MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Twins are on fire.
As of May 27, they’ve hit homers in 20 of their last 21 games, tied the club record for most dingers in a month, and became one of only two teams in MLB history to reach 100 goners in the first 50 games of the season.
“Once that ball gets rolling, it’s kind of tough to stop,” said first baseman C.J. Cron, who’s hit 13 home runs so far this year. “I don’t know what it is, but we hunt pitches and hit them really hard and it’s been really fun so far.”
The players talk about a contagious excitement.
“We are a really good team, really good chemistry, we like to be around each other,” said second baseman Jonathan Schoop, who’s hit 10 home runs this season. “We just go out there and have fun.”
League-wide, home runs are up this season. Some have attributed that to the balls everywhere flying farther, though the MLB denies making any changes to the ball.
“Part of it is teams are swinging for the fences more,” said John Bonnes, author of the website Twins Daily. “Even amongst those, the Twins are at the top of their league.”
Bonnes says there are two big factors when it comes to the Twins hitting. First, the team signed power hitters Nelson Cruz, Jonathan Schoop and C.J. Cron in the off-season.
“I think we’re doing the things they expected us to do,” said Cron.
Second is baseball players tend to get better between the ages of 25 and 28. Eddie Rosario (16HR) is 27, Max Kepler (12HR) is 26, Mitch Garver (9HR) is 28 and Jorge Polanco (9HR) is 25.
“This is the time in a baseball player’s career that they’re supposed to take a step forward, and they’re all taking that step forward together,” said Bonnes.
Schoop says he’s learned from last year and made adjustments to his swing. Polanco says he’s swinging harder at better pitches. Cron says the Twins hitting coach has preached swinging at good pitches and hitting them hard.
“The secret is having good hitters,” said Twins hitting coach James Rowson. “I think it’s a combination of those guys learning and now just coming into their own as players.”
Rowson and others also credited new head coach Rocco Baldelli’s looser coaching style.
“We’re not worried about fitting inside any box,” said Rowson. “It’s always like go out there, be your best, have your best at bat and we’ll see what happens.”