Looking back at the Twins fourth straight 90-loss season doesn't have to be full of glum recollections of another horrible year. There were plenty of bright spots throughout the Twins roster. Brian Dozier did something only a handful of Twins players have ever done. Phil Hughes set an all-time MLB record. Plus young players like Danny Santana were sure fun to watch.
Every year at the end of the season, I look back at the Twins year and try and handout some end of the season awards. Many of these men were on their way to winning these awards when I reflected back on the first half. However one of the first half winners couldn't hang on to his title until the end of the year.
Each of the awards below has been named after someone that optimizes that award for the Twins organization. There are some legends from the past and even one current MLB player but all have had a significant place in Twins lore.
Harmon Killebrew MVP: Brian Dozier, 2B
First-Half MVP: Brian Dozier, 2B
Previous Winners: Joe Mauer (2013), Josh Willingham (2012), Michael Cuddyer (2011), Joe Mauer (2010)
It's hard to argue with the season compiled by Dozier. He became just the sixth player in Twins history and the first since Torii Hunter in 2004 to notch a 20-20 season. He's also finished second in the American League in runs scored as he only finished by the presumed MVP Mike Trout. According to SABR's Defensive Index, Dozier has been the fifth best defensive second baseman in the American League. He's been a leader on the field and in the clubhouse so the award is well deserved.
Johan Santana Pitcher of the Year: Phil Hughes, RHP
Pitcher of the First Half: Phil Hughes, RHP
Previous Winners: Kevin Correia (2013), Scott Diamond (2012), Carl Pavano (2011), Carl Pavano (2010)
This award is probably the easiest to hand out. Hughes was the ace of the Twins staff this season. He set the all-time strikeout to walk ratio by a starting pitcher. He pitched over 200 innings for the first time in his career and he had an ERA under 4.00 for only the second time in his career. Hughes led the Twins in basically every major category for a starting pitcher. The Twins had to be happy with him being a very good deal as a free agent signing. He will be part of the Twins rotation for the next couple seasons and he will provide a veteran presence for some of the younger players on the mound.
Rick Aguilera Relief Pitcher of the Year: Glen Perkins, LHP
Relief Pitcher of the First Half: Casey Fien, RHP
Previous Winners: Glen Perkins (2013), Jared Burton (2012), Glen Perkins (2011), Jesse Crain (2010)
At the mid-point of the season, this was the hardest award to pick. My vote went to Fien because of his ability to strand runners on base, his strong first half ERA and WHIP, and the amount of innings he had pitched. Fien's numbers came back to the back in the second half so my vote goes to Perkins even with the rough second half compiled by Perkins. According to FanGraphs version of WAR, Perkins was slightly better than Fien. Perkins also struck out more batters and pitched fewer innings. Fien had a very good season but Perkins was still the best bullpen arm.
Rod Carew Rookie of the Year: Danny Santana, SS/OF
Rookie of the First Half: Danny Santana, SS/OF
Previous Winners: Oswaldo Arcia (2013), Scott Diamond (2012), Ben Revere (2011), Danny Valencia (2010)
Josmil Pinto did some good things at the beginning of the season and Kennys Vargas had his moments in the second half. This award belongs to Danny Santana for the way he was able to impact the Twins line-up this season. He filled in admirably at a position of need for the club and he finished the year with the third highest WAR among Twins position players. There are some that doubt that he will be able to keep up this high level of play into next season but he seems to solidified himself as an everyday major leaguer.
Now it's your turn. Who would you pick for each of the above awards? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
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