Five Things Twins Fan Can Be Thankful For
Image courtesy of Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports1. Surprise 2017 Season
Twins Territory has suffered through a lot of losing for the greater part of the last decade. Besides a surprising 2015 season, there were 92 losses or more from 2011-2016 including a franchise worst 103 losses in 2017. Minnesota qualified for the second AL Wild Card before losing to the New York Yankees. Paul Molitor would be honored as the American League’s Manager of the Year. He was rewarded with a three-year contract extension following the season. The Twins surprised most of the baseball world and it made for a very enjoyable summer of watching baseball.
2. Byron Buxton’s Golden Glove
It didn’t take long for Byron Buxton to make his presence felt in 2017. On Opening Day, he made baseball’s first 5-star catch of the season. It was just the beginning of what turned out to be one of the best defensive seasons in Twins history. “Us outfielders have this thing where nothing falls but raindrops,” Buxton said after the game and that mantra prove to be true. His bat also turned into a weapon after a slow start at the plate. Almost every defensive honor was heaped on Buxton following the season. He’s a player whose play is worth the price of admission.
3. Other Young Core Players
Buxton wasn’t the only player to shine in 2017. Miguel Sano was selected to his first All-Star Game and finished runner-up to Aaron Judge in the Home Run Derby. Sano’s season was cut short by a nagging leg injury but he carried a large portion of the offensive load in the first half. Max Kepler and Eddie Rosario helped form a solid outfield core with Buxton. Jose Berrios also showed signs of being a dominant starter. Everything didn’t go perfectly with this group but there is hope that they can all take another step forward in 2018.
4. The Dynamic Duo: Falvey and Levine
Did the dynamic duo push all of the right buttons in 2017? Probably not, but it is going to take time to see what they mean to this organization. Players and fans were upset when the team turned from buyers into sellers at the trade deadline. However, this might have lit a fire under the squad to make a playoff push. Their first draft class of Royce Lewis, Brent Rooker, and Blayne Enlow all look like they could make a major impact at the big league level in the future. With a new analytic-minded focus and a young core, it is going to be exciting to see how they can mold the current roster.
5. Mauer’s Expiring Contract
At the end of the 2018 campaign, Joe Mauer’s long-term contract will be off the books. This might sound like a jab at Mauer but it’s more about the future of this franchise. When Mauer signed the deal, he looked like a once in a generation player behind the plate with the potential to make the Hall of Fame. With his money off the books, the Twins will have more flexibility to make some long-term deals. In fact, the organization has already be rumored to be in the mix for top free agents Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta. Mauer will go down as one of the best players in franchise history but his contract might have been limiting to the front office. More money will allow the new regime to target the players they want and help to build Minnesota into a regular contender.
What are you thankful for this year? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
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