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2020 MLB (non-Twins) Postseason Discussion Thread

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2020 Twins Transactions

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Twins All-Decade Team, the '00s (The Hitters)

The last month, we have been highlighting some of the best players in the Twins 60-season history. Today, we enter the 21st century. Who makes the team of the '00s? These should all be familiar names for Twins fans.
Image courtesy of Brad Rempel, USA Today
Tom Kelly suffered through some rough Twins seasons but when he retired after the 2001 season, he left the team in a good spot. Ron Gardenhire took over and the team won six division titles in a decade. As we have seen in other decades, much of that credit for this decade belongs to the offense.

The team had two MVPs, a three-time batting champ, several Silver Sluggers and Gold Glove Awards, more All Stars, lots of 30+ double seasons and many 30+ home run seasons.

The list below includes some of the better players in Twins history, but don't worry, there are still a few tough choices in this "lineup." And, frankly, there are some snubs that are deserving as well.

Read through this list and share your thoughts in the lineup.


The Twins Hitters of the 2000s

C - Joe Mauer (2004-2009)
699 games, .327/.408/.483 (.892) with 158 doubles, 72 homers, 397 RBI.

The #1 overall pick of the 2001 draft rose quickly through the Twins minor league system and made his debut on Opening Day 2004. In the following seasons, he became one of baseball’s best players. In 2006, he hit .347 to become the first catcher in American League catcher to win a batting title. He won another in 2008 (.328) and 2009 (.365). He was baseball’s best player in 2009 when he won the AL SABRmetric Triple Crown at .365/.444/.587 (1.031). He was named the league’s MVP that season. Through the 2009 season, he had three batting titles, three All-Star appearances, three Silver Sluggers and his first two Gold Glove awards.




1B - Justin Morneau (2003-2009)
867 games, .280/.350/.501 (.851) with 190 doubles, 163 homers, 623 RBI.

Morneau was the Twins third-round pick in 1999. He made his MLB debut in 2003. He had his ups and downs for a couple of years, but he came into his own in 2006. He hit .321/.375/.559 (.934) with 37 doubles, 34 homers and 130 RBI. He won his first of two Silver Slugger Awards. He was an All-Star each of the next four seasons. He was the runner up for MVP in 2008. From 2006-2009, he hit 31 or more homers three of four years and drove in at least 100 runs all four years.




2B - Nick Punto (2004-2009)
659 games, .249/.325/.327 (.652) with 91 doubles, 11 homers, 174 RBI.

Punto was the Twins 33rd-round pick in 1997, but he didn’t sign. He was later drafted by the Phillies and worked up to the big leagues with them. The Twins acquired him after the 2003 season in the Eric Milton trade, and he became a regular, playing a variety of positions, by 2005. While he’s not a perfect fit at second base, he provided the Twins a ton of versatility. He always took quality at-bats and made pitchers throw a lot of pitches. He also was a plus-plus defender around the infield. In 2006, he hit .290/.352/.373 (.725) with 29 extra base hits in 135 games. In 2008, he hit .284/.344/.382 (.726). He averaged nearly 16 stolen bases between 2005 and 2009. Also considered at the position: Luis Castillo.


3B - Corey Koskie (2000-2004)
688 games, .278/.373/.465 (.838) with 159 doubles, 89 homers, 377 RBI.

Koskie, a native of Manitoba, was the Twins 26th-round pick in 1994. He made his debut late in the 1998 season. In 2000, he hit .300/.400/.441 (.841) with 45 extra- base hits. In 2001, he both scored 100 runs and drove in 100 runs. He also hit a career-high 26 home runs that season. He hit 37 doubles in both 2001 and 2002. He posted an OPS of .815 or higher in seven of eight seasons between 1999 and 2006. He also became a very reliable defensive third baseman.



SS - Cristian Guzman (2000-2004)
710 games, .272/.308/.398 (.706) with 130 doubles, 38 homers, 263 RBI.

Guzman was acquired by the Twins in the February 1998 Chuck Knoblauch trade. He was the Twins Opening Day shortstop starting in 1999. Initially, he was known for strong defense and his great speed. In 2000, he led the league with 20 triples. 2001 was his best season. He hit .302 and played in his first All-Star Game. He hit 28 doubles, a league-leading 14 triples, and a career-high ten home runs. He led the league with 14 triples again in 2003.



LF - Jacque Jones (2000-2005)
881 games, .278/.327/.455 (.781) with 165 doubles, 123 homers, 432 RBI.

