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  1. The offseason accolades continue for Twins utilityman Luis Arraez. On Thursday, he was officially named the 2022 American League Silver Slugger Award winner for a utility player. Image courtesy of Jordan Johnson, USA TODAY Sports Luis Arraez became the fifth Twins player to win an American League batting title when he hit .316 over 144 games in 2022. He joined Hall of Famers Tony Oliva (3), Rod Carew (7) and Kirby Puckett (1), along with future Hall of Famer Joe Mauer as batting champs. He was an All Star in 2022. He was named a finalist for a Gold Glove at first base. Tonight, he becomes the first Twins player since Nelson Cruz took home the Silver Slugger for DH in 2020. The 25-year-old from Venezuela hit .316/.375/.420 (795) with 31 doubles, a triple and eight home runs. He also walked 50 times and struck out just 43 times. His eight home runs are two more than he had hit over his previous three seasons. The Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger Award winners are voted on by MLB managers and coaches. They are based on offensive stats including OBP, OPS, OPS+, home runs, hits, RBI, batting average as well as "managers' and coaches' general impressions of a player's overall offensive value." View full article
  2. Luis Arraez became the fifth Twins player to win an American League batting title when he hit .316 over 144 games in 2022. He joined Hall of Famers Tony Oliva (3), Rod Carew (7) and Kirby Puckett (1), along with future Hall of Famer Joe Mauer as batting champs. He was an All Star in 2022. He was named a finalist for a Gold Glove at first base. Tonight, he becomes the first Twins player since Nelson Cruz took home the Silver Slugger for DH in 2020. The 25-year-old from Venezuela hit .316/.375/.420 (795) with 31 doubles, a triple and eight home runs. He also walked 50 times and struck out just 43 times. His eight home runs are two more than he had hit over his previous three seasons. The Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger Award winners are voted on by MLB managers and coaches. They are based on offensive stats including OBP, OPS, OPS+, home runs, hits, RBI, batting average as well as "managers' and coaches' general impressions of a player's overall offensive value."
  3. Although the Minnesota Twins season has shifted into meaningless territory following their postseason elimination, Luis Arraez provided excitement en route to winning his first batting title. Looking to keep the competition at bay, there are more than a few games where he’s been the straw to stir the Twins drink. Image courtesy of Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports Ever since Luis Arraez took a 9th inning walk coming into the game cold against an 0-2 count and star closer Edwin Diaz, there was something different about him. He had the plate antics of a confident hitter, and his diminutive stature might have drawn comparisons to Rod Carew before we knew the bat would. Now having chased down the Twins first batting title since that of Joe Mauer, Arraez made his mark plenty this offseason. This season Arraez posted three separate four-hit games, and another thirteen three-hit games. Without singling out specific balls in play, these are the five most impactful games Arraez put forth at the dish in 2022 in terms of Win Probability Added (WPA) 5. July 4 vs Chicago White Sox 0.256 WPA Playing as the designated hitter and batting leadoff on Independence Day against the division rival White Sox, Arraez had five plate appearances. Johnny Cueto had been rolling for Chicago and despite being a right-handed pitcher, he still should’ve been expected to keep it going against Minnesota. Arraez led off the game with a double, his first of two on the day. After his second double, Byron Buxton’s fifth-inning home run brought Arraez home as part of Minnesota’s first two runs. Needing a 10th inning and forcing the inherited runner, Arraez delivered when his single off Kendall Gravemen brought Gilberto Celestino home to give the Twins a lead. This was also the game that the Twins turned a ridiculous 8-5 triple play. 4. June 11 vs Tampa Bay Rays 0.268 WPA Again batting leadoff, Arraez began this game as the Minnesota first baseman, a position he learned on the fly in 2022. After a lineout against Rays Shane Baz in his first plate appearance, Arraez blasted a grand slam in the 3rd inning to score Gilberto Celestino, Nick Gordon, and Ryan Jeffers. That was going to be tough to top, but Arraez added two more singles on the day to grab a three-hit game. His grand slam added 26% of win probability to Minnesota’s chances for the contest. 3. August 7 vs Toronto Blue Jays 0.270 WPA Another extra-inning affair, Arraez was off his feet in this one as Minnesota’s designated hitter. Facing Toronto Blue Jays star pitcher Kevin Gausman, one would think he’d have an uphill battle at the dish. Gausman did get him to fly out in his first at-bat, but then Arraez went to work. A line drive double in the 3rd inning was his first hit of the game before a single moved Celestino to second base in the 5th inning. Trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the 9th inning with one out, Arraez drove in Tim Beckham to force extras. The Twins wound up losing this one in extras after Major League Baseball made a mess of themselves calling Whit Merrifield safe after he was thrown out at home and tagged by Gary Sanchez. 2. June 21 vs Cleveland Guardians 0.310 WPA Despite being his second most impactful game of the season, this is Arraez’s first on the list in which he had just two hits. Timing and circumstance are weighed heavily into WPA, and we see that here. Going 0-for-2 in his first two plate appearances, Arraez got on the board with a 5th inning double off of Cleveland starter Aaron Civale. Needing a run in the 7th inning to tie the score at three, Arraez did the Twins much better. Tagging Eli Morgan for a three-run blast scoring Trevor Larnach and Ryan Jeffers, Minnesota was positioned to win this one before an Emilio Pagan meltdown. 1. July 2 vs Baltimore Orioles 0.323 WPA Just a couple of days prior to the Independence Day heroics, Arraez started at first base against Jordan Lyles and the Orioles. Another two-hit contest here, it was a pair of doubles that created the greatest impact in a single game of Arraez’s season. Down 2-0 in the 3rd inning, Arraez doubled and pushed teammate Gio Urshela to third base. Ultimately Carlos Correa and Max Kepler left them stranded, but it was the start of a rally. Trailing 3-1 in the bottom of the 8th inning, Arraez’s second double put Celestino in position to score on a sacrifice fly. Jorge Polanco homered off now-teammate Jorge Lopez in the bottom of the 9th inning to tie it before Jose Miranda walked it off. What have been some of your other favorite moments from Luis Arraez’s league-leading season? View full article
  4. Ever since Luis Arraez took a 9th inning walk coming into the game cold against an 0-2 count and star closer Edwin Diaz, there was something different about him. He had the plate antics of a confident hitter, and his diminutive stature might have drawn comparisons to Rod Carew before we knew the bat would. Now having chased down the Twins first batting title since that of Joe Mauer, Arraez made his mark plenty this offseason. This season Arraez posted three separate four-hit games, and another thirteen three-hit games. Without singling out specific balls in play, these are the five most impactful games Arraez put forth at the dish in 2022 in terms of Win Probability Added (WPA) 5. July 4 vs Chicago White Sox 0.256 WPA Playing as the designated hitter and batting leadoff on Independence Day against the division rival White Sox, Arraez had five plate appearances. Johnny Cueto had been rolling for Chicago and despite being a right-handed pitcher, he still should’ve been expected to keep it going against Minnesota. Arraez led off the game with a double, his first of two on the day. After his second double, Byron Buxton’s fifth-inning home run brought Arraez home as part of Minnesota’s first two runs. Needing a 10th inning and forcing the inherited runner, Arraez delivered when his single off Kendall Gravemen brought Gilberto Celestino home to give the Twins a lead. This was also the game that the Twins turned a ridiculous 8-5 triple play. 4. June 11 vs Tampa Bay Rays 0.268 WPA Again batting leadoff, Arraez began this game as the Minnesota first baseman, a position he learned on the fly in 2022. After a lineout against Rays Shane Baz in his first plate appearance, Arraez blasted a grand slam in the 3rd inning to score Gilberto Celestino, Nick Gordon, and Ryan Jeffers. That was going to be tough to top, but Arraez added two more singles on the day to grab a three-hit game. His grand slam added 26% of win probability to Minnesota’s chances for the contest. 3. August 7 vs Toronto Blue Jays 0.270 WPA Another extra-inning affair, Arraez was off his feet in this one as Minnesota’s designated hitter. Facing Toronto Blue Jays star pitcher Kevin Gausman, one would think he’d have an uphill battle at the dish. Gausman did get him to fly out in his first at-bat, but then Arraez went to work. A line drive double in the 3rd inning was his first hit of the game before a single moved Celestino to second base in the 5th inning. Trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the 9th inning with one out, Arraez drove in Tim Beckham to force extras. The Twins wound up losing this one in extras after Major League Baseball made a mess of themselves calling Whit Merrifield safe after he was thrown out at home and tagged by Gary Sanchez. 2. June 21 vs Cleveland Guardians 0.310 WPA Despite being his second most impactful game of the season, this is Arraez’s first on the list in which he had just two hits. Timing and circumstance are weighed heavily into WPA, and we see that here. Going 0-for-2 in his first two plate appearances, Arraez got on the board with a 5th inning double off of Cleveland starter Aaron Civale. Needing a run in the 7th inning to tie the score at three, Arraez did the Twins much better. Tagging Eli Morgan for a three-run blast scoring Trevor Larnach and Ryan Jeffers, Minnesota was positioned to win this one before an Emilio Pagan meltdown. 1. July 2 vs Baltimore Orioles 0.323 WPA Just a couple of days prior to the Independence Day heroics, Arraez started at first base against Jordan Lyles and the Orioles. Another two-hit contest here, it was a pair of doubles that created the greatest impact in a single game of Arraez’s season. Down 2-0 in the 3rd inning, Arraez doubled and pushed teammate Gio Urshela to third base. Ultimately Carlos Correa and Max Kepler left them stranded, but it was the start of a rally. Trailing 3-1 in the bottom of the 8th inning, Arraez’s second double put Celestino in position to score on a sacrifice fly. Jorge Polanco homered off now-teammate Jorge Lopez in the bottom of the 9th inning to tie it before Jose Miranda walked it off. What have been some of your other favorite moments from Luis Arraez’s league-leading season?
