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Buxton to 10-Game DL for Migraines

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Per Fox Sports:    "Minnesota Twins center fielder Byron Buxton was placed on the 10-day disabled list due to migranes, the tea...
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Article: Cooperstown Case: Helping Joe Mauer’s Hall Chances

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 12:15 PM
If Joe Mauer retired today, there is a good chance he wouldn’t get the call from Cooperstown. He wasn’t able to play long enough at catch...
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Article: Berrios Has Been Nearly Flawless Through 4 Starts

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Despite his pristine numbers at every level of the minors, Jose Berrios had his share of detractors in the prospect analyst community.The...
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Sign Melky Cabrera

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With the injury to Max Kepler, hopefully it's not season ending. Wouldn't Melky Cabrera be a good addition to the team? Solid veteran...
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T-Wolves 2018 Postseason Thread

Minnesota Timberwolves Talk Today, 11:19 AM
It has been my great privilege to initiate a thread with this title. Fleeting as it may be.
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The Best Twins Team That Ever Was(n't)

There's already been talk at the site this morning about some of the greatest Minnesota Twins teams there ever were. Well, I present you with the best Twins team that there ever wasn't. This is a full 25-man roster filled with the greatest players in team history. From the Met to the Dome to Target Field, every era is represented.
Image courtesy of Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports
Interestingly enough, after I compiled my list Seth Stohs wrote about the "Top 15 Minnesota Twins Players". You'll see a lot of overlap here, but I put it in the form of a 25-man roster.

Here is how I constructed the 25-man team.
  • The roster had to be realistic. This specifically pertains to the bench and bullpen.
  • The player had to spend over half their career with the Twins,
  • The player had to play for the Twins for at least 5 years,
  • The player had to play for the Twins between 1961 - current.
  • The player had to play at that particular position for a majority of his career. The exception to this rule is the DH.
Hitters

Catcher - Joe Mauer
Not a lot to say here. By far, Joe Mauer is the best offensive and defensive catcher in franchise history. He will go down as one of the best catcher to ever play the game, and arguably the best hitting catcher to ever play. Don't let the contract and the latter part of his career overshadow his impact on the field when he was at his best.

First Base - Kent Hrbek
When choosing between Hrbek and Killebrew I had to consider the defensive numbers. Hrbek was not a great defender himself but he was much better than Killebrew, so he gets slotted here. Behind Killebrew, he and Justin Morneau were the two players to consider here and Hrbek was an easy choice over Morneau. I mean who can pull a guy off first better than Herbie?

Second Base - Rod Carew
I wasn't around to watch Carew play but his number is retired for a reason. With the Twins he played mostly 2B, but later in his career he became a full time 1B for the Angels. Other than Knoblauch and Dozier, there really aren't any other options here. As much as he is known for his offense, he was an okay defender as well.

Third Base - Corey Koskie
This was a toss-up between Koskie and Gary Gaetti. From my perspective, Koskie was the better overall player and thus garnered the starting job. The former Canadian hockey goalie was a superb defender and also a good guy to have in the middle of a line up. It's too bad concussions limited his career as he could have been a solid player for a long time.

Shortstop - Roy Smalley
In the entire history of the Twins franchise, there are only three guys to even consider for this spot. Smalley, Zoilo Versalles and Greg Gagne. Smalley wins the job and it's not even close. The other two were better defenders but were non-factors at the plate. I'm the kind of guy who prefers a player who can contribute to both aspects of the game rather than one aspect really well.

Left Field - Shane Mack
Behind even shortstop, this is probably the weakest position in franchise history. Bob Allison would have been the shoo-in here but he spent a majority of his career in right field. Mack was the de facto left fielder. Hey, at least he brings some championship pedigree to the team.

Center Field - Kirby Puckett
Was there ever a doubt? Torii was great, but Kirby was greater. I was a little too young to watch much of his career before his unfortunate early retirement, but he may be the most popular and adored Twin of all time. I've never heard it live, but I can still hear Bob Casey announcing Kirby's name in the Dome.

Right Field - Tony Oliva
This one was easy. Obviously, Oliva was one of the best Twins of all time, as his number is retired. Bob Allison was the only other true contender at this spot. Oliva is one of only a few Twins to finish his career with a batting average above .300, was the Rookie of the Year in 1964 and finished second in MVP voting twice ('65 & '70).

