2017 Twins Daily Minnesota Twins Award Finalists Announced
Image courtesy of David Richard, USA TodayToday, we would like to announce our finalists for the Twins Daily awards. We would appreciate it if you would give each of the awards some thought and vote for who you think should win the award. Of course, the results of the Twins Daily Twitter awards vote may or may not match up with the results of the Twins Daily vote.
Be sure to follow Twins Daily on Twitterthroughout the season as well as to vote in our polls.
The finalists are the players who finished in the top three or four in the voting. As we did with the minor league awards, we vote our choices for the Top 3-5 Twins players (depending on the award) and a very basic point system is used to tabulate the results.
For instance, for the Rookie of the Year, voters were asked to submit their rankings for the top 3 rookies in 2017 for the Twins. For each ballot, the player with a first place vote got three points. Two points for the second place choice, and one point for the third place choice.
Nine people voted for the award. Twins Daily founders Seth Stohs, Nick Nelson, John Bonnes and Parker Hageman all voted. Twins Daily writers Tom Froemming, Cody Christie, Jeremy Nygaard, Steve Lien and Ted Schwerzler also cast their votes.
With that as the background, here are the finalists for the 2017 Twins Daily Awards:
How do we go about judging improvement? Is it improvement from 2016 to 2017? Is it improvement from first half to second half? Is it some combination of the two?
Like an MVP vote, we choose to make it a thinker for our voters. The nine voters were asked to vote for their top three selections. A total of eight players received votes. That speaks to a roster of two types of players. There are some veterans who either have had some struggles in recent years and succeeded again in 2017. There were also young players who took their fair share of knocks in 2016, or even early in 2017, and came on to put up surprising numbers.
The finalists are (in alphabetical order):
JOSE BERRIOS: While fans wanted him up late in 2015, Berrios really struggled in his MLB debut in 2016. He began 2017 back in Rochester, but he soon came up and established himself as a regular and sometimes dominant starting pitcher for the Twins.
BYRON BUXTON: Buxton had been up and down from the minors to the big leagues in 2015 and 2016. His 2017 started out rough as well, but he continued to work with James Rowson and ended the season with some solid numbers, especially considering where he started. His defense deserves a Gold Glove, but his bat became a threat at times.
JOE MAUER: Since the day his 2013 season came to an abrupt end in 2013, Joe Mauer has struggled to return to form. After a disappointing April, Joe Mauer went on to put up Mauer-esque numbers again, topping the .300 mark again and leading the Twins in doubles. He also improved his defense and should be considered for a Gold Glove.
EDDIE ROSARIO: Rosario can be fun or frustrating to watch at times, and that was again the case. However, he improved his strike zone judgment in 2017, not to Mauer-like numbers but better, and became a force in the middle of the Twins lineup. Easily put up his best offensive season and carried the Twins lineup at various times throughout the season.
Vote for your choice in our Twitter Poll, and also comment how you would rank these players.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
The Twins had a whole bunch of players make their major league debut in 2017. Several of them became key contributors to the Twins. Like Most Improved, this is a category that can include pitchers and hitters, which can make it difficult. But which Twins rookie has had the biggest impact on the Twins this season?
Voters were asked to rank their top three, and only four players received votes.
Here are the four finalists (in alphabetical order):
ALAN BUSENITZ: The hard-throwing right-hander came to the Twins at the trade deadline a year ago from the Angels. He pitched well in Rochester to start the season and earned a promotion to the Twins in June. He moved up and down a couple of times, but in the final two months of the season, he became a reliable bullpen option for Paul Molitor.
ZACK GRANITE: He hit over .450 in Rochester in June, and he came up to the Twins before the All Star break. When Byron Buxton went on the disabled list, Granite played a solid center field and was an instigator in the Twins lineup for a month. He returned to the Red Wings but he added his first MLB homer in September.
TREVOR HILDENBERGER: The right-handed reliever has been the Twins Daily Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year the last two seasons as he quickly rose through the Twins system. He made his MLB debut in late June. After spending a month pitching periodically in lower-leverage situations, he became the go-to reliever for the Twins in high-leverage, late-innings situations for the season's final two months.