  5. Every year around the Mid-Summer Classic, it can be fun to scroll through the list of former All-Stars for your favorite franchise. There are all-time great players, but there are also some less familiar names like John Roseboro, Ken Landreaux, and Dave Engle. It can be an entertaining review of team history to look back at All-Stars from yesteryear. I created an entire team roster in the roster below, but there were a few stipulations. Some players on the roster played multiple positions in their careers, but they had to be placed in the position from their All-Star season. Also, a player couldn’t be on the list multiple times. For instance, Johan Santana was great in the 2000s, but he only gets to be in the rotation once. Without further ado, here is the All-Time Twins All-Star Roster. Catcher: Joe Mauer (2009) Joe Mauer’s MVP season is one of the best overall seasons in franchise history. In franchise history, there have been seven other All-Star catchers, but none of them compare to Mauer. 1B: Rod Carew (1977) Rod Carew’s MVP season in 1977 is hard to top, even with other All-Star sluggers like Justin Morneau, Kent Hrbek, and Bob Allison. Luis Arraez made the 2022 All-Star team at first base, but Carew still gets the nod. 2B: Chuck Knoblauch (1996) Minnesota has only had three All-Stars at second base, including Carew, Knoblauch, and Brian Dozier. Fans may forget, but Knoblauch was one of baseball’s best players in the mid-90s as he was elected to the Mid-Summer Classic in four different years. 3B: Harmon Killebrew (1969) Harmon Killebrew made the All-Star team at three different positions, but third base was his best spot to crack this roster. During the 1969 season, he won his only MVP and led baseball in home runs (49) and RBI (140). SS: Zoilo Versalles (1965) The 1965 Twins were the first in franchise history to make the World Series, and Versalles can get forgotten among some of the other greats on that squad. He was awarded the AL MVP for his 1965 season, and he’s the only Twins shortstop to make multiple All-Star appearances. OF: Kirby Puckett (1988), Tony Oliva (1970), Byron Buxton (2022) For Twins fans, this might be a dream outfield. Kirby Puckett was a 10-time All-Star, and Baseball-Reference pegs his 1988 season as his most valuable (7.8 WAR). Tony Oliva made eight-straight All-Star appearances from 1964-1971, and he compiled a 7.0 WAR in 1970. Byron Buxton is on pace for his best season, and MLB awarded him with his first All-Star start. Other Twins outfielders in the conversation include Torii Hunter and Bob Allison. DH: Nelson Cruz (2021) Nelson Cruz is the only player in Twins history to be selected to the All-Star Game as a designated hitter. He combined for a 129 OPS+ and 32 home runs during the 2021 season. Rotation: Johan Santana (2004), Francisco Liriano (2006), Jack Morris (1991), Bert Blyleven (1973), Frank Viola (1988) It doesn’t get much more exciting than this starting rotation. Johan Santana was arguably the best pitcher on the planet in 2004. By 2006, Francisco Liriano joined Santana and was at the top of the baseball pitching world before his elbow gave out. Frank Viola won the World Series MVP in 1987 and was even better in 1988 by winning the AL Cy Young. Plus, there are two other Hall of Fame pitchers to add to the mix, including Jack Morris from his memorable World Series run and a young Bert Blyleven. Overall, this rotation is stacked. Bullpen: Rick Aguilera (1991), Joe Nathan (2004), Jeff Reardon (1988), Glen Perkins (2013), Eddie Guardado (2002) Minnesota has been lucky to be home to some of baseball’s best closers. Except for Reardon, all these relievers were selected for multiple All-Star Games. It’s hard to imagine the starters listed above needing much help from the bullpen, but this group was dominant in late-inning situations. Here is the updated list of the team’s All-Stars directly from the Twins. What changes would you make to this All-Star roster? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  6. The Twins have had some great players throughout their franchise history, including multiple Hall of Famers. So, which players would make up the All-Time Twins All-Star Team? Every year around the Mid-Summer Classic, it can be fun to scroll through the list of former All-Stars for your favorite franchise. There are all-time great players, but there are also some less familiar names like John Roseboro, Ken Landreaux, and Dave Engle. It can be an entertaining review of team history to look back at All-Stars from yesteryear. I created an entire team roster in the roster below, but there were a few stipulations. Some players on the roster played multiple positions in their careers, but they had to be placed in the position from their All-Star season. Also, a player couldn’t be on the list multiple times. For instance, Johan Santana was great in the 2000s, but he only gets to be in the rotation once. Without further ado, here is the All-Time Twins All-Star Roster. Catcher: Joe Mauer (2009) Joe Mauer’s MVP season is one of the best overall seasons in franchise history. In franchise history, there have been seven other All-Star catchers, but none of them compare to Mauer. 1B: Rod Carew (1977) Rod Carew’s MVP season in 1977 is hard to top, even with other All-Star sluggers like Justin Morneau, Kent Hrbek, and Bob Allison. Luis Arraez made the 2022 All-Star team at first base, but Carew still gets the nod. 2B: Chuck Knoblauch (1996) Minnesota has only had three All-Stars at second base, including Carew, Knoblauch, and Brian Dozier. Fans may forget, but Knoblauch was one of baseball’s best players in the mid-90s as he was elected to the Mid-Summer Classic in four different years. 3B: Harmon Killebrew (1969) Harmon Killebrew made the All-Star team at three different positions, but third base was his best spot to crack this roster. During the 1969 season, he won his only MVP and led baseball in home runs (49) and RBI (140). SS: Zoilo Versalles (1965) The 1965 Twins were the first in franchise history to make the World Series, and Versalles can get forgotten among some of the other greats on that squad. He was awarded the AL MVP for his 1965 season, and he’s the only Twins shortstop to make multiple All-Star appearances. OF: Kirby Puckett (1988), Tony Oliva (1970), Byron Buxton (2022) For Twins fans, this might be a dream outfield. Kirby Puckett was a 10-time All-Star, and Baseball-Reference pegs his 1988 season as his most valuable (7.8 WAR). Tony Oliva made eight-straight All-Star appearances from 1964-1971, and he compiled a 7.0 WAR in 1970. Byron Buxton is on pace for his best season, and MLB awarded him with his first All-Star start. Other Twins outfielders in the conversation include Torii Hunter and Bob Allison. DH: Nelson Cruz (2021) Nelson Cruz is the only player in Twins history to be selected to the All-Star Game as a designated hitter. He combined for a 129 OPS+ and 32 home runs during the 2021 season. Rotation: Johan Santana (2004), Francisco Liriano (2006), Jack Morris (1991), Bert Blyleven (1973), Frank Viola (1988) It doesn’t get much more exciting than this starting rotation. Johan Santana was arguably the best pitcher on the planet in 2004. By 2006, Francisco Liriano joined Santana and was at the top of the baseball pitching world before his elbow gave out. Frank Viola won the World Series MVP in 1987 and was even better in 1988 by winning the AL Cy Young. Plus, there are two other Hall of Fame pitchers to add to the mix, including Jack Morris from his memorable World Series run and a young Bert Blyleven. Overall, this rotation is stacked. Bullpen: Rick Aguilera (1991), Joe Nathan (2004), Jeff Reardon (1988), Glen Perkins (2013), Eddie Guardado (2002) Minnesota has been lucky to be home to some of baseball’s best closers. Except for Reardon, all these relievers were selected for multiple All-Star Games. It’s hard to imagine the starters listed above needing much help from the bullpen, but this group was dominant in late-inning situations. Here is the updated list of the team’s All-Stars directly from the Twins. What changes would you make to this All-Star roster? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  7. There’s zero comparison between a Hall of Famer with over 3,000 hits to a lovable utility guy with 300 games under his belt. However, it’s undeniable to see the similarities in style between that of Rod Carew and Luis Arraez. Carew entered the league a year younger than Arraez and won his first batting title during just his third professional season. Minnesota’s current utility man is now in his fourth year and recently turned 25. Like Carew, Arraez is now a second basemen while routinely getting reps at first base with Minnesota in a pinch. Longevity aside, Carew’s career .328/.393/.429 slash line is not far off for Arraez who sits at .322/.387/.409. This season has been especially fun for Arraez who has been virtually unstoppable against right-handed pitching. In an era where power reigns supreme, Arraez is slashing a ridiculous .401/.482/.497 against righties. He’s well below average contributing just a .220/.304/.220 slash line against southpaws, but Minnesota has done well to limit the exposure giving him just 46 plate appearances in those situations. With predominantly more right-handed arms as starting pitchers than left-handed, it stands to reason that Minnesota could continue to see additional output from Arraez as the season goes on. Thus far he’s topped out at a .367 average, that coming just a few games ago. In comparison to Carew, that would rank behind just his .388 season back in 1977. Batting average has long gone away as a stat indicative of true performance in and of itself. For a player like Arraez, or even Carew before him, the metric being so lopsided does explain itself, however. Additionally, Arraez contributes in the more definitive on-base area. With 25 walks to just 18 strikeouts, Minnesota’s utility man has captured the ability to not only hit his way on base, but force the opposition into his plan of attack at the plate. Leading baseball with a .444 OBP, Arraez is currently at a mark north of everything Carew hit save for that 1977 year. Considering the change in how baseball is played, it’s fair to argue that Arraez’s performance today may be more substantial than what Carew did all those years ago. All of this comes with the caveat that we still have a long ways to go, and that Arraez has previously missed time due to injury. Even at a young age, his knees are bulky and no yearly awards are won in June. Trying to extrapolate anything from a one-year sample is also not a fair situation to put Arraez in. Carew is a legendary name both in Minnesota and Major League Baseball, but it’s certainly hard not to see how closely they relate. It’s somewhat a breath of fresh air that we’re seeing a player go against the trends of the sport so heavily. The Twins have largely been shut out in terms of individual awards since the peak of Mauer, and turning the focus back to this organization for that reason is a fun one. Arraez has a long way to go for the rest of 2022, but it’s hard not to look down the path of this coming to fruition. What do you think? How closely do you see Arraez relating to Carew? Does the former win his first batting title this season?