DH - Harmon Killebrew
This is the perfect spot for him. He wasn't a good defender at all and he is one of the best hitters of all time. He is the best Twins hitter, probably even player, in franchise history.

Pitching Staff
I used innings pitched to determine if the player spent more than half his career as a Twin.

Ace - Johan Santana
This was a tough call. Arguably, he was the most dominant pitcher in Twins history but that was only for a stretch of five or so years. The two behind him weren't so much dominant, but were able to maintain consistently solid production over a longer period of time. Nonetheless, Johan is the ace. Over the five or so years he was the best pitcher in baseball winning two Cy Young Awards ('04 and '06) while garnering some MVP votes in those seasons as well. If I needed to win one game, I'd choose Johan in his prime.

Starting Pitcher No. 2 - Bert Blyleven
Excluding Steve Carlton, who didn't qualify for my list anyway, Bert is the only Twins pitcher to be elected to Cooperstown who also qualified for this list. When choosing between him and Jim Kaat that HoF honor was what gave Blyleven the edge. Bert spent just over half (51.6% IP) as a Minnesota Twin. In all, he pitched for 22 big league seasons. Never truly dominant but almost always a reliable pitcher.

Starting Pitcher No. 3 - Jim Kaat
If Bert is in the Hall of Fame, then Kaat needs to be. Their statistics are practically the same, although Kaat won only one World Series back in '82 with the Cardinals and he wasn't much of a contributor for them. That said, he holds the major league record for winning 16 consecutive Gold Gloves. Most pitchers' careers don't last 16 years.

Starting Pitcher No. 4 - Camilo Pascual
Camilo is another guy who wasn't too dominant, but was able to consistently produce over a long career. He was the franchise's first "ace" and deserves to be in the rotation. To be fair, the candidates drop off pretty quick after the top 3 or 4.

Starting Pitcher No. 5 - Frank Viola
Viola was key to the 1987 World Series championship (he was the MVP) and followed that up by winning the Cy Young in 1988. If it wasn't for being traded, he probably would have been slotted as the No. 4, but it hurt his Twins resume a little bit that he wasn't here longer. That said, we did end up getting a key piece back who will show up later in this list.

Long Relief - Jim Perry
Admittedly, I just took the Twins starting pitcher who just missed the cut and put him here. Honestly, I think Pascual, Viola and Perry could all be put in whatever order you wanted. He fits the description of most Twins pitchers, which is not dominant but consistently solid. The two best years of his career were in '69 and '70 where he finished third and first in Cy Young voting, respectively.

Middle Relief No. 1 - Tom Hall
Hall spent the Twins portion of his career bouncing back and forth between the bullpen and the rotation. He had a very nondescript career, never garnering an award vote of any kind and never making an All-Star Game. That said, as a reliever Hall could give you multiple innings and averaged over a strikeout per inning.

Middle Relief No. 2 - LaTroy Hawkins
If you can last as long as LaTroy did in the era that he did it, then you are one of the best to do it. He pitched for 21 seasons in the big leagues and was solid all the way through his retirement season in 2015 with the Blue Jays. Hawkins was converted to a relief pitcher after five largely unsuccessful seasons as a starter. As with Hall, he never garnered an award vote of any kind and never made an ASG.

Set up No. 1 - Glen Perkins
The Twins second-best closer of all time would be my first choice as the set up guy. Perkins was unsuccessful as a starter, but found his niche as a fire-throwing closer. It's unfortunate that injuries derailed the last few years of his career and forced him into an early retirement. I have to imagine the highlight of his career (for himself and Twins fans) was seeing him close out the 2014 All-Star Game in his home stadium.

Set up No. 2 - Rick Aguilera
Aguilera came to the Twins in the trade that sent Viola to the Mets in '89. Although he made 11 starts that year, he made 460 relief appearances as a member of the Twins. He did well with the Twins as he made the ASG three times, garnered MVP votes in 1991, and was a key contributor to the '91 World Series title.

