To keep it somewhat limited, I only looked at those rookies that were with the team for long enough that they will not be a rookies in 2014. In other words, Josmil Pinto will still be a rookie in 2014, so he and his impressive September will not be eligible (though, you can choose him as a write-in candidate in the comments below).
So without further ado, here are the candidates:
Aaron Hicks - After trading Denard Span and Ben Revere in the offseason, the Twins heavily touted Aaron Hicks as the future at centerfield. He came to spring training and hit very well and won the competition. Then things started to go bad. On Opening Day, Hicks struck out three times against Justin Verlander. He went on to hit .192/.259/.338 (.597) with 11 doubles, three triples, eight home runs and 27 RBI. He stole nine bases in 12 attempts. He struck out 84 times and walked 24 times in 81 games before he was optioned to Rochester. He did not return in September. WAR = -0.7.
Oswaldo Arcia - A spring training injury meant that Arcia was not able to show his offensive skills as much as he would have wanted. However, within the first two weeks of the season, he was promoted. At times, he realized the potential that he has. Considering he struck out an amazing 31% of the time (117 times to go with just 23 walks), his 102 OPS+ is impressive considering his age. When he put the ball in play, he did some damage. Overall, in 97 games, he hit .251/.304/.430 (.734) with 17 doubles, 2 triples, 14 home runs and 43 RBI. WAR = -0.4.
Chris Colabello - He was the story of the year in 2012 in the Twins farm system. This year, he was invited to big league spring training before starring for the surprising Team Italy in the WBC. He dominated AAA, and at age 29, earned his first big league promotion. In 160 at bats over 55 games, he hit .194/.287/.344 (.631) with three doubles, seven homers and 17 RBI. He did strike out 58 times. Again, he showed a rare power this year that makes him intriguing going forward. WAR = -0.2.
Chris Herrmann - He had a mid-September promotion to the Twins in 2012. He made his AAA debut in 2013, but he was summoned to the big club in May when Wilkin Ramirez had his concussion. He certainly showed his defensive versatility, playing well behind the plate and in the two corner outfield positions. He had a couple of moments with his bat too. Overall, in 157 at bats over 57 games, he hit .204/.286/.325 (.611) with five doubles, two triples and three home runs. WAR = 0.2.
Pedro Hernandez - The lefty was up and down with the Twins a few times throughout the season. With the big league club, he made 12 starts and twice came out of the bullpen. He went 3-3 with a 6.83 ERA, a 1.82 WHIP and a 5.54 FIP. In 56.2 innings, he gave up 80 hits, walked 23 and struck out 29.
Ryan Pressly - The Twins acquired Pressly from the Red Sox organization in the Rule 5 draft. Very few Rule 5 picks remain with their drafting team, but Pressly became a success story. He pitched in 49 games for the Twins and went 3-3 with a 3.87 ERA, a 1.28 WHIP, and a 3.67 FIP. In 76.2 innings, he gave up 71 hits, walked 27 and struck out 49.
Andrew Albers - Another tremendous story who has moved swiftly up the Twins system since signing out of the Can-Am League before the 2011 season. He was the Twins choice for minor league pitcher of the year, and he finally made his big league debut. In his first start, he went 8.1 scoreless innings. In his second start, he threw the team's only complete game shutout of the season. Overall, in his ten starts, he gave up 64 hits, walked seven and struck out 25 in 60 innings. He went 2-5 with a 4.05 ERA, a 1.18 WHIP, and a 3.96 FIP.
Kyle Gibson - The 2009 top pick returned from Tommy John surgery and was able to hit a combined 150 innings this season. After coming up to the Twins in June, he made ten starts. He went 2-4 with a 6.53 ERA, a 1.75 WHIP and a 5.17 FIP. In 51 innings, he gave up 69 hits, walked 20 and struck out 29. He will come to big league camp in 2014 with a chance to be in the Opening Day rotation.
Those are the candidates, with one exception. My choice for 2013 Twins Rookie of the Year is...
Caleb Thielbar - The Twins signed Thielbar from the St. Paul Saints late in the 2011 season. He moved up three levels in 2012 and then pitched in the Arizona Fall League before being added to the 40 man roster. He struggled in spring training, but it wasn't long into the season that he was summoned to the Twins.
He made his big league debut on May 20 in Atlanta where he struck out three over two perfect innings. He did not give up a run until July 8th, a period that covered 17 games and 19.2 innings. Over the course of the rest of the season, he gave up more than one run just one time.
Overall, he pitched in 49 games. He went 3-2 with a 1.76 ERA, a 0.83 WHIP and a 3.40 FIP. In 46 innings, he gave up just 24 hits, walked just 14 and struck out 39 (7.6 per nine innings).
I talked to Thielbar on Saturday at Target Field. How did he feel about his rookie season? What did he learn? He said, "Just proving to myself that I can pitch at this level I think is a big deal."
What was his key to success? "Just throwing strikes and getting ahead of guys. When I get ahead of guys, it's fine. I run into a little trouble when I fall behind guys. I think that's the main problem I've had at some points this year. I guess mixing all of the pitches has been real effective, just like in the minor leagues."
Why is that so important, especially in the big leagues? "Everyone is good up here. Everyone is awesome!"
The most important thing for all of these rookies is that now they have some big league experience. Every player who debuts has some struggles. It's a matter of what they learn and what they do with that information to make adjustments and become better in the long run.
In 2014, there will be several more rookies making their debuts and going through their struggles as well. Wouldn't it be nice if it just came easily? That's not reality for the vast majority of big leaguers. So, every experience, good and bad, can provide value.
So, you've seen the options, and you've seen my choice, now it's your turn. Who would you chose as the 2013 Twins Rookie of the Year, and why?