  8. It’s time to start talking about it. We’re over 60 games into the 2022 Major League Baseball season and the Minnesota Twins currently have a contender for the batting title. Rod Carew and his seven batting titles with Minnesota will all be remembered fondly, but Luis Arraez could provide the organization’s first since Joe Mauer in 2009. There’s zero comparison between a Hall of Famer with over 3,000 hits to a lovable utility guy with 300 games under his belt. However, it’s undeniable to see the similarities in style between that of Rod Carew and Luis Arraez. Carew entered the league a year younger than Arraez and won his first batting title during just his third professional season. Minnesota’s current utility man is now in his fourth year and recently turned 25. Like Carew, Arraez is now a second basemen while routinely getting reps at first base with Minnesota in a pinch. Longevity aside, Carew’s career .328/.393/.429 slash line is not far off for Arraez who sits at .322/.387/.409. This season has been especially fun for Arraez who has been virtually unstoppable against right-handed pitching. In an era where power reigns supreme, Arraez is slashing a ridiculous .401/.482/.497 against righties. He’s well below average contributing just a .220/.304/.220 slash line against southpaws, but Minnesota has done well to limit the exposure giving him just 46 plate appearances in those situations. With predominantly more right-handed arms as starting pitchers than left-handed, it stands to reason that Minnesota could continue to see additional output from Arraez as the season goes on. Thus far he’s topped out at a .367 average, that coming just a few games ago. In comparison to Carew, that would rank behind just his .388 season back in 1977. Batting average has long gone away as a stat indicative of true performance in and of itself. For a player like Arraez, or even Carew before him, the metric being so lopsided does explain itself, however. Additionally, Arraez contributes in the more definitive on-base area. With 25 walks to just 18 strikeouts, Minnesota’s utility man has captured the ability to not only hit his way on base, but force the opposition into his plan of attack at the plate. Leading baseball with a .444 OBP, Arraez is currently at a mark north of everything Carew hit save for that 1977 year. Considering the change in how baseball is played, it’s fair to argue that Arraez’s performance today may be more substantial than what Carew did all those years ago. All of this comes with the caveat that we still have a long ways to go, and that Arraez has previously missed time due to injury. Even at a young age, his knees are bulky and no yearly awards are won in June. Trying to extrapolate anything from a one-year sample is also not a fair situation to put Arraez in. Carew is a legendary name both in Minnesota and Major League Baseball, but it’s certainly hard not to see how closely they relate. It’s somewhat a breath of fresh air that we’re seeing a player go against the trends of the sport so heavily. The Twins have largely been shut out in terms of individual awards since the peak of Mauer, and turning the focus back to this organization for that reason is a fun one. Arraez has a long way to go for the rest of 2022, but it’s hard not to look down the path of this coming to fruition. What do you think? How closely do you see Arraez relating to Carew? Does the former win his first batting title this season? View full article
  9. 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!
  10. Last week, MLB Network released their Top-100 Players Right Now, and the only Twins players to make it were Carlos Correa at number 14 and Byron Buxton at number 39. As we all know, a healthy Buxton is not the 39th best player in the league; he is more towards the top ten. This dynamic duo for the Twins is amongst the best in the league, but could it be the best duo the Twins have ever had? 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! View full article
  11. There is some debate over how far back to go into the franchise's history regarding Minnesota's Mount Rushmore. The Twins moved to Minnesota before the 1961 season, but the franchise came from Washington with an already established legacy. They recently discussed Minnesota's Mount Rushmore on MLB Network and included Walter Johnson, one of the best pitchers in baseball history. He never played a game in Minnesota, so it doesn't seem right to include him. Since 1961, there have been some clear favorites to include on the team's Mount Rushmore. Many of the great players in team history have their numbers retired, including Harmon Killebrew, Rod Carew, Tony Oliva, Bert Blyleven, Kirby Puckett, Kent Hrbek, and Joe Mauer. An argument can be made for a handful of players outside the team's inner circle, but those players are the most straightforward selections for being the organization's all-time great players. Founding Fathers Killebrew and Carew are two of the easiest choices on the team's Mount Rushmore. Killebrew is the George Washington-like figure in Twins history as he came with the organization from Washington and was the team's first star. According to Baseball-Reference, only one Twins player ranks higher than him when it comes to WAR in a Minnesota uniform. Killebrew became the first player to don a Twins hat in Cooperstown as he was a 13-time All-Star and an MVP. Killebrew was in his early-30s when Carew made his big-league debut, but there was an evident passing of the torch between these two players. Carew quickly became the team's most consistent hitter and a perennial MVP candidate. He leads the franchise in WAR, which is crazy considering he added even more career WAR in his seven seasons with the Angels. Both Carew and Killebrew separated themselves enough to be locks for the team's Mount Rushmore. Just Missed Oliva and Blyleven played in the same era as the Founding Fathers mentioned above, but their greatness might not have been fully appreciated in their time. Both players had a long wait before being elected to Cooperstown, but each has provided a long-term connection to baseball in the Upper Midwest. Blyleven is in the conversation for best pitcher in team history with players like Brad Radke, Johan Santana, and Jim Kaat. Oliva might be the best pure hitter in team history, but injuries kept him from reaching his full potential. An argument can be made for both players to be on the team's Mount Rushmore, but for me, they fall just short. Hrbek is a Minnesota legend, and he ranks in the top-8 for franchise WAR. He provided some of the most important World Series moments in team history, including his tag on Ron Gant and his Game 6 grand slam in 1987. Like Oliva and Blyleven, he has become part of the baseball culture in Minnesota, but it isn't enough to include him on the team's Mount Rushmore. Final Spots No history of the Minnesota Twins is complete without Kirby Puckett. Even with an injury-shortened career, he ranks fourth in franchise WAR. He also provided some of the most dramatic moments in arguably the greatest World Series of all time. Some may move him off the franchise's Mount Rushmore due to his off-the-field issues, but many in Twins Territory still see him as a hero. Puckett gets one of the four spots for his Hall of Fame career on the field while still acknowledging that he was far from perfect off the field. For the final spot, Joe Mauer gets the nod over some of the other Twins legends. According to Baseball-Reference, he only ranks behind Carew and Killebrew in franchise WAR. Mauer is not yet eligible for the Hall of Fame, but his case is strong for induction when he appears on the ballot. He was one of the league's best hitters while playing a grueling defensive position. According to JAWS, Mauer ranks as the seventh-best catcher in baseball history, and his seven-year peak puts him in the top five. He's a franchise great that deserves Mount Rushmore recognition. Who would you put on Minnesota's Mount Rushmore? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email
  12. It can be one of the most debated topics for any franchise. Who are the best players in franchise history? Minnesota's Mount Rushmore isn't as easy to design as one might think. There is some debate over how far back to go into the franchise's history regarding Minnesota's Mount Rushmore. The Twins moved to Minnesota before the 1961 season, but the franchise came from Washington with an already established legacy. They recently discussed Minnesota's Mount Rushmore on MLB Network and included Walter Johnson, one of the best pitchers in baseball history. He never played a game in Minnesota, so it doesn't seem right to include him. Since 1961, there have been some clear favorites to include on the team's Mount Rushmore. Many of the great players in team history have their numbers retired, including Harmon Killebrew, Rod Carew, Tony Oliva, Bert Blyleven, Kirby Puckett, Kent Hrbek, and Joe Mauer. An argument can be made for a handful of players outside the team's inner circle, but those players are the most straightforward selections for being the organization's all-time great players. Founding Fathers Killebrew and Carew are two of the easiest choices on the team's Mount Rushmore. Killebrew is the George Washington-like figure in Twins history as he came with the organization from Washington and was the team's first star. According to Baseball-Reference, only one Twins player ranks higher than him when it comes to WAR in a Minnesota uniform. Killebrew became the first player to don a Twins hat in Cooperstown as he was a 13-time All-Star and an MVP. Killebrew was in his early-30s when Carew made