Set up No. 3 - Juan Rincon
Rincon had a pretty good stretch from 2004 - 2006. When in a crunch, the Twins could relied upon Rincon to get them out of a jam. Obviously, a key skill to have as a set up guy.

Closer - Joe Nathan
Not much to say here. He is the best Twins closer of all time, finished his career with the most saves in Twins history and was one of the best in the game when he was in his prime. In '04 and '06 he was actually in the Cy Young and MVP talks a little bit. In all of baseball, there aren't many closers that were as good as he was.

Honorable Mentions (Bench)

OF/1B - Bob Allison
He primarily played right field, which disqualified him from the left field spot. I feel like he is one of the overlooked Twins greats. No, his number isn't retired, but he spent all of his 13 years in a Senators/Twins uniform and hit 256 home runs in that time. If it wasn't for injuries I think his career could have been longer and he could have passed the 300 HR plateau.

C - Early Battey
Any realistic roster needs a back-up catcher. Battey is the guy. While with the Senators/Twins franchise he won three Gold Gloves, made four ASGs and finished top 10 in MVP voting three times.

2B/SS - Chuck Knoblauch
A key cog to the 1991 World Series and a good player for the Twins over 7 years. He'll be a good guy to have off the bench when we need speed on the base paths.

Utility - Gary Gaetti
He was Nick Punto before Nick Punto was Nick Punto. The only two positions he didn't play throughout his career were CF and C. He wasn't necessarily a great player, but was solid for the Twins. He was another important piece in the '87 World Series team.

In my eyes, my biggest "snub" was Torii Hunter. When constructing a realistic 25-man roster I needed to have a back-up catcher which is where Battey made the list over Hunter. Another area I struggled with was the bullpen construction. After Perry, Nathan, Aguilera, and Perkins the pickins' got slim and I ended up having to consider individual seasons over career stats. Carl Willis was a name that almost made the cut.

So what do you think? Who did I miss? Let the debate begin!

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33 Comments

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Nine of twelve
Feb 04 2018 10:55 AM
I have no disagreement with any of the players chosen.
One thing I would have probably considered would be going with a 6-man bullpen. I realize 7 has become the minimum these days but with that rotation 6 should be plenty. I don't know who I'd leave off but that would allow another position player to be added.
    • Dantes929, Oldgoat_MN and Matthew Lenz like this

My opinions that differ strongly. Hrbek was a fantastic fielder that should have won Gold Gloves.No Twin comes close for more than a season (Mauer last year)However, Morneau with an MVP, an MVP runner up, and a 20 place finish trumps Hrbek's 2nd place and 16th place finishes.OK, the strong opinion was on the fielding not so much the choice cuz Herby was really good. 

It certainly is close at shortstop.I am ok with Smalley but shortstop is a pretty important defensive position and Gagne was so much better. Never saw Versalles but a league MVP and a couple GGs is worth a lot.Again the strong feeling is against saying it wasn't close. 

Shane Mack is not a weak sister. His OPS while a Twin was .854.That is better thanMauer, better than Hrbek, better than Morneau, better than Carew, better than Koskie, better than Gaetti, better than Hunter, better than Smalley, better than Oliva and better than Puckett.  

Viola probably deserved a little more respect.Cy Young and two other top 6 finishes plus if a pitcher ever carried a team to a WS it was him and that wasn't even his Cy Young year.

Gaetti as a utility infielder is pretty weak.Smalley wasn't great defensively and Carew really wasn't that good defensively and I don't think you really want a pinch hitter for any of those guys so late inning defense I would go with Punto. You've already got Knoblach that can come in and give guys a break for a game without losing the bat.Punto also better for late inning pinch running.  Gaetti was good but just wouldn't give much added value on a team like this.

Essentially, I guess I have less issue with your picks than I do with your comments on some of the players.

    • Matthew Lenz likes this

 

I would've cut you some slack if you had put Torii in left. Even if you're being strict, I'd say Jaque Jones is a better choice in left than Shane Mack.

 

Not sure how you picked Koskie over Gaetti at third. This baffles me a bit. I don't think it's close. I think Gaetti has him at the plate, in the field, and in tenure. I think Gaetti has him in best single season and in overall career stats as well. You're assessment of Gaetti as 'not a great player' is off. His career numbers are borderline HOF. Also, he was pretty exclusively a third baseman.

