Patient approach paying off for Twins hitters

Patient approach paying off for Twins hitters

MINNEAPOLIS -- A patient approach at the plate is helping the Twins this season, as they entered Friday's series opener against the Tigers leading the Majors in runs scored per game -- largely thanks to also leading baseball in walks and on-base percentage.

The Twins entered Friday averaging 5.52 runs per game, while also posting a .354 on-base percentage with 111 walks in 21 games.

Manager Ron Gardenhire said that patience is a major part of his club's strategy at the plate, and is happy to see the fruit of its labors early this season. The Twins also lead the Majors with 4.15 pitches seen per plate appearance.

"I think everybody is just trying to get on base and there's always conversation about it," Gardenhire said. "A lot of our hitters have a few more at-bats in this league and understand it a bit more. It's experience and not panicking in certain situations. They're doing a lot better at that. We're striking out a little too much, but that goes along with it by going deep in counts. But it's an effort, and it's experience."

Second baseman Brian Dozier is one of those developing players using walks to his advantage, as he's hitting just .224, but he has posted a .356 on-base percentage buoyed by 17 walks in 104 plate appearances. Dozier has walked in 16.3 percent of his plate appearances, which is almost more than double his 8.2 percent last year.

Dozier said it's part of a team effort to try to see more pitches and not swing at pitches they can't handle.

"We've been drawing a lot of walks, and not just ones of four straight pitches," Dozier said. "So, we're just putting together good at-bats."

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.