his big-league debut, but there was an evident passing of the torch between these two players. Carew quickly became the team's most consistent hitter and a perennial MVP candidate. He leads the franchise in WAR, which is crazy considering he added even more career WAR in his seven seasons with the Angels. Both Carew and Killebrew separated themselves enough to be locks for the team's Mount Rushmore. Just Missed Oliva and Blyleven played in the same era as the Founding Fathers mentioned above, but their greatness might not have been fully appreciated in their time. Both players had a long wait before being elected to Cooperstown, but each has provided a long-term connection to baseball in the Upper Midwest. Blyleven is in the conversation for best pitcher in team history with players like Brad Radke, Johan Santana, and Jim Kaat. Oliva might be the best pure hitter in team history, but injuries kept him from reaching his full potential. An argument can be made for both players to be on the team's Mount Rushmore, but for me, they fall just short. Hrbek is a Minnesota legend, and he ranks in the top-8 for franchise WAR. He provided some of the most important World Series moments in team history, including his tag on Ron Gant and his Game 6 grand slam in 1987. Like Oliva and Blyleven, he has become part of the baseball culture in Minnesota, but it isn't enough to include him on the team's Mount Rushmore. Final Spots No history of the Minnesota Twins is complete without Kirby Puckett. Even with an injury-shortened career, he ranks fourth in franchise WAR. He also provided some of the most dramatic moments in arguably the greatest World Series of all time. Some may move him off the franchise's Mount Rushmore due to his off-the-field issues, but many in Twins Territory still see him as a hero. Puckett gets one of the four spots for his Hall of Fame career on the field while still acknowledging that he was far from perfect off the field. For the final spot, Joe Mauer gets the nod over some of the other Twins legends. According to Baseball-Reference, he only ranks behind Carew and Killebrew in franchise WAR. Mauer is not yet eligible for the Hall of Fame, but his case is strong for induction when he appears on the ballot. He was one of the league's best hitters while playing a grueling defensive position. According to JAWS, Mauer ranks as the seventh-best catcher in baseball history, and his seven-year peak puts him in the top five. He's a franchise great that deserves Mount Rushmore recognition. Who would you put on Minnesota's Mount Rushmore? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email View full article
  13. Both are Minnesota Twins legends. Both are Hall of Famers. But who was better: Rod Carew or Kirby Puckett? If you look at any ranking of the best Minnesota Twins players of all time, you’re going to find Rod Carew and Kirby Puckett firmly locked into the top five of that list. Both Carew and Puckett were legends whose names will be remembered forever. Today, we will dive into their careers and determine, once and for all, who had the better career. The Case for Rod The case for Rod Carew having a better overall career than Kirby Puckett starts with his numbers at the plate. Over the course of his career, Carew posted a higher batting average (.328 vs .318) and on-base percentage (.393 vs. .360) than Puckett. Carew’s career batting average ranks 30th all-time, and his seven career batting titles are tied for the fourth most in MLB history. Carew amassed over 3,000 hits in his MLB career, ranking 26th in MLB history. Even when accounting for era, Carew was still the better batter as evidenced by his career OPS+ of 131 compared to Puckett’s 124. On the bases, Carew also has the edge. Over his 19 year career, Carew amassed 353 stolen bases, nearly triple the number of career steals as Puckett. Another area where Carew bests Puckett is his longevity. While Puckett’s career was cut short (through no fault of his own), Carew was able to play at an extremely high level for 19 seasons in the Big Leagues. Additionally, Carew reached a higher individual peak than Puckett ever did, marked by the MVP award that he won in 1977 as a member of the Minnesota Twins. In this season, Carew led all of baseball with a .388 batting average, .449 on-base percentage, and 1.029 OPS. Carew led the majors that season in hits (239), runs (128), and triples (178). Carew was the standard of consistency during his Major League Baseball career. Carew was an all-star in 18 consecutive seasons, eclipsed a .300 batting average in 15 consecutive seasons, won four consecutive batting titles, and played in at least 140 games in eight consecutive seasons. Carew played for two different franchises, earning all-star appearances and MVP votes with each team. The Case for Kirby While Rod Carew bests Kirby Puckett at the plate, Kirby more than held his own on offense. Puckett led the Majors in batting average in 1989 and led baseball in hits on four different occasions and total bases on two occasions. Puckett didn’t break any home run records, but consistently put the ball in play and drove in runs, leading the Majors in RBI in his penultimate season in 1994. A huge mark in Kirby’s favor over Carew comes in the field where Puckett was a wizard with his glove at one of the most important defensive positions in baseball, centerfield. Over his 10-year career, Puckett earned the Gold Glove award for best center fielder in baseball six times, including four consecutive from 1986-1989. While Carew wasn’t a butcher in the field, he certainly wasn’t dominant and played a position in second base that just doesn’t bring the importance of center field. Where Kirby absolutely set himself apart from Rod Carew came in his performance in the absolute biggest of moments. Starting off with just clutch performance, Kirby was about as clutch as they come. In high leverage situations over the course of his career, Puckett posted a career OPS of .863 in 1,400 plate appearances compared to Carew’s .823 OPS in 2,095 plate appearances. Moving into the postseason numbers, the difference between the two becomes even more stark. Puckett played in four postseason series in his career, winning all four series en route to two World Series titles. In those four playoff series, Puckett amassed a .897 OPS, highlighted by a ridiculous .913 OPS across his world series appearances in 1987 and 1991. Compare that to Carew who was 0-4 in the four playoff series of his career where he hit just .220 with four extra-base hits. The moment that all Twins fans will remember from Kirby Puckett, and the absolute highlight of a Hall of Fame career was his performance in Game 6 of the 1991 World Series that single-handedly kept the Twins’ playoff hopes alive and sent them to Game 7 where they would eventually win their second title. In this game, Puckett hit a triple in the first inning, robbed Ron Gant of extra-bases in front of the Plexiglass wall in the third inning, and then won the game in the bottom of the 11th inning when he launched a game-winning, walk-off home run in front of the Twins’ faithful. The Verdict Kirby Puckett revitalized an entire generation of Minnesota Twins fans through his "clutchness" and late-game heroics. Puckett’s joy for the game was contagious and his leadership mindset and impact in the community made him a fan favorite for many. Rod Carew, however, had a better career than Kirby. As previously mentioned, Rod Carew beats out Kirby Puckett in just about every offensive category. Carew similarly has the edge over Puckett in terms of value-added. Over his 19-year career, Carew contributed 72.3 fWAR, 3.81 per season compared to Puckett providing 44.9 fWAR over his 12-year career, 3.74 per season. Carew accumulated more individual hardware with his all-star games, MVP awards, and batting titles. Whether fair or not, Puckett is hurt by his career being cut short. Only playing in 12 seasons, Puckett just didn’t have the runway to collect the number of accolades that Carew did. It’s entirely possible that if Puckett didn’t contract glaucoma, he would have gone on to have a 20-year career and rack up MVP awards and all-star game appearances, but with only 12 years, he just didn’t do enough to beat out Carew for the better career. Who do you think had the better overall career between Rod Carew and Kirby Puckett, leave a comment below and join the conversation! View full article