 

I was hoping to build a case for Cristian Guzman at short over Smalley. It would be a stretch. 

 

I love Chuck Knoblauch, I like him more than Brian Dozier, but Brian Dozier is better. Given how terrible it appears Carew was in the field (33 errors at 2nd in 1974!) I think I'd put Dozier at second and have Carew as the utility guy. Having Dozier in the lineup gives this present era a little more representation. I think I would cut Koskie and keep Knoblauch.

 

I'd prefer to see another starter who just missed the cut in the 'middle relief' role over Tom Hall, who admittedly (perhaps embarrassingly) I've never heard of.

 

I'd take Eddie Guardado over Juan Rincon.

 

 

I'd probably put Killebrew at 3rd, where he played for quite a few seasons, Oliva at DH because injuries forced him out of the outfield early, and Allison in RF. Admittedly, being an old codger, I have fond (and perhaps inflated) memories of the players I revered in my youth.

 

No place for Morneau on the bench?

    • Oldgoat_MN and WLFINN like this

 

I would've cut you some slack if you had put Torii in left. Even if you're being strict, I'd say Jaque Jones is a better choice in left than Shane Mack.

 

Not sure how you picked Koskie over Gaetti at third. This baffles me a bit. I don't think it's close. I think Gaetti has him at the plate, in the field, and in tenure. I think Gaetti has him in best single season and in overall career stats as well. You're assessment of Gaetti as 'not a great player' is off. His career numbers are borderline HOF. Also, he was pretty exclusively a third baseman.

 

I was hoping to build a case for Cristian Guzman at short over Smalley. It would be a stretch. 

 

I love Chuck Knoblauch, I like him more than Brian Dozier, but Brian Dozier is better. Given how terrible it appears Carew was in the field (33 errors at 2nd in 1974!) I think I'd put Dozier at second and have Carew as the utility guy. Having Dozier in the lineup gives this present era a little more representation. I think I would cut Koskie and keep Knoblauch.

 

I'd prefer to see another starter who just missed the cut in the 'middle relief' role over Tom Hall, who admittedly (perhaps embarrassingly) I've never heard of.

 

I'd take Eddie Guardado over Juan Rincon.

Mack's OPS while a Twin was .854.That is better than Mauer, better than Hrbek, better than Morneau, better than Carew, better than Koskie, better than Gaetti, better than Hunter, better than Smalley, better than Oliva and better than Puckett.Better than Jones also. His WAR per game was way better than either Hunter or Jones. Sadly his best season was a monster that was cut short by the players strike. 

 

http://www.startribu...pick/182341191/

 

Looks like he continues to be underrated.

    • Oldgoat_MN and Sconnie like this
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tarheeltwinsfan
Feb 04 2018 12:24 PM

I'd put Chris Giminez at RP. He pitched for 3 teams, Texas, Cleveland and the Twins, during his illustrious pitching career. Talk about control...he never, I repeat, never walked a batter over a 3 year career. His strikeout to walk ratio is difficult to figure because of his zero walks, so I guess we could say his ratio was 1 to infinity. Also he had zero wild pitches and zero hit batters. (Lucky for those batters that none of those 65 mph fastballs hit them.) His most amazing stat was that he went straight to pitch in the major leagues without ever having had to pitch in the minor leagues. Not many major league ready pitchers can claim that. I recently read on the Cubs website that Chris is throwing long toss and being stretched out in anticipation of starting opening day at Wrigley.

    • lecroy24fan, Dantes929, Sconnie and 2 others like this

No one better try to deny the brilliance that was Shane Mack. That guy was a beast for the Twins.

    • #1ShaneMackFan, big dog and adorduan like this

Shane Mack was awesome for 4+ years, but that has to be put into the discussion along with longevity. Hunter didn't have the offense, but he's got the defense and some career numbers that are nice. Allison has the longevity, though he loses some points because some of his better years were in the last few in Washington, and he had some of his older years later in his time with the Twins. 

 

I'd be OK with KIllebrew at 3B, Morneau at 1B and Carew at utility. Or Oliva at DH. 

 

Carew had the BA, the AS games, the longevity. 

