2022 marks the first time since MLB Network started making their top-100 lists in 2014 that the Twins have ever had two players in the top 40. Buxton and Correa have the potential to be the best duo in Twins history in 2022. After watching Buxton hit .469 with five home runs in 32 at-bats and Correa hit .350 with three home runs in 20 at-bats, it's easy to dream about this duo. Who would they have to pass to become the best single-season duo in Twins history? Let's look at the top five.
Rod Carew and Lyman Bostock, 1977
In Rod Carew's historic 1977 season, in which he won MVP and bid to hit .400 (finished at .388), he and the late Lyman Bostock combined with being the best duo in Twins history when they combined for 13.7 fWAR. Carew accounted for 8.6 WAR while Bostock accumulated the other 5.1 WAR in a career year when he had a career-best 142 wRC+.
Carew, on the other hand, had the best offensive season in Twins history, leading the league in runs (128), hits (239), triples (16), batting average (.388), on-base percentage (.449), and OPS (1.019). However, this team only went 84-77 and finished fourth in the AL West.
Joe Mauer and Denard Span, 2009
Joe Mauer missed the first month of the 2009 season and still managed to have the fourth-best single-season WAR total of any catcher (8.4). Mauer's MVP season was a driving force in the Twins making it to the playoffs. Mauer and centerfielder Denard Span combined for 12.5 fWAR in the Twins' last season in the Metrodome. Mauer led MLB in batting average (.365), on-base percentage (.444), and led the American League in slugging percentage (.587) and OPS (1.031). He hit a career-high 28 home runs and drove in 96 runs. He won the American League Most Valuable Player award, Silver Slugger, and Gold Glove honors.
Span was no slouch himself, hitting .311/.392/.415 (.807) with an American League-leading ten triples. Mauer was the driving force in this duo, but every Batman needs a Robin.
Bob Allison and Tony Oliva, 1964
In a season where Tony Oliva had a historic debut season, winning American League Rookie of the Year, his counterpart, 1959 AL Rookie of the Year Bob Allison, was equally good. Oliva posted 6.2 WAR, and Allison was right there with him, posting 6.2 WAR. Allison hit .287/.404/.553 (.957) and had a career-high 161 wRC+. Oliva led the AL in hits, doubles, batting average, and runs as a rookie. He also hit a career-high 32 home runs. Oliva had the best OPS as a rookie in Twins history (.916). Harmon Killebrew accumulated 4.8 WAR, completing a legendary trio of Twins legends, along with these two legendary Twins. However, the Twins finished 79-83-1 in 1964, so three players can only do so much for a team.
Harmon Killebrew and Rod Carew, 1969
Debatably the top two players in Twins history made up for the fourth-best duo in Twins history in 1969. Killebrew posted a career-high 7.1 WAR and won the AL MVP award while hitting the most single-season home runs in Twins history (49) during Billy Martin's lone season as Twins manager. Killebrew led MLB in RBI (140) thanks to a fantastic 23-year-old table-setter named Rod Carew.
In Carew's third big league season, he was worth 5.0 WAR while leading the American League in batting average (.332). After a subpar sophomore campaign in 1968 in which his wRC+ dipped to 96, he had an outstanding 138 wRC+ and never let that figure dip below 100 for the final 17 years of his major league career.
This Twins team went 97-65, winning the AL West. Unfortunately, they got swept by the Baltimore Orioles in the playoffs.
Zoilo Versalles and Tony Oliva, 1965
In one of the strangest seasons of all time, Zoilo Versalles led the American League in runs (126), doubles (45), triples (12), and total bases (308). In a career where he was only worth 13.1 WAR over 12 seasons, he accumulated 7.0 WAR in 1965 alone to win the AL MVP award.
Tony Oliva followed up his Rookie-of-the-Year campaign with a solid 5.1 WAR season in a less fluky season. In MVP voting, Oliva finished runner-up to Versalles while leading the AL in hits (185) and batting average (.321).
This Twins team was one of the best in history, going 102-60 but losing to Sandy Koufax and the Dodgers in the World Series in seven games.
Where do Buxton and Correa fit?
Last season, Buxton and Correa combined for 10 WAR. These aforementioned duos all had at least 12 WAR, so it will take something special for Buxton and Correa to join this list. However, if Buxton would have played in 60 more games last year at the same level he played at in the 61 games he was on the field for, he would’ve been worth 8.4 WAR while Correa posted 5.8. If these two guys combine for 14 WAR, they are the top duo in Twins history.
Of course, it will take some luck, health, and very good production, but these are two of the most talented players the Twins have ever had, so if anyone can do it, it’s them.
What do you think? Where do you think Buxton and Correa could fit in on this list? Leave a comment and start a discussion.
Thank you for reading, and Go Twins!