  14. If you look at any ranking of the best Minnesota Twins players of all time, you’re going to find Rod Carew and Kirby Puckett firmly locked into the top five of that list. Both Carew and Puckett were legends whose names will be remembered forever. Today, we will dive into their careers and determine, once and for all, who had the better career. The Case for Rod The case for Rod Carew having a better overall career than Kirby Puckett starts with his numbers at the plate. Over the course of his career, Carew posted a higher batting average (.328 vs .318) and on-base percentage (.393 vs. .360) than Puckett. Carew’s career batting average ranks 30th all-time, and his seven career batting titles are tied for the fourth most in MLB history. Carew amassed over 3,000 hits in his MLB career, ranking 26th in MLB history. Even when accounting for era, Carew was still the better batter as evidenced by his career OPS+ of 131 compared to Puckett’s 124. On the bases, Carew also has the edge. Over his 19 year career, Carew amassed 353 stolen bases, nearly triple the number of career steals as Puckett. Another area where Carew bests Puckett is his longevity. While Puckett’s career was cut short (through no fault of his own), Carew was able to play at an extremely high level for 19 seasons in the Big Leagues. Additionally, Carew reached a higher individual peak than Puckett ever did, marked by the MVP award that he won in 1977 as a member of the Minnesota Twins. In this season, Carew led all of baseball with a .388 batting average, .449 on-base percentage, and 1.029 OPS. Carew led the majors that season in hits (239), runs (128), and triples (178). Carew was the standard of consistency during his Major League Baseball career. Carew was an all-star in 18 consecutive seasons, eclipsed a .300 batting average in 15 consecutive seasons, won four consecutive batting titles, and played in at least 140 games in eight consecutive seasons. Carew played for two different franchises, earning all-star appearances and MVP votes with each team. The Case for Kirby While Rod Carew bests Kirby Puckett at the plate, Kirby more than held his own on offense. Puckett led the Majors in batting average in 1989 and led baseball in hits on four different occasions and total bases on two occasions. Puckett didn’t break any home run records, but consistently put the ball in play and drove in runs, leading the Majors in RBI in his penultimate season in 1994. A huge mark in Kirby’s favor over Carew comes in the field where Puckett was a wizard with his glove at one of the most important defensive positions in baseball, centerfield. Over his 10-year career, Puckett earned the Gold Glove award for best center fielder in baseball six times, including four consecutive from 1986-1989. While Carew wasn’t a butcher in the field, he certainly wasn’t dominant and played a position in second base that just doesn’t bring the importance of center field. Where Kirby absolutely set himself apart from Rod Carew came in his performance in the absolute biggest of moments. Starting off with just clutch performance, Kirby was about as clutch as they come. In high leverage situations over the course of his career, Puckett posted a career OPS of .863 in 1,400 plate appearances compared to Carew’s .823 OPS in 2,095 plate appearances. Moving into the postseason numbers, the difference between the two becomes even more stark. Puckett played in four postseason series in his career, winning all four series en route to two World Series titles. In those four playoff series, Puckett amassed a .897 OPS, highlighted by a ridiculous .913 OPS across his world series appearances in 1987 and 1991. Compare that to Carew who was 0-4 in the four playoff series of his career where he hit just .220 with four extra-base hits. The moment that all Twins fans will remember from Kirby Puckett, and the absolute highlight of a Hall of Fame career was his performance in Game 6 of the 1991 World Series that single-handedly kept the Twins’ playoff hopes alive and sent them to Game 7 where they would eventually win their second title. In this game, Puckett hit a triple in the first inning, robbed Ron Gant of extra-bases in front of the Plexiglass wall in the third inning, and then won the game in the bottom of the 11th inning when he launched a game-winning, walk-off home run in front of the Twins’ faithful. The Verdict Kirby Puckett revitalized an entire generation of Minnesota Twins fans through his "clutchness" and late-game heroics. Puckett’s joy for the game was contagious and his leadership mindset and impact in the community made him a fan favorite for many. Rod Carew, however, had a better career than Kirby. As previously mentioned, Rod Carew beats out Kirby Puckett in just about every offensive category. Carew similarly has the edge over Puckett in terms of value-added. Over his 19-year career, Carew contributed 72.3 fWAR, 3.81 per season compared to Puckett providing 44.9 fWAR over his 12-year career, 3.74 per season. Carew accumulated more individual hardware with his all-star games, MVP awards, and batting titles. Whether fair or not, Puckett is hurt by his career being cut short. Only playing in 12 seasons, Puckett just didn’t have the runway to collect the number of accolades that Carew did. It’s entirely possible that if Puckett didn’t contract glaucoma, he would have gone on to have a 20-year career and rack up MVP awards and all-star game appearances, but with only 12 years, he just didn’t do enough to beat out Carew for the better career. Who do you think had the better overall career between Rod Carew and Kirby Puckett, leave a comment below and join the conversation!
  15. Rough Upbringing In October 1945, Rodney Cline Carew was born on a bus in Panama. The doctor who delivered him on the bus was named Rodney Cline, so Carew’s parents decided to name their baby after him. Growing up, Carew’s father had an alcohol problem and was verbally and physically abusive towards Rod and his brother Dickie. Rod did not have a good relationship with his father and leaned on his mother for support and guidance. When he was 17, he immigrated to New York City with his brother and mother. He began playing in a sandlot league there and was seen by Twins scout Monroe Katz. He passed on a good word to the New York area scout for the Twins, Herb Stein, and the Twins signed Carew in 1964 after he finished high school. A Legend Begins In Rod’s first full year in the minors, he batted .303 and stole 52 bases while playing a stellar second base. The next year, he hit .294 with 48 stolen bases. It was clear Carew was ready for the big leagues at the young age of 20. Rod made his major league debut in 1967 and impressed from the first game, going 2-for-4. That season, he hit .292/.341/.409 (.750) and was named as the starting second baseman for the AL in the all-star game, the first all-star selection of eighteen in his career. He won the rookie of the year in the American League. From 1968 to 1972 Rod was an all-star every year and was a good player, leading the AL in batting average twice. But Rod Carew wasn’t really Rod Carew until 1973. Prime Years From 1973 to 1978 Rod Carew was one of the best players in baseball. He led the AL in batting average five times, was named an all-star all six years, led the league in hits three times, and finished top 11 in MVP voting all six years including first place in 1977. Below are some of his stats over this time span and the ranks: Stat Value Rank WAR 39.3 3rd wRC+ 152 3rd OBP 0.42 1st AVG 0.354 1st Runs 583 3rd SB 213 9th 3B 58 1st OPS 0.902 5th WPA 22.2 2nd In addition to being the best player in the American League, he was also named the winner of the Roberto Clemente Award in 1977, which is given to the player who best represents the game of Baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field. Carew was the best to do it on and off the field in 1977, and winning the Clemente Award means more than any award he could win playing baseball. MVP Year Carew’s 1977 season was the best individual season in Twins history. In 1977, Carew led MLB in batting average (.388), OBP (.449), OPS (1.019), wRC+ (175), and hits (239). He accumulated 8.6 WAR and held an average above .400 from June 26 to July 10. Carew’s .388 average is the third closest anyone has come to hitting .400 since Ted Williams did it in 1941. His 239 hits are the fifth most of any single-season in the Expansion Era (1961-present). Life After Twins In 1978, Carew got word that owner Calvin Griffith said that he moved the franchise from Washington to Minnesota because "Minnesota only had 15,000 blacks." As a black player, this made a huge impact on Carew. “I will not come back and play for a bigot", said Carew. “I’m not going to be another (racial slur) on his plantation.” Carew stuck true to his word, as he was traded to the Angels in February of 1979 for Dave Engle, Paul Hartzell, Brad Havens, and Ken Landreaux. Carew played for the Angels for seven years and was named an all-star six times. His production dipped a little bit relative to his Twins day, only being worth 2.5 WAR per year. He still hit .314 with the Angels but he won no batting titles. His wRC+ was 120, which is still 20 percent above league average but nowhere near his ridiculous 138 wRC+ he posted with the Twins. His OPS was .784 with the Angels compared to .841 with Minnesota. Carew finished his career in the elusive 3,000 hit club. When he reached 3,000, he was only the 16th player in history to do so. Carew was still a good player for the Angels but it was clear as he was getting older that his production was declining, and after the 1985 season he retired. Conclusion In 1991, Carew was named to the Hall of Fame, receiving 90.5% of the vote. Carew is one of the greatest hitters in Twins history, and here is where he finished in various categories in Twins history: Stat Value Rank WAR 56.9 2nd wRC+ 138 3rd OBP 0.393 1st AVG 0.334 1st SB 271 2nd 3B 90 1st OPS 0.841 6th Hits 2085 3rd Runs 950 4th Carew ranks in the top 5 of most hitting categories in Twins history, finishing first in average and on base percentage. Had he played a few more years with the Twins, he would’ve led in WAR, stolen bases, hits, and runs. Rod Carew is one of the top two players in Twins history, and he can easily be debated as the best. He was also a phenomenal person and a great representative of the Twins for the last 50+ years. What do you think about Carew being ranked second? Would you have ranked him higher? Lower? Who do you think will be #1? Let us know in the comments below! Stay tuned for the final day of Twinsmas! Thank you for reading, and Go Twins! Read Previous "12 Days of TwinsMas" articles here: #12 - Torii Hunter #11 - Chuck Knoblauch #10 - Jim Kaat #9 - Frank Viola #8 - Kent Hrbek #7 - Tony Oliva #6 - Johan Santana #5 - Bert Blyleven #4 - Joe Mauer #3 - Harmon Killebrew #2 - Rod Carew #1 - Coming Soon!