Jones was the Twins second-round draft pick in 1996 out of USC (Southern California). The Olympian signed and made his debut midway through the 1999 season. 2000 was his first full season. In 2002, he hit .300 with 37 doubles and 27 home runs. In 2003, he hit .304 with 33 doubles and 16 homers. He hit 23 and 24 homers in 2004 and 2005, respectively. He was a solid left fielder with a great - though sometimes inaccurate - arm. Soon after the Twins acquired Shannon Stewart in 2004, Jones moved to right field.




CF - Torii Hunter (2000-2007)
1,092 games, .273/.326/.478 (.803) with 241 doubles, 183 homers, 674 RBI.

Hunter was the Twins first-round pick in 1993 out of high school. He had brief call ups in 1997 and 1998 but spent a lot of time traveling between AAA and the big leagues in 1999 and 2000 as well. He became a regular in 2001 and took off from that point. He was incredible with the glove and won six straight Gold Glove Awards between 2002 and 2007. He was an All-Star in those two seasons as well. Hunter hit a career-high 45 doubles and 2007. He had hit a career-high 31 homers in 2006. While known for his defense, Hunter came into his own offensively as well with the Twins.




RF - Michael Cuddyer (2001-2009)
843 games, .270/.344/.457 (.801) with 173 doubles, 107 homers, 479 RBI.

Cuddyer was the Twins top pick in the 1997 draft. He debuted very late in the 2001 season and had several cups of coffee in 2002 and 2003. He became a regular in 2004 and remained as such through the decade. He moved all over the diamond, but he became his best when he was thrown into right field where his rocket arm became a huge asset. That happened in 2006 when he hit .284/.362/.504 (.867) with a career-high 41 doubles, 24 homers and 109 RBI. In 2009, he received MVP votes for really leading the Twins in their incredible September to force a Game 163. That season, he hit .276/.342/.520 (.862) with 32 doubles and a career-high 34 home runs.




DH - Lew Ford (2003-2007)
494 games, .272/.349/.402 (.750) with 80 doubles, 32 homers, 172 RBI.

This may be a controversial choice, but Ford did play some DH throughout his time with the Twins. We could have gone with Denard Span whose first two MLB seasons were incredible with high batting average and on-base percentage. You could go with AJ Pierzynski who played in an All-Star Game as a Twins catcher before the Mauer years. How about Jason Bartlett for his short time with the Twins? For me though, the choice was Ford. In September of 2000, the Twins traded reliever Hector Carrasco to the Red Sox in exchange for Ford. He debuted in 2003 by hitting .329 (.928) in 35 games and made the playoff roster. In 2004, he burst on the scene with a huge first half which found him on the AL’s final vote for the last spot on the AL All- Star roster. Overall that season, he hit .299/.381/.446 (.827) with 31 doubles, 15 homers and 72 RBI in 154 games. He also had 20 stolen bases. That was the pinnacle, but he did play in 147 games in 2005. He spent most of the next two seasons with the Twins as well, though his performance dropped. But that 2004 season was special.


What are your thoughts? Agree with the choices?


Previous Installments
Twins All-Decade Team, the '60s (The Hitters)
Twins All-Decade Team, the '60s (The Pitchers)
Episode 15: Get t o Know the 1960s Twins (with Dave Mona)
Twins All-Decade Team, the '70s (The Hitters)
Twins All-Decade Team, the '70s (The Pitchers)
Episode 16: Get to Know the 1970s Twins (with Patrick Reusse)
Twins All-Decade Team: the '80s (The Hitters)
Twins All-Decade Team: the '80s (The Pitchers)
Episode 17: Get to know the 1980s Twins (with Howard Sinker)
Twins All-Decade Team: the '90s (The Hitters)
Twins All-Decade Team: the '90s (The Pitchers)

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12 Comments

Wow - you missed Matt LeCroy, Ron Coomer and Jay Canizaro from the 2000 starting lineup.Well I am sure those were among the just missed.I am so happy you have done this and this is a fascinating lineup.It does not come close to the 60s, but it has an interesting combination of players with 2B the obvious weak point. 

 

Of course we can put David Ortiz on the what if team of the decade.

 

I would make a case for Shannon Stewart on this team on the basis of how important he was to the team during his tenure.We got him for Bobby Kielty (one of the most overrated prospects in Twins history).Stewart his 322 and placed 4th in MVP voting.The Twins were 8 1/2 games back at the time of the trade and came back to win the division thanks to Shannon's leadership.

