GIDP: It "happens" or is it part of the "Twins way"?

Phil Mackey last night had a great article at ESPN1500.com, discussing the Twins' tendencies to hit into double plays this season, which has been a rally-killer. There was a very interesting quote by Ron Gardenhire:

"It's just what it is. When you get the big boys up there, you're looking for doubles and homers. And it's not a situation where you run. You've got to have guys that can run before you run. When Kubel's on, he's not a guy you're going to run with. When Kubel's at the plate, you want to leave the hole (open) and make them leave (the first baseman) on, hoping he'll hook a ball through the hole... Double plays are going to happen."

So do double plays just "happen" or is it in the Twins' DNA?

To try to answer this question, I looked at the ranking of various Twins' teams in the MLB (and the AL) for GIDP (in descending order, so #1 is the team that hit into most double plays this season) for the past 15 seasons. There has been enough player turnover within this time period. Here are the rankings:

2010: 1st
2009: 2nd (1st in AL)
2008: 8th (5th in AL)
2007: 4th (2nd in AL)
2006: 3rd (3rd in AL)
2005: 1st
2004: 10th (6th in AL)
2003: 7th (2nd in AL)
2002: 23th
------ Tom Kelly---
2001: 14th
2000: 6th (4th in AL)
1999: 3rd (2nd in AL)
1998: 1st

So, other than a couple of seasons, the Twins have been pretty high in GIDP and leading the league several times. That happened both in the Gardenhire and Tom Kelly era, so it not on the manager. I believe that it is part of the "Twins' way" of doing things, which is ingrained in the managerial philosophy of the club.


Dan Cook said...

Interesting break-down...

I'd be curious to see if there are other teams with similar streaks.

Or even a comparison with teams like New York and Boston who've been so successful over the same stretch of time.

thrylos98 said...

Dan, I am not sure whether GIDP is a reason for success.

Here are the numbers you asked from 2002 on:

2010: 1st; Yankees: 6th Redsox: 26th
2009: 2nd (1st in AL); Yankees: 3th Redsox: 9th
2008: 8th (5th in AL); Yankees: 5th Redsox: 7th
2007: 4th (2nd in AL); Yankees: 14th Redsox: 6th
2006: 3rd (3rd in AL); Yankees: 8th Redsox: 10th
2005: 1st; Yankees: 11th Redsox: 29th
2004: 10th (6th in AL); Yankees: 1st Redsox: 19th
2003: 7th (2nd in AL); Yankees: 2nd Redsox: 16th
2002: 23th; Yankees: 1st Redsox: 8th

As you can see the old slow Yankees' teams were grounding into a lot of double plays (the Sox not that much). But HR is pretty much the opposite of a GIDP, and those teams hit a lot of them (unlike the Twins post early 90s)

林奕廷 said...


Marv said...

Interesting. I wonder if this is a part of the 'Twins Way' that they could let go. Not sure exactly how that would look. These numbers are true across the tenure of different managers. Also of hitting coaches, as Vavra only became the hitting coach in 2005.
How would you go about changing something like this, short of having the players get on base less often?

thrylos98 said...


a couple of ways of changing this: a. when there is a man on 1st and the bases are not loaded, send him more often, especially when certain players are batting and b. try not to pound the ball in the ground.

Marv said...

a. It's true that Gardy does not run very often, and
b. sure would be helpful if the hitters would elevate the ball (look what it has done for Delmon!)

thry - when do we see your thought/numbers on what Cliff Lee might mean to the team?

thrylos98 said...


probably early next week. Still on the fence with that, but Blackburn at this point does not belong to an MLB rotation....

Anonymous said...