  16. There have been plenty of great players in the history of the Minnesota Twins. From Killebrew to Buxton and many in-between, it is tough to narrow it down to the top twelve players in the history of the Twins. The second best player in Twins history is one of the best pure hitters in baseball history and is one of the best Panamanian players in MLB history. Rough Upbringing In October 1945, Rodney Cline Carew was born on a bus in Panama. The doctor who delivered him on the bus was named Rodney Cline, so Carew’s parents decided to name their baby after him. Growing up, Carew’s father had an alcohol problem and was verbally and physically abusive towards Rod and his brother Dickie. Rod did not have a good relationship with his father and leaned on his mother for support and guidance. When he was 17, he immigrated to New York City with his brother and mother. He began playing in a sandlot league there and was seen by Twins scout Monroe Katz. He passed on a good word to the New York area scout for the Twins, Herb Stein, and the Twins signed Carew in 1964 after he finished high school. A Legend Begins In Rod’s first full year in the minors, he batted .303 and stole 52 bases while playing a stellar second base. The next year, he hit .294 with 48 stolen bases. It was clear Carew was ready for the big leagues at the young age of 20. Rod made his major league debut in 1967 and impressed from the first game, going 2-for-4. That season, he hit .292/.341/.409 (.750) and was named as the starting second baseman for the AL in the all-star game, the first all-star selection of eighteen in his career. He won the rookie of the year in the American League. From 1968 to 1972 Rod was an all-star every year and was a good player, leading the AL in batting average twice. But Rod Carew wasn’t really Rod Carew until 1973. Prime Years From 1973 to 1978 Rod Carew was one of the best players in baseball. He led the AL in batting average five times, was named an all-star all six years, led the league in hits three times, and finished top 11 in MVP voting all six years including first place in 1977. Below are some of his stats over this time span and the ranks: Stat Value Rank WAR 39.3 3rd wRC+ 152 3rd OBP 0.42 1st AVG 0.354 1st Runs 583 3rd SB 213 9th 3B 58 1st OPS 0.902 5th WPA 22.2 2nd In addition to being the best player in the American League, he was also named the winner of the Roberto Clemente Award in 1977, which is given to the player who best represents the game of Baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field. Carew was the best to do it on and off the field in 1977, and winning the Clemente Award means more than any award he could win playing baseball. MVP Year Carew’s 1977 season was the best individual season in Twins history. In 1977, Carew led MLB in batting average (.388), OBP (.449), OPS (1.019), wRC+ (175), and hits (239). He accumulated 8.6 WAR and held an average above .400 from June 26 to July 10. Carew’s .388 average is the third closest anyone has come to hitting .400 since Ted Williams did it in 1941. His 239 hits are the fifth most of any single-season in the Expansion Era (1961-present). Life After Twins In 1978, Carew got word that owner Calvin Griffith said that he moved the franchise from Washington to Minnesota because "Minnesota only had 15,000 blacks." As a black player, this made a huge impact on Carew. “I will not come back and play for a bigot", said Carew. “I’m not going to be another (racial slur) on his plantation.” Carew stuck true to his word, as he was traded to the Angels in February of 1979 for Dave Engle, Paul Hartzell, Brad Havens, and Ken Landreaux. Carew played for the Angels for seven years and was named an all-star six times. His production dipped a little bit relative to his Twins day, only being worth 2.5 WAR per year. He still hit .314 with the Angels but he won no batting titles. His wRC+ was 120, which is still 20 percent above league average but nowhere near his ridiculous 138 wRC+ he posted with the Twins. His OPS was .784 with the Angels compared to .841 with Minnesota. Carew finished his career in the elusive 3,000 hit club. When he reached 3,000, he was only the 16th player in history to do so. Carew was still a good player for the Angels but it was clear as he was getting older that his production was declining, and after the 1985 season he retired. Conclusion In 1991, Carew was named to the Hall of Fame, receiving 90.5% of the vote. Carew is one of the greatest hitters in Twins history, and here is where he finished in various categories in Twins history: Stat Value Rank WAR 56.9 2nd wRC+ 138 3rd OBP 0.393 1st AVG 0.334 1st SB 271 2nd 3B 90 1st OPS 0.841 6th Hits 2085 3rd Runs 950 4th Carew ranks in the top 5 of most hitting categories in Twins history, finishing first in average and on base percentage. Had he played a few more years with the Twins, he would’ve led in WAR, stolen bases, hits, and runs. Rod Carew is one of the top two players in Twins history, and he can easily be debated as the best. He was also a phenomenal person and a great representative of the Twins for the last 50+ years. What do you think about Carew being ranked second? Would you have ranked him higher? Lower? Who do you think will be #1? Let us know in the comments below! Stay tuned for the final day of Twinsmas! Thank you for reading, and Go Twins! Read Previous "12 Days of TwinsMas" articles here: #12 - Torii Hunter #11 - Chuck Knoblauch #10 - Jim Kaat #9 - Frank Viola #8 - Kent Hrbek #7 - Tony Oliva #6 - Johan Santana #5 - Bert Blyleven #4 - Joe Mauer #3 - Harmon Killebrew #2 - Rod Carew #1 - Coming Soon! View full article
  17. On Wednesday afternoon, I did my regular weekly Twins Talk segment with Dave Overlund on WJON radio in St. Cloud. Instead of talking more about a struggling Twins team, we had a really fun time doing a Twins Fantasy Draft. I'd love to hear your thoughts on our teams. Who would win? Click the link in the tweet below and you can listen to the segment. For this draft, we selected the following: SP, SP, SP, RP, RP, C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, OF, OF, OF, DH It's always so much fun looking back at the history of the Twins. 60+ seasons. So many great players. Hall of Famers. Twins Hall of Famers. All Stars. Find out who we selected for our teams and let us know what you think. I think I'll go with this lineup: Rod Carew 2B Joe Mauer C Kirby Puckett CF Tony Oliva RF Kent Hrbek 1B Bob Allison LF Justin Morneau DH Corey Koskie 3B Roy Smalley SS Jim Kaat SP
  18. Fresh off his legendary .388 batting average season in 1977, the Minnesota Twins (unsurprisingly) focused on Rod Carew for their 1978 promotional materials, where they asked the ring-less Carew what he most wanted and he definitively answered... a gold glove. Presented in partnership with TC Media Now. View full video
  19. Fresh off his legendary .388 batting average season in 1977, the Minnesota Twins (unsurprisingly) focused on Rod Carew for their 1978 promotional materials, where they asked the ring-less Carew what he most wanted and he definitively answered... a gold glove. Presented in partnership with TC Media Now.