Knoblauch was incredible, Good BA, terrific OBP. Great Defense. A ring.

Dozier has the power, for sure... If he sticks around beyond 2018, he'll keep moving up the list. 

    • tarheeltwinsfan, gagu and Matthew Lenz like this
Nice job, thank you. I would have likely went with Gagne over Smalley simply because SS is the ultimate defensive position in baseball. An offensive styled SS has to be quite a hitter to make up for the outs that escape him if his defense is lacking. Regardless, it a nice article and well thought out. And should garner lots of arguments, er, discussion. I told my son years ago, if you took ten solid experienced HS BB coaches and sit them in the bleachers, and worked out 25 good players in front of them, you would get ten different lineups. :)
    • Dantes929, Oldgoat_MN and Matthew Lenz like this
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FlauerPauer
Feb 04 2018 07:12 PM

I think you have to have a spot for Morneau.Guardado over RIncon.Gaetti over Koskie; although I really like him.  

 

Cool idea and a fun read.

    • Oldgoat_MN and gagu like this
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theBOMisthebomb
Feb 04 2018 09:13 PM
Nice to see the brilliant Frankie Viola make the starting rotation. Thank you for that.
    • Matthew Lenz likes this
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pierre75275
Feb 05 2018 04:59 AM
No Randy Bush? Pry the best PH/utility man the Twins had.
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Tommygun921
Feb 05 2018 07:36 AM
I was fortunate enough to hear the "Kirbyyyyyyyyyy Puckett!!!" call in the Metrodome. I remember Rincon having some good seasons but I'd have to take Everyday Eddie over him.
    • Oldgoat_MN and jimmer like this
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Matthew Lenz
Feb 05 2018 07:58 AM

 

I would've cut you some slack if you had put Torii in left. Even if you're being strict, I'd say Jaque Jones is a better choice in left than Shane Mack.

I did keep going back and forth in the outfield about bending the rules a bit, but also didn't want to contradict myself.That said, I think you are underrating Mack or overrating Jones.

 

Essentially, I guess I have less issue with your picks than I do with your comments on some of the players.

The most difficult part of this is that stats don't tell the whole story, but that's all I had to go on.I was born in '88 so don't really know the true impact of most of these players other than analyzing their stats.I will agree that I think I didn't give Gaetti enough credit, but I'd still rather have Koskie.

 

 

I'd probably put Killebrew at 3rd, where he played for quite a few seasons, Oliva at DH because injuries forced him out of the outfield early, and Allison in RF. Admittedly, being an old codger, I have fond (and perhaps inflated) memories of the players I revered in my youth.

It would be interesting to construct this lineup with less strict rules...that I made for myself :) There were a few players that had a good amount of playing time at different positions, but I was trying to stick with where they played throughout their career.

 

Thanks for the discussion all!

 

 

 

 

    • Oldgoat_MN likes this
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Brock Beauchamp
Feb 05 2018 08:53 AM

 

Mack's OPS while a Twin was .854.That is better than Mauer, better than Hrbek, better than Morneau, better than Carew, better than Koskie, better than Gaetti, better than Hunter, better than Smalley, better than Oliva and better than Puckett.Better than Jones also. His WAR per game was way better than either Hunter or Jones. Sadly his best season was a monster that was cut short by the players strike. 

 

http://www.startribu...pick/182341191/

 

Looks like he continues to be underrated.

Longevity should count as well. Mack was VERY good but only for 2-3 full seasons. He finished with around 2500 PAs in a Minnesota uniform.

 

Even guys like Koskie and Jones, who weren't around long, still had 750-1000 more PAs than Mack while wearing a Minnesota uniform.

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Tom Froemming
Feb 05 2018 09:42 AM

One of the articles I considered writing for Sunday, which I may circle back to at some point, was a piece that pointed out the most underappreciated players of the 2001-10 run. Juan Rincon was definitely going to be on that list. The only other Twins reliever to post multiple 2.0+ fWAR seasons in team history is Joe Nathan, who did it four times.

 

Longevity should count as well. Mack was VERY good but only for 2-3 full seasons. He finished with around 2500 PAs in a Minnesota uniform.

 

Even guys like Koskie and Jones, who weren't around long, still had 750-1000 more PAs than Mack while wearing a Minnesota uniform.