 

We can also look back to the Delmon Young days.Of course after we traded Ortiz the DH became the problem that leads to your choice of Lew Ford for DH.We actually used players like Jason Tyner for our real DH. Here are the DHs for the decade beginning with 2000 (multiple players hit at this spot but I am only listing thee one that had the most ABs.

David Ortiz - 2000

David Ortiz - 2001

David Ortiz - 2002

Matt LeCroy - 2003

Jose Offerman - 2004

Matt LeCroy - 2005

Rondell White - 2006

Jason Tyner - 2007

Jason Kubel - 2008

Jason Kubel - 2009

If you limit your choice to one of our real DHs which one gets the position on this team?I think it is Ortiz.

Lew Ford made the team.  

 

    • Seth Stohs likes this
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theBOMisthebomb
May 06 2020 09:27 AM

Lew Ford made the team.

And Punto!
    • Seth Stohs likes this
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Nine of twelve
May 06 2020 11:21 AM

I'm not bothering to check the stats, but I think David Ortiz probably did better in his appearances as DH than Lew Ford did in his appearances as DH.

    • DocBauer likes this

Thanks for the list. The Twins had some solid lineups at the beginning and end of the '00s.

 

IMO, Kubel was better than both Ortiz and Ford. Ortiz hit more HR but didn't get on base nearly as often and didn't slug any better than Kubel, even with the HR. 

Punto works at 2B in this scenario because, well, who else?

While Ford was fun and did some good things, seems to me pre Red Sox Ortiz is the better choice at DH.

 

Lew Ford made the team.  

 

He's also the one player in this lineup who (as of 2019) was still actively playing.

    • ashbury, DocBauer and David HK like this

ooof the middle infield was rough in the 00's!

 

Guzman..Bartlett...neither great, both had one really good season that they never repeated as a Twin...I guess you give it to Guzman on longevity?

 

2B was a wasteland, Punto is probably the best choice even if we saw his best play when he was at 3B. Yuck.

 

It's also sad how bad DH was for the Twins during this decade...look at all the ABs Jason Tyner ruined for us there! Honestly the failure to find a plus DH might be the biggest failure of the regime during those years: it shouldn't have been that hard to find or develop a player to just hit to give more quality. Lew Ford is...a reasonable choice? Oh dear.

 

Otherwise it's a pretty impressive roster! 2 MVPs loads of all-stars...

    • DocBauer likes this
General comment/observation: There has been a lot of debate on some of these decade teams regarding 1B/OF and the such. But one thing we all realize is that the infield has been rather hit and miss at times. No secret huh?

But while some guys are gone...Nunez, Dozier and Escobar...there seems to have been a shift in the depth and talent in the infield the last few years, THANKFULLY!

Sano, now Donaldson, Polanco, Arraez, and even quality reserves like Adrianza and Marwin have changed the outlook. Lewis has huge upside. While the luster bas worn off one, there is a long road ahead for another, and some questions remain about a 3rd, Javier, Cavaco and Miranda offer optimism. And there are a couple of other recent college additions in the lower minors who have a ton of potential. Just a few years ago, Blenkenhorn would have been receiving hopeful wishes and dreams.

 

Thanks for the list. The Twins had some solid lineups at the beginning and end of the '00s.

 

IMO, Kubel was better than both Ortiz and Ford. Ortiz hit more HR but didn't get on base nearly as often and didn't slug any better than Kubel, even with the HR. 

 

Of those two, I would definitely take Kubel... 

    • David HK likes this

 

Thanks for the list. The Twins had some solid lineups at the beginning and end of the '00s.

 

IMO, Kubel was better than both Ortiz and Ford. Ortiz hit more HR but didn't get on base nearly as often and didn't slug any better than Kubel, even with the HR. 

 

The more I think about it, the more I would pick Kubel to DH over Ford. Kubel had a number of seasons where he was a solid hitter to go along with his one excellent season (which he was the primary DH) and Ford really only had the one.

 

It's a shame we only really got to see Kubel in MLB after his knees were wrecked.

    • DocBauer, dbminn, Rigby and 1 other like this

 

The more I think about it, the more I would pick Kubel to DH over Ford. Kubel had a number of seasons where he was a solid hitter to go along with his one excellent season (which he was the primary DH) and Ford really only had the one.

 

It's a shame we only really got to see Kubel in MLB after his knees were wrecked.

 

I agree about Kubel. He had a ton of talent.


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