  20. From that very first moment when Luis Arraez stepped in against Edwin Diaz and owned the batter’s box, something seemed different. Now more than 200 games into his big-league career, the narrative hasn’t changed. Never a top prospect or one worthy of national attention, Arraez has long gone about his business quietly. He put up a .331 average across more than 300 minor league games, and the Venezuelan has continued to replicate that success at the Major League level. He’s a second baseman by trade, but not in the same vein that Minnesota has seen in recent seasons. He’s not a great defender, but it matters a whole lot less when the stick keeps him producing. Ever since Jorge Polanco moved off of shortstop for the Twins and Josh Donaldson took over at the hot corner, Rocco Baldelli has needed to get creative in deploying his best batting average hitter. Arraez has adapted to playing a utility role, which has included time in the outfield and given some additional rest for a balky knee issue. Playing multiple positions has allowed for offensive flexibility, and really, that’s why he’s here in the first place. To date Luis Arraez owns a .326/.388/.421 career slash line. The power production will likely never trend towards a .500 slugging mark, but it’s that average that has Twins fans dreaming of two All-Time greats. Rod Carew is a legend among these parts, and the late Tony Gwynn was one of the best pure hitters ever to play the game. Between the two of them, both Hall of Famers, there’s a total of 15 batting titles. Minnesota hasn’t had a player accomplish that feat since future Hall of Famer Joe Mauer did so in 2009. Dreaming on Arraez with a career trajectory like that of Carew or Gwynn is probably far-fetched, but expecting similar offensive accomplishments is far from hyperbole. Right now, Arraez is just 24-years-old. Carew debuted at 21, while Gwynn showed up at 22. In his first three big-league seasons, the former owned a .299 average, while the latter put up a .329 mark. Both captured their first batting crown in year three. Right now, Arraez doesn’t have the plate appearances to qualify for the award, but he trails only the Astros Michael Brantley (.325) in the American League. Neither Carew nor Gwynn would win their second award for another three seasons but then did pull off a run of multiple years in a row. Hoping that Arraez takes crowns year over year before grabbing his first is putting the cart before the horse, but it’s clear the recipe is there. Carew had virtually the same strikeout to walk tallies, while Gwynn loaded up on free passes and went back to the dugout just over half as often. Minnesota’s two-bagger owns the same on-base percentage as the Padres legend, and the parallels run deep between this threesome. If we can separate career expectations from production viewed at the moment in time, it’s fun to see just how closely this trio is related. There’s a lot of career left for Luis Arraez, and as long as the knee issues subside or stay at bay, there’s plenty of reason to believe that one thing he’ll always do is hit for average. Maybe Minnesota wasn’t banking on him working out like this, but he’s made his mark and established it as truth. This is the type of guy you describe as rolling out of bed and being ready to hit. He’ll continue to put up the numbers in a Twins uniform, and one can only hope that there’s a shoulder full of batting titles at rest when it’s all said and done. Make no mistake about it, comparing Arraez to the best average hitters of All-Time is fairer than you may think. He’s got the goods, and they keep on coming. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  21. Never a top prospect or one worthy of national attention, Arraez has long gone about his business quietly. He put up a .331 average across more than 300 minor league games, and the Venezuelan has continued to replicate that success at the Major League level. He’s a second baseman by trade, but not in the same vein that Minnesota has seen in recent seasons. He’s not a great defender, but it matters a whole lot less when the stick keeps him producing. Ever since Jorge Polanco moved off of shortstop for the Twins and Josh Donaldson took over at the hot corner, Rocco Baldelli has needed to get creative in deploying his best batting average hitter. Arraez has adapted to playing a utility role, which has included time in the outfield and given some additional rest for a balky knee issue. Playing multiple positions has allowed for offensive flexibility, and really, that’s why he’s here in the first place. To date Luis Arraez owns a .326/.388/.421 career slash line. The power production will likely never trend towards a .500 slugging mark, but it’s that average that has Twins fans dreaming of two All-Time greats. Rod Carew is a legend among these parts, and the late Tony Gwynn was one of the best pure hitters ever to play the game. Between the two of them, both Hall of Famers, there’s a total of 15 batting titles. Minnesota hasn’t had a player accomplish that feat since future Hall of Famer Joe Mauer did so in 2009. Dreaming on Arraez with a career trajectory like that of Carew or Gwynn is probably far-fetched, but expecting similar offensive accomplishments is far from hyperbole. Right now, Arraez is just 24-years-old. Carew debuted at 21, while Gwynn showed up at 22. In his first three big-league seasons, the former owned a .299 average, while the latter put up a .329 mark. Both captured their first batting crown in year three. Right now, Arraez doesn’t have the plate appearances to qualify for the award, but he trails only the Astros Michael Brantley (.325) in the American League. Neither Carew nor Gwynn would win their second award for another three seasons but then did pull off a run of multiple years in a row. Hoping that Arraez takes crowns year over year before grabbing his first is putting the cart before the horse, but it’s clear the recipe is there. Carew had virtually the same strikeout to walk tallies, while Gwynn loaded up on free passes and went back to the dugout just over half as often. Minnesota’s two-bagger owns the same on-base percentage as the Padres legend, and the parallels run deep between this threesome. If we can separate career expectations from production viewed at the moment in time, it’s fun to see just how closely this trio is related. There’s a lot of career left for Luis Arraez, and as long as the knee issues subside or stay at bay, there’s plenty of reason to believe that one thing he’ll always do is hit for average. Maybe Minnesota wasn’t banking on him working out like this, but he’s made his mark and established it as truth. This is the type of guy you describe as rolling out of bed and being ready to hit. He’ll continue to put up the numbers in a Twins uniform, and one can only hope that there’s a shoulder full of batting titles at rest when it’s all said and done. Make no mistake about it, comparing Arraez to the best average hitters of All-Time is fairer than you may think. He’s got the goods, and they keep on coming. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  22. Author Thom Henninger, editor of Baseball Digest magazine, has penned previous books about the Twins in this era. Back in 2015, he wrote the book Tony Oliva: The Life and Times of a Minnesota Twins Legend. Now, Henninger has gone back to the 1960s to look even closer at those turbulent times and Minnesota’s first truly great baseball seasons in The Pride of Minnesota: The Twins in the Turbulent 1960’s. Many current fans will recognize a familiar theme facing the Twins in the mid-1960s, “How do you dethrone the mighty Yankees?” New York was the dominant team of the era with names like Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris. In fact, the Yankees had won the American League 18 times in the 24 seasons from 1941-1964. However, change was in the air as age started impact New York and Minnesota was ready to pounce. Minnesota already had a strong core of players, but many players were able to have career years as the Twins fought their way to the 1965 World Series. Mudcat Grant became the first African American pitcher to win at least twenty games in the American League. Tony Oliva built off his tremendous rookie season and won his second straight AL batting title, even though it looked like a long shot. Those weren’t the only key figures during this era. Entering the 1965 season, Billy Martin was hired as third base coach, and this turned out to be a move that would impact the team for the rest of the decade. Zoilo Versalles won MVP in 1965 and Martin’s aggressive baserunning mentality helped Versalles to lead the AL in runs scored and total bases. Sandy Koufax and the Dodgers took the Series in seven games, but the Twins weren’t done making noise in the AL. Rod Carew joined the team in 1967 and lit the American League on fire. He’d win the AL Rookie of the Year award and he helped the Twins fight the Red Sox for the pennant, but Minnesota ultimately fell short. Minnesota was back in 1969 and 1970 as the club won back-to-back division titles before being eliminated both years by the powerful Baltimore Orioles. As the decade came to a close, the Twins had put themselves on the map as a powerhouse team in the American League. Henninger takes fans through all the ups and downs from each of these dramatic pennant races while also chronicling state and world events. In The Pride of Minnesota, Thom Henninger brings fans back to a by-gone era that has many connections to present day. For fans, like me, that are too young to remember, this book paints a picture of what this important era meant to the Twins and to the country as a whole. Others who lived through the era will enjoy reminiscing about the pennant races and players that helped them to fall in love with baseball. Minnesota only won one pennant during this stretch, but these memorable seasons are etched into team lore. What are your memories of the Twins from that era? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  23. As a quick preface, each of these cards won’t make fans rich and they can all be attained fairly easily on the secondary market. This makes it even more fun for those getting into the hobby for the first time. 1985 Topps Kirby Puckett Rookie Card MLB.com named the Puckett rookie as the most iconic card in team history for a variety of reasons. First, he is quite possibly the most popular player in franchise history. It also helps that his playing career corresponds with a trading card boom unlike any other. Puckett was the face of the franchise as the team ran to two World Series titles. Kids across the upper Midwest idolized the team’s star player and his rookie card made fans feel like they were even more invested in his career. Recently, this card has sold for under $5 if fans are fine with it having some imperfections. 