ADALBERTO MEJIA: Many were surprised when Mejia made the Opening Day starting rotation, but the left-hander remained in the starting rotation throughout the year, until a scare with his arm later in the season. Fortunately, he was able to use an extended DL stint and some rehab starts in the minor leagues and returned to the rotation for a couple of starts at season's end.
Again, please vote for your choice for Twins Rookie of the Year in our Twitter poll below, and in the comments, rank the four finalists and discuss.
PITCHER OF THE YEAR
Our voters were asked to vote for their top four Twins pitchers in 2017. Nine players received votes. There were starters, closers and middle innings guys who got votes. Here are the four finalists.
JOSE BERRIOS: Given another shot in the Twins rotation before May, Berrios took off. He was dominant for most of the first half. He slowed some in the second half, but he remains a potentially dominant starting pitcher for years to come. Unlike most Twins starters, Berrios has (and shows) the ability to miss bats.
TREVOR HILDENBERGER: As mentioned above, Hildenberger came up in late May. It wasn't long before he started getting high-leverage, late-inning outings for Paul Molitor, often coming in three or four games in a row.
BRANDON KINTZLER: While fans often questioned his ability to be a closer, his career took off the moment he was given that role halfway through the 2016 season. He carried his success through the Twins first half and earned a spot and pitched in the 2017 All-Star Game. He was traded at July trade deadline to the Nationals.
ERVIN SANTANA: Early in the season, not only was he the Twins top starter, but he was one of the best starting pitchers in the league. For a while, there were some asking if he should start the All-Star Game. While he had a tough June, Santana earned his All-Star spot. He's led the league in complete games.
So, of the four finalists, who gets your vote for Twins Pitcher of the Year, and again, discuss how you would vote for the Top 4 Twins pitchers in 2017, whether they were a finalist of not.
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
The term "valuable" always sparks debate. That is especially true when talking about the league awards, but it also comes to play with the Twins MVP vote. Is it about stats, or specifically a stat like WAR, or do other things factor in like leadership or carrying a team for an extended period.
Voters were asked to rank their top five for MVP. You might expect more variability, but just seven players received votes. Here are the top 4 finalists for Twins MVP (in alphabetical order). Be sure to vote on our Twitter poll, and then discuss in the comments what your vote would look like and why.
BYRON BUXTON: After a slow start, Byron Buxton started putting up some numbers offensively. Combined with his defensive abilities and stats, he put up surprisingly good Wins Above Replacement numbers. Add in his base running and base stealing, as well as some power, and you can see how Buck can accumulate value.
BRIAN DOZIER: He had a slow-ish first two months of the season (though nowhere near as slow as his 2016 start), but he took off again offensively after the All-Star break. While he didn't hit 42 homers, he did add 34 home runs to his resume. He also scored over 100 runs for the fourth straight season. He played most days. He was clearly the leader of the clubhouse.
JOE MAUER: His returned, or at least got closer, to his old self with the bat. His patience at the plate should be lauded for his on-base skills and allowing the rest of the lineup to see a pitcher's pitch mix. He led the team in doubles. He was still a good base runner. And he greatly improved his defense at first base. More and more, we are hearing about his leadership in the clubhouse, particularly with the younger players.
ERVIN SANTANA: The right-hander got the Twins off to a good start early in the season by pitching as well as he has at any time in his career. He provided innings throughout the season. His limited his short starts. He also was a leader to the young pitchers on the starting staff.
So who would your vote one-through-five for Twins MVP? First, vote in our Twitter poll, and then discuss your vote in the comments section.
So there you have it. Congratulations to the finalists in each of these four categories on terrific seasons. Congratulations to all that received votes. The nice thing about this 2017 season is that there are a lot of players deserving of recognition, even more than are on these lists.
Please vote in our Twitter polls and discuss in the comments. Again, our awards will be handed out when the Twins postseason run ends, so be sure to stop back and see how our votes lined up with yours.