Well, 4.5 seasons, 633 games and I don't hold the player's strike against him. Jones played 300 more games but had 8 fewer WAR so basically Mack for 5 years and a replacement with a negative 4 WAR for each of the next two seasons equals Jones. Ok, that might be going too far and I liked Jones but he is closer to Span that to Mack. I liked Span too but Mack was just better than either.Longevity should count but that is a really big gap in production.If you put more weight on longevity that I do then Allison is probably the better choice anyway.

I like doing it this way better than just a straight list of top 15/25, although it gets weird if a team is especially strong at one position over the years...but that's part of the fun! I'm also very comfortable with cheating a little by sticking the Killer at DH, even though he never played it as a Twin.

 

I'd have to take Gaetti over Koskie (longevity does matter), and I agree: LF has not been a position of strength for the Twins. That said, I'd take Bob Allison for the spot over Mack; Shane just didn't spend enough time in MN or in LF, really. And Bob Allison was really, really good. Zoilo vs Smalley at SS is a hard one, but Zoilo probably didn't have enough good seasons (I dunno if I can give extra credit to Smalley for his last three seasons, since a) he barely played short and B) didn't hit well enough to justify being a full time DH, though).

 

Also, calling Gaetti "Punto before Nick Punto" is a pretty big insult to Gary Gaetti.

 

Torii definitely makes my bench as a 4th OF and with this pitching staff I don't think you need more than a 5 man bullpen, so live a little and roll out a bench with: Knoblauch & Zorro to hold down the INF, Battey as the back C, Torii laughingly complaining about not getting to play enough as the 4th OF, and let Koskie and Morneau fight it out for the last slot. (think Justin lets Corey have it if you tell him he's got to back up Gaetti at 3B?)

 

Regarding the rotation: I'd give Bert the top slot (he didn't get Johan's hardware, but he was just as dominant in his first stint with the Twins as Johan was in his years and had a nice coda for the championship run in '87 where he was still a very fine pitcher) and slide Frankie V into the 3rd slot over Kaat. Kitty pitched forever, but he was never a dominant pitcher with the Twins and Sweet Music absolutely was. I'd consider Perry over Pascual, but either is a fine choice for the last slot. I suppose it depends on if you give a little extra credit to Pascual for the Senators years.

 

 

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Brock Beauchamp
Feb 05 2018 11:26 AM

 

Well, 4.5 seasons, 633 games and I don't hold the player's strike against him. Jones played 300 more games but had 8 fewer WAR so basically Mack for 5 years and a replacement with a negative 4 WAR for each of the next two seasons equals Jones. Ok, that might be going too far and I liked Jones but he is closer to Span that to Mack. I liked Span too but Mack was just better than either.Longevity should count but that is a really big gap in production.If you put more weight on longevity that I do then Allison is probably the better choice anyway.

I don't think Jones is even in consideration, or at least he shouldn't be.

 

If we're playing strictly by OF position, Mack is probably the best choice. If we open up to other corner OF spots, then we certainly need to talk about Allison. His three year peak was on par with Mack but he played *a lot* longer.

    • gagu likes this
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Brock Beauchamp
Feb 05 2018 11:27 AM

 

One of the articles I considered writing for Sunday, which I may circle back to at some point, was a piece that pointed out the most underappreciated players of the 2001-10 run. Juan Rincon was definitely going to be on that list. The only other Twins reliever to post multiple 2.0+ fWAR seasons in team history is Joe Nathan, who did it four times.

Tony Fiore.

 

Ten wins, baby!

    • Tom Froemming likes this
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Tom Froemming
Feb 05 2018 11:41 AM

 

Tony Fiore.

 

Ten wins, baby!

LONG LIVE THE PALMBALL

    • snepp likes this

 

I don't think Jones is even in consideration, or at least he shouldn't be.

 

If we're playing strictly by OF position, Mack is probably the best choice. If we open up to other corner OF spots, then we certainly need to talk about Allison. His three year peak was on par with Mack but he played *a lot* longer.Some

Someone else put Jones in the conversation. I don't consider 5 seasons to be a really small sample size and mostly was just responding to this quote in the original article. 

