenhire or fans of the Twins want to believe. This was supposed to be the year that Punto provided decent offensive output since it was an 'even calendar' year. We have all seen how that has worked out, right?

UZR says the Twins are a good defensive baseball team. We have continued to hear how great the Twins are defensively because of their lack of errors, but most statistic driven baseball fans would probably question just how good the Twins are defensively. However, the most popular and highly used defensive metric in today's game is UZR - which puts the Twins as the fifth best defensive team in all of Major League Baseball.

As mentioned above, the Twins infield defense is terrific. However, despite holding a 16.2 team UZR, the Twins outfield defense is among the worst in Major League Baseball. Holding a -6.2 UZR, the Twins outfield ranks in the bottom ten in all of baseball.

The worst among the outfield regulars for the Twins? Michael Cuddyer. But let's continue to run him out there in center field, especially with one of the most fly ball heavy starting pitchers (Kevin Slowey) on the mound.

Joe Mauer's power - where art thou? Much has been made about the Twins lack of home run production at Target Field so far this season - with the most significant being that of Joe Mauer.

To put it into a bit of perspective - Atlanta's Troy Glaus has played 3 games in Target Field so far and has hit 2 home runs. On the other hand, Mauer has 96 at-bats at home so far and has recorded 0 home runs. You may be asking why? Well, let's break it down:

FB%: 25.5 (29.5% in 2009)
LD%: 28.3 (22.6% in 2009)
GB%: 46.2 (47.8% in 2009)
BABIP: .346 (.373 in 2009)

So what does that all mean? Well, it is tough to point out a reason for Mauer's lack of power so far this season based on those numbers; but those should be the most telling numbers of all.

Mauer is hitting less fly balls than he did a year ago, which allows for less opportunities to put the ball into the seats. Despite the early season struggles as far as grounding into double plays, Mauer's ground ball percentage is down as well compared to 2009. With that said, he is hitting more line drives, which should result in more XBH's and a higher BA - but Mauer boasts just a .319 batting average so far in 2010.

So where has Mauer's power gone? Well, maybe 2009 was such an outlier and amazing season that we all become a bit spoiled. Mauer's isolated power (SLG - BA) is .132 so far this season - which, coincidentally, falls right in line with his career norm if you ignore his MVP performance from a season ago. Perhaps this is the power that one should expect from Mauer.

Francisco Liriano is back. To claim he is back to the form of 2006, as some people continue to claim, may be a bit ridiculous. However, if one had any questions as to whether this Twins staff lacked a bonafide ace and front line starting pitcher, Francisco Liriano's performance on Friday versus the Atlanta Braves should erase all doubts.


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Lineup Ineptness

Serious question to Ron Gardenhire:

Did you really expect to get much production from your lineup today when you had successive hitters named Brendan Harris, Drew Butera, Nick Punto, and Trevor Plouffe?

Let's be honest. Gardenhire won't be reading this blog, therefore the question will never be answered - but it is something worth asking, even if it is rhetorical, based on the performance shown by today's lineup versus Kris Medlen, a pitcher making just his 11th career start at the Major League level.

While this is arguably one of Gardenhire's most talented teams during his tenure as the Minnesota Twins manager, there is still a significant amount of fat that needs to be trimmed - beginning with the four players mentioned above. Granted Plouffe is on the roster out of necessity due to the lingering wrist injury hampering J.J. Hardy, but a legitimate case can be made to replace the other three players.

There will be a number of different statistics used on this blog - with the first being wOBA - which happens to be Weighted On Base Average. This is one of the more underrated baseball statistics considering it gives a good indication as to what the hitter actually does at the plate - regardless of the situation, amount of runners, inning, etc. Not at all hits are created equal, and this statistic supports that.

For the aforementioned trio of players, here is their respective wOBA for the 2010 season:

Butera: .160
Harris: .221
Punto: .276

So you know, the league average is typically around .330-.335 - varying on a year-to-year basis. What does that tell us? Well, something that you probably already know; Butera, Harris, and Punto are bad baseball players. Very bad.

Shocking, I know. This offense was supposed to be a juggernaut. With a foundation led by Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer, this offense was supposed to erase all the memories of when Jason Tyner was the Twins' DH and when Tony Batista and Juan Castro patrolled the left side of the Twins infield.

However, that has not happened. Based on projections, this offense has underachieved up until this point in the season; and while injuries and slow starts have hampered that, the fact that guys like Punto, Butera, and Harris continue to get AB's is a much bigger concern than anything else facing the Minnesota Twins right now.