The Major League Baseball trade deadline is Friday, July 30 at 3:00 pm CT. After that the St. Louis Cardinals begin their series against the Minnesota Twins at 7:15 pm CT. The Cardinals are an even .500 at 51-51 and are 6-4 in their last ten games. The Twins are 43-60 overall and 19-30 on the road. That should be an indication of how this series will go, but you cannot predict baseball, as I have so painfully learned.
Some things about the Twins
The Twins are near the bottom of the league in defense and pitching, which likely explains their poor record. Their 4.63 team FIP is the fifth worst in the league and their 5.01 team ERA is tied for third worst. A big reason why has been trouble with the longball. As a team their HR/9 is the second highest in baseball at 1.53 and their home runs per fly ball rate is 15.6%, third in MLB.
Defense is a little harder to quantify with less than a season worth of data, but the Def fWAR on Fangraphs for the Twins is near the bottom as is their UZR. It seems safe to say the Twins are not a great defensive team.
On offense it has been a different story, though. The Twins have the seventh highest team wRC+ in baseball at 104, are tied for the third highest team ISO with .187, and tied for second in homers with 151. The Twins have seven players with over 10 home runs, lead by Nelson Cruz with 19.
The lineup is stacked with good hitters, the best this season being Byron Buxton leading the team with a 217 wRC+. He has been on the Injured List with a hand injury sine June 21. After him there are three players with a wRC+ over 120: Mitch Garver at 150, Nelson Cruz at 142, Josh Donaldson at 128.
Some things about the Cardinals
The Cardinals pitchers will have their work cut out for them against this lineup, but they might be the team best equipped to do slow them down. They are tied for first in baseball in HR/9 at 0.92 and are first in baseball in HR/FB at 10.5%.
On the offensive side the Cardinals are currently led by [rubs eyes] Harrison Bader. Bader is peaking and it might be due to a procedure to have polyps removed from his sinuses which has helped his eyesight. He currently leads the cardinals with a 135 wRC+.
Goldy Watch: Paul Goldschmidt’s wRC+ is now at 116, down a little from last week’s 120.
Some things about the Matchups:
Friday, July 30 at 7:15 pm CT is José Berríos and Wade LeBlanc. Berríos throws a curveball, sinker, and four-seamer about evenly and sprinkles in a changeup the rest of the time. LeBlanc has thrown a cutter most of time, followed by his sinker and changeup. He also throws a four-seamer and curveball on occasion.
Saturday, July 31 at 6:15 pm CT is Bailey Ober for the Twins against a mystery starter for the Cardinals. Ober throws his four-seamer 58% of the time and brings in a slider, changeup, and curveball when he is ahead in the count.
Sunday, August 1 at 1:15 pm CT is Michael Pineda against another mystery starter from the Cardinals. Pineda throws a four-seamer over 50% of the time and a slider 30% of the time. He also throws a changeup.