" Behind even shortstop, this is probably the weakest position in franchise history. Bob Allison would have been the shoo-in here but he spent a majority of his career in right field. Mack was the de facto left fielder. Hey, at least he brings some championship pedigree to the team."

Maybe Matthew meant it a little different than I took it. Maybe he was more dismissive of the left field position in general but to me Mack is a very strong choice rather than just the best of a weak crop.  

    • Oldgoat_MN likes this

 

Mack's OPS while a Twin was .854.That is better than Mauer, better than Hrbek, better than Morneau, better than Carew, better than Koskie, better than Gaetti, better than Hunter, better than Smalley, better than Oliva and better than Puckett.Better than Jones also. His WAR per game was way better than either Hunter or Jones. Sadly his best season was a monster that was cut short by the players strike. 

 

http://www.startribu...pick/182341191/

 

Looks like he continues to be underrated.

 

Nobody would say that Mack was better than any of those players, besides maybe Smalley and Jones, even though he had a higher OPS. If OPS doesn't demonstrate that Mack is better than Mauer, Puckett, Oliva, or Carew, why would it demonstrate that he was better than Hunter or Jones? Mack never hit 20 home runs in a season. He had one season where he scored 100 runs, and wasn't really close in any other season. He never even approached 100 RBI. Jones and Hunter both have the edge in all three of these counting categories. Mack has the edge in the % categories. He deserves credit for that, and if he did it for a decade, he'd probably be the man, but he only had a handful of seasons with the Twins, only two truly full seasons. And what can you really say about his shortened monster of a season in 94 other than that it was a monster of a half season? Maybe he would've maintained that production over the course of the full season, or maybe he would've leveled off a bit, like so many players who have monster first halves. 

 

Tenure or no, Hunter was better, and I don't think it's close. Hunter has at least five seasons with the Twins that are each better than Mack's best season.

 

I like Mack, but I wanted to see if there was anyone in left with more tenure with the Twins that compared, and I think there is a good case for Jones. I think if you take Jones top three or four seasons with the Twins and compare them to Mack's top three or four, Jones is better. If you take Jones' best five and comp them to Mack's five, Jones nearly doubles him in HRs, and surpasses him in runs, RBI, and doubles, where Mack has the edge in walks, triples, and SBs. 

 

With Griffith apparently being the deciding vote on whether or not the AL would adopt the DH rule, I think you have to consider how much having Killebrew factored in the fact that the DH rule exists. 

 

Note that Griffith later said he made the wrong decision, perhaps because Killebrew was never good after that, starting a long tradition of the Twins not being able to consistently fill the DH slot properly......

 

(Actually, Griffith said he and the rest of the AL owners made a logical error in adopting the DH rule by comparing the DH slot to the pitcher slot. Instead they should have compared it to "Hitter #9" or the top bench bat).

I don't think you can pigeonhole Allison as right fielder. From ´64 thru '70 he played more games in left than in right, and he was primarily a center fielder in his ´59 ROY season. For his career, he appeared in 8 more games in left field than in right. If you subtract his stats in Washington, Allison played 144 more games in left.

 

Hrbek was at worst a pretty good defender. Led the league in fielding in ´90, twice 2nd, along with 3rd and 4th finishes. Hrbek ranks 51st all-time in fielding % at first base. Here is a stunning find; Mauer ranks 4th all-time, Mienkiewicz tied for 6th, and Morneau 9th. Mauer ranks #1 among all among all active players at both 1B and catcher. His Fld% at catcher is 6th all-time, tied with Jason Castro. Mike Redmond ranked 3rd, Pierzynski is ranked 8th, Lenny Webster, 11th, Suzuki 22nd, Ramos 24th. Conclusion: Hell if I know, other than the Twins dominate the statistic at C and at 1B. 

 

Gaetti played a career total of 36 innings at SS, 3 innings at 2B, 2 1/3 innings pitched, and 106 innings in the outfield. He didn't play a whole lot at 1b or DH. Gaetti played over 20,000 innings during his 20-year career, with 4 Gold Gloves. I´d give the nod to Gaetti at third over Koskie.

 

End of nitpicking. An enjoyable, thought-provoking article. 

    • Oldgoat_MN likes this

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