Twins hitters have been ‘extra’ special so far in 2019

In case you haven’t been paying attention, the Minnesota Twins are mashing the ball so far in 2019.

The Twins’ slugging percentage is .493, second in the major leagues only to Seattle (.501). That’s a far cry from last year for Minnesota, which slugged just .401 in 2018.

When Minnesota gets a hit, you’re likely to be seeing a double, triple or home run. The Twins lead the major leagues in extra-base hits percentage (i.e the percent age of hits which go for extra bases) at a 46.3% clip. The aforementioned Mariners are second at 45.3%. No other team in MLB is higher than 42.5%.

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One of the goals this offseason for the Twins was to add more power to the lineup. So far, that strategy has been successful, but other Twins have stepped up their game as well.

Byron Buxton tops the team with a 68% extra-base hit percentage – coming into this season his XB/H% was 38%.

Eddie Rosario is next at 63%, Mitch Garver, albeit in limited plate appearances, is at 60% while newcomer Jonathan Schoop is at 55%. Others above the league average of 39% are Jorge Polanco (47%), Willians Astudillo (43%) and free-agent signee Nelson Cruz (41%).

Expect the trend to continue this weekend as the Twins host Baltimore. The Orioles have allowed the most extra-base hits in the major leagues this season, 119.

Rosario was one of many Twins to tee off on Baltimore pitching last weekend, hitting a double and three homers in the Minnesota’s three-game sweep. He’s hit 10 home runs to start the season, one shy of Joe Mauer’s record for most home runs by a left-handed hitter in a month (Mauer had 11 in May 2009).

With only a few games remaining in April, Rosario has his work cut out for him to reach the top five for HRs in any month. Harmon Killebrew had 12 in a month four times, as well as 13 and a team record 14 (June 1964). Also hitting 13 in a month were Brian Dozier (August 2016) and Jimmie Hall (August 1963).

Other notes:

Martin Perez is averaging 90.4 mph per pitch this season.  His previous career best was 89.3 mph last season.

— Twins reliever Taylor Rogers is throwing a strike on his first pitch 77.8% of the time, which is the highest rate among qualifying relievers.

— Astudillo has struck out just once in 51 plate appearances. That 2.0% K rate is the best in the major leagues (min. 33 plate appearances). Anaheim’s David Fletcher is second at 4.5% (4 K/88 PA).

Statistics courtesy Sportradar, and Inside Edge