Scouting the Twins

The Twins aren't glamorous, but our scout calls them the most balanced team in the American League.

Updated: October 5, 2004, 9:40 AM ET
By Buck Martinez | ESPN Insider

Division Series Breakdowns
American League
  • Minnesota Twins
  • New York Yankees
  • Boston Red Sox
  • Anaheim Angels
    National League
  • Los Angeles Dodgers
  • St. Louis Cardinals
  • Houston Astros
  • Atlanta Braves

    The Minnesota Twins don't make mistakes. They play sound, fundamental baseball. They can play any style – utilizing small ball, tough defense or good pitching – and they can slug with you, too.

    The Twins are the most well-balanced team in the American League. They led the American League with a 4.03 ERA, which is a surprise to many baseball experts. They allowed the fewest baserunners to reach base on an error. They had the best strikeout-to-walk ratio in the league and the lowest walks per 9 innings.

    The Twins aren't glamorous – they just win, baby, with a strong bullpen and three starters who can beat anyone they face. Manager Ron Gardenhire expects his team to "play it right."

    Position players

    Shannon Stewart
    Left Field
    Minnesota Twins
    92 11 47 46 6 .304
    Shannon Stewart: Great knack for putting the bat on the ball. Fastball hitter, better down than up, better out over the plate ... Fights off tough pitches and forces the pitcher into mistakes. Spoils good pitches with two strikes. ... Hammers mistakes on breaking balls. Best bet is to keep the ball in on his hands early with fastballs than try to get him to chase soft away ... Wore out the Yankees last year in ALDS (10-for-14, three 2Bs, 3B, HR) ... Had foot problems earlier in season and hasn't run much the past couple of years. Has played left field very well for the Twins ... Doesn't throw well but charges the ball quickly to make up for that.
    Buck Martinez re-joined ESPN in 2002, following a one-year stint as manager of the Toronto Blue Jays, and currently serves as analyst on ESPN's Wednesday night national telecasts of Major League Baseball.