The Twins Are Piecing Together Wins Any Way They Can

The Minnesota Twins are riding a 11-game win streak thanks to role players stepping up and ... a good luck sausage? Is it sustainable?

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - APRIL 29: The Minnesota Twins celebrate their team win over the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field on April 29, 2024 in Chicago, Illinois. The Twins defeated the White Sox 3-2. (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)

To kick off the 2024 campaign, the Minnesota Twins were off to a 7-13 start before an astounding 11-game win streak, their first since 2006, shot them back up the totem pole in the American League Central.

Minnesota entered the year as one of the favorites to win the Central, but they’ve faced some stiff competition early on. The Guardians are just about the best team in baseball, the Royals are the ultimate underdogs and even the Tigers are 18-14.

Those three clubs are three of the best in the AL so far. The Twins were nowhere near that conversation until the past week and a half. All of a sudden, the squad is 18-13 with a positive run differential (+18) and all the momentum in the world.

What exactly has been behind this sudden surge? Let’s dive into the team and explore what’s been going right for them.

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How Are the Twins Maintaining An 11-Game Win Streak?

Role Players Stepping Up

Most of the Twins’ winning ways are coming thanks to a group of role players. Byron Buxton, who is once again dealing with a knee injury, and Max Kepler both are sporting below-average stat lines. Elsewhere, the likes of Carlos Santana, Kyle Farmer, Manuel Margot, Christian Vazquez and Matt Wallner are barely looking like big leaguers at the plate.

This is all without mentioning the fact that Royce Lewis, who was supposed to take this team by storm, made it into just one game before going down with yet another long-term injury.

Instead, the production is coming from lower on the organizational depth chart. Even though some of the usual suspects aren’t coming through (yet), the Twins’ offense ranks third in the AL in fWAR, fourth in wRC+, fifth in OPS and sixth in both OPS and BB%.


Edouard Julien, last year’s seventh-place finisher in the AL Rookie of the Year voting, is continuing to get on base and be a hugely productive contributor. Through 31 games, he’s got 12 extra-base hits (five doubles, seven home runs) with 16 runs scored and 14 more driven in. His .222 batting average doesn’t jump off the page, but he’s drawing a lot of walks and sporting an .827 OPS and 137 OPS+.

Switch-hitting utilityman Willi Castro is also scorching at the plate. He’s got 13 XBH with an .814 OPS and 134 OPS+ through 31 games while making defensive appearances at five different spots. He got the starting shortstop job in Carlos Correa‘s absence and hit .338 in 19 Correa-less games.

Ryan Jeffers, splitting his time between catcher and designated hitter, has five home runs and 21 RBI through 28 appearances. He’s always had pop in his bat but the .298 average and .941 OPS he’s got right now is especially impressive.

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Once-promising prospect Alex Kirilloff debuted in 2021 but still has yet to appear in over 100 games in a season. He’s got 28 games under his belt so far and has a 118 OPS+ with a pair of home runs and 10 RBI.

Outside of Buxton, Kepler and the recently-returned Correa (who’s also swinging it well so far), this lineup doesn’t have a ton of firepower on paper, but they’re finding ways to beat the opposition even without their best bats clicking.


Twins starters have the third-highest ERA (4.69) in the AL and have allowed home runs at the second-highest rate in the league, too. However, they’re striking out a ton of batters (third in the AL in K/9) and have done just enough to get the ball to the bullpen with a lead.

Joe Ryan has been the best starter the Twins have by a long shot. In six starts, he’s got a 3.38 ERA and 2.79 FIP through 34.2 innings of work. Ryan is striking out 10.6 batters per nine innings and has also cut down on hits and walks allowed.

Turning the attention back to the bullpen, this group has been lights out. The relievers have 11.05 K/9, the most of any team in baseball outside of the Mets and are leaving over 82% of runners on base to end innings.

Each of Griffin Jax, Brock Stewart, Kody Funderburk, Steven Okert and Cole Sands have made 11 or more appearances and have an ERA+ north of 112. 36-year-old Jay Jackson also has 11 appearances and sports a 98 ERA+, which is only 2% below league-average.

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A … Summer Sausage?

There’s no way to talk about the magic happening in Minneapolis without at least mentioning the glorious summer sausage celebration that’s taken their clubhouse culture by storm.

After beginning the year as one of baseball’s “wurst” teams, the Twins were in desperate need of some good vibes.

It’s unclear where exactly the sausage came from, but multiple reports have confirmed that Farmer, who at one point had an endorsement deal with a meat company, was somehow involved in its acquisition. Broken down by Twins manager Rocco Baldelli himself, it’s a “substantial packaged sausage that Jeffers has been carrying around in his bag and throwing at people when we score runs and hit home runs.”

Well there you have it.

From what I can tell, the sausage first appeared during the April 25 game against the White Sox. Once it did, Jeffers and Julien hit back-to-back home runs and the Twins scored 32 runs over the Angels in the next series. Players touch the sausage for luck before at-bats and have it take part in home run celebrations, too.

Baseball is a weird sport that frequently sees superstitions come to fruition. This one, while slightly nasty because of the fact that the sausage sits there unrefrigerated, seems to be helping the Twins get along just fine.

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Weak Schedule

The Twins are rattling off wins at an alarming rate, but there’s hardly enough here to suggest that they’re here to stay. Most of the hot bats are due for a regression and the starting pitching has been embarrassingly poor outside of the amount of strikeouts they’re notching.

Over the past 10 days, the opposing teams have been the White Sox for a three-game series, the Angels for another three-game series and the White Sox again for three more. When you look at it that way, the streak becomes slightly less impressive, but 10 wins is 10 wins.

Next up on the docket for Minnesota is a couple of teams firmly in contention: the Boston Red Sox and Seattle Mariners.

Boston is 18-15 and just coming off of a four-game win streak of their own. Their record is only good for third place in the AL East, which speaks volumes to the quality of play coming out of that division.

The Mariners, 17-15, are currently atop the AL West, which is a division that’s been the polar opposite of the East and Central. Seattle’s run differential is just +7 and the highest in that division is +12 from the Rangers.

Minnesota is going to have their hands full when as they play in Fenway this weekend, but it’s off to a nice start as they won game one of the series. Their streak isn’t a 100% lock to come to a close, but this is going to be the first legitimate competition they’ve faced in nearly two weeks.

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