1993 Topps Kirby Puckett Big Bat Card I loved this card as a kid growing up in the late 80’s and early 90s. Puckett’s personality was larger than life and that is depicted on this card with the giant bat. The same photo graced the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine in April 1992. The Twins were coming off a dramatic World Series win, and Puckett was the face of the franchise. This card can be acquired for $2 or less, because of how many were produced at the time. 2002 Topps Joe Mauer Draft Picks Card He was the first overall pick, and he was drafted by his hometown team, so the story doesn’t get much better than that. Now, he seems destined for Cooperstown to join other St. Paul legends like Paul Molitor, Dave Winfield, and Jack Morris. Over the last couple years, the card collecting hobby has really picked up and so has the value of Mauer’s first Topps card. For those interested, the time might be right to invest now before Cooperstown comes calling. https://twitter.com/NoDakTwinsFan/status/1380163376056258561?s=20 1968 Topps Rod Carew All-Star Rookie Card Carew’s actually rookie card was in the Topps 1967 series, but he was featured along with fellow rookie, Hank Allen of the Washington Senators. His 1968 card is his first card where he is featured solo, and it is just a beautiful looking piece of cardboard. The All-Star Rookie trophy on the front helps to accentuate the look of the entire card. Depending on the condition, fans can pick one up for under $20. 1986 Fleer Mickey Hatcher Big Glove Card Hatcher isn’t exactly a Twins’ legend, but this card certainly is one that fans remember across the collecting world. In the card, Hatcher was caught wearing a very oversized glove that looks like it was used either by a team’s mascot or for some type of fan contest between innings. Either way, collectors can get this card for a couple dollars. What’s your favorite card in Twins’ history? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  24. Seventy five for a seventy five year old Okay, it is my birthday and I love life and all my ex-students, friends, participants in the guided tours, neighbors and family. So I am reflective and that means I have to think of 75 memories – there are many more. But here are 75 Twin memories. 1. Ushering during season one 2. Mudcat Grant – you want colorful – this is it. 3. Vic Power taking over first base in a way I have never seen anywhere else. 4. Jim Kaat just delivering and delivering and delivering. 5. Harmon Killebrew with a swing that seemed to cut the night air into pieces. 6. Rod Carew just toying with the fielders. 7. Sandy Koufax showing us what HOF means – despite out loss it was great. 8. Tony Oliva doing everything and then those knees just radiated pain. 9. Joe Mauer being so Minnesota that everyone in MN complained he was too plain. 10. Tovar playing everywhere and playing so good. 11. Everyday Eddie coming in day after day and giving us ulcers everytime. 12. Calvin Griffith reminding us that owning a team did not make a man into a good man. 13. Sid Hartman telling us everything MN was great even when it wasn’t. 14. Metropolitan Stadium, a dream for all of us with erector sets. 15. The dome collapsing like a big pimple. 16. 1987 Twins being champions when they looked like a below average team 17. 1965 Twins being the best team in our history, but losing to a historic event 18. Hrbek doing his wrestling move on first base – I am still laughing 19. Sitting in the upper upper deck of the metrodome at game 7 1991 20. Jack Morris refusing to quit – HOF for no other reason 21. Kirby Puckett showing that determination can change an outcome 22. Dan Gladden a non-star who gave us grit 23. Herb Carneal giving us a transistor seat at all the games 24. Halsey Hall so outrageous that we loved him even if we did not know what he was talking about 25. Cool nights with a breeze from right field in the sixties 26. Lousy hot dogs that still were satisfying in the early decades 27. Bob Allison looking so fit and intimidating 28. Nelson Cruz reminding us old guys that old does not mean feeble 29. Kirby Puckett taking over game six 30. Hrbek’s WS grand slam 31. Knoblauch at second base 32. Knoblauch returning to a shower of boos and hotdogs 33. Jim Perry 1970 Cy Young 34. Tom Kelly blowing it with Ortiz 35. Zoilo Versalles 1965 MVP 36. Byron Buxton in Centerfield 37. Torii Hunter robs Barry Bonds in All Star game 38. Frank Viola Cy Young 1988 39. Harmon Killebrew MVP 1969 40. Billy Martin and the marshmallow salesman 41. Johann Santana Cy Young award 2004 42. John Castino – rookie of the year 1979 43. Seeing Carew leave 44. Johann Santana Cy Young 2006 45. Paul Molitor at DH 1996 46. Dean Chance No-hitter 47. Joe Mauer 2009 – major league player of the year 48. Camilo Pascual’s curveball 49. The collapse of the Metrodome 50. Marty Cordova Rookie of the year 1995 (or last rookie of the year) 51. Justin Morneau MVP 2006 52. Mitch Garver in 2019 53. The Turtle running the bases 54. Bob Allison’s sliding catch 55. Randy Bush pinch hitter with 13 hits in one year 56. Gene Larkin’s walk off pinch hit 57. Puckett to the HOF 58. Harmon Killebrew’s 520-foot Home Run June 1967 59. The last playoff game won by the Twins 2004 60. 18 game post season losing streak 2020 61. 1984 Dave Kingman hits a 208 foot double – straight up and into the metrodome roof 62. Tony Oliva wins batting title in 1964 and 1965 63. 1971 Rod Carew Rookie of the Year 64. Lyman Bostock and Larry Hisle came together for one great year 65. 1977 Rod Carew batted 388 66. 1969 Harmon Killebrew hit 49 HRs 67. Billy Martin gets in fight with his own 20 game winner – Dave Boswell 68. 2016 Twins lose record 103 games 69. 1987 home team wins all the games in WS and we have four home games 70. Watching the famous Hrbek game in Sierra Vista AZ bar as the only Twins fan in the place 71. Killebrew in the HOF 72. Rod Carew in the HOF 73. 2002 Pohlads agree to contraction – we almost lost the team 74. 2006, the year of the Piranhas 75. Bert Blyleven in the HOF
  25. How would you rank… these four Twins players? (1.) Dean Chance, 2.) Nelson Cruz, 3.) Greg Gagne, 4.) Eddie Guardado) We all like lists and rankings, right? On this site, our prospect rankings often are the most heavily-discussed articles that we put together. Everyone can have their varying opinions and none are completely wrong, well, some are just more debatable. But this new e-book, The Top 60 Twins in 60 Seasons in Minnesota, should hopefully create a lot of discussion for our readers, but also for fathers and sons, husbands and wives, grandparents and grandkids. And for just $7.99. Before last month, I had never talked to “Nate Tubbs Rules.” However, for the past decade, I have eagerly awaited his updated Top 300 Twins Player rankings. Shortly after each season, it was fun to see which current players jumped furthest up the rankings. Which players fell out of the Top 300. For his rankings, “NTR” considers several factors, and they are things that we all think about probably as we think about how we might rank the players. (No, most of us wouldn’t think to actually rank them to 60, much less 300!) As he explains, these are some of the factors that go into these rankings (and by the way, you should see all the Excel spreadsheets that go into this!). “Longevity” includes how many years the player was with the Twins as well as how many plate appearances or innings pitched that player had during those years. For “Peak Value”, I looked at their stats, honors, and awards in their best seasons, as well as how they compared to their teammates. Did they lead their team in OPS or home runs or ERA for starters or WPA? If so, that got some bonus points. Postseason Heroics, Awards (Gold Gloves, Silver Sluggers, MVPs, Cy Youngs), Statistical achievements (batting titles, home run leaders, ERA champs, etc), Honors (All Star appearances), and Team Success. If you were the #1 starter on a division-winning champ, that gave you more “points” than the #1 starter on a cellar dweller. For each of us, we probably weigh each of those factors a little bit differently. In the handbook, you will find profiles for each of the Top 60 on his list, but you will also find the Top 300 rankings. At the very back of the book, I tried it myself. You can find my Top 60 Twins rankings there. So, let’s go back to that original question: How would you rank… these four Twins players? (1.) Dean Chance, 2.) Nelson Cruz, 3.) Greg Gagne, 4.) Eddie Guardado) Dean Chance was really good for about three seasons as a starter for the Twins. He was an All Star, threw a no-hitter, posted a 2.67 ERA over three years. Nelson Cruz has two Silver Sluggers at DH for the Twins in his two seasons, and the team won the division both years. Greg Gagne is a Twins Hall of Famer with two World Series rings. His offense wasn’t great, though most shortstops not named Ripken or Trammell did, but he was great defensively. And, he hit for some power at times. Eddie Guardado struggled as a starter and then became a solid, and frequently-used reliever before becoming an All Star closer. Leave your comments below for how you might rank those players, but as you can see, this is a fun exercise for Twins fans. And, it brings in all of the factors. Varying longevity in a Twins uniform. Varying levels of team success. Some won awards or were All Stars. Others were just really solid for several years. How do you compare starting pitchers to relievers, to power hitters and defensively-strong players? Those are the types of questions you will find yourself asking yourself and your friends over and over while reading through this book. For each of the Top 60, you will find a profile. I wrote the profiles, but “Nate Tubbs Rules” added his comments on why he ranked each player where he did. There are lists. There are rankings. And it’s just a lot of fun. We think that if you are a passionate Twins fan, you will really enjoy this book. We made it and it is only available as an e-book. We are asking for $7.99 per book. We were told we could charge more, and if you want to give more, you can, but we just want it to get in the hands of as many Twins fans as possible. The history of the organization is a lot of fun to read about and discuss. Oh, and then you can discuss who you would rank higher… Mudcat Grant or Jack Morris? Or which DH would you rank highest? Randy Bush, Nelson Cruz, Chili Davis, Jason Kubel or Paul Molitor? And why… We certainly hope that you will enjoy the book as much as Nate Tubbs Rules and I enjoyed researching and writing it! Tuesday night at 7 pm, "Nate Tubbs Rules" and I will be discussing the book and talking about the controversial rankings and answering any questions you would like to ask.
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