I recently received an email from Seth Stohs of SethSpeaks.net asking Twins bloggers/writers to vote on the Twins postseason awards in 3 different categories. The categories are the Twins' MVP, the Twins' Pitcher of the Year, and the Twins' Rookie of the Year. This has been a topic of hot debate within the Twins' blogosphere and local Minneapolis media. There are many choices for each of these awards and a lot of different ways to approach what a person thinks qualifies for each award. During this week I will post my picks in each of the above listed categories and don't forget to check out SethSpeaks.net to see the final results.
(Click on the links in each player's write-up to see other stories that I have written this year about each player.)
The Minnesota Twins 2010 MVP (Countdown from #8-#1)
8. Brian Duensing: The Twins were searching the trading blocks at the end of July for a pitcher to solidify their rotation. The trade never happened and they looked to their bullpen. Brian Duensing was their solution and he filled a role in the rotation for the 2nd year in a row.He has been a savior for his team. When the team need a left-handed pitcher out of the bullpen, he filled the role. When the team needed a pitcher in the rotation, he filled the role. The only thing lacking is that he was only a member of the rotation for a part of the season.
Duensing's Signature Game
August 14: Athletics 0 @ Twins 2: 9 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 4 K
7. Fransisco Liriano: It is hard to believe that he was an option for the closer role during Spring Training. In 2010 Liriano has reemerged from his Tommy John surgery as a top tier pitcher for the Twins. He leads the team in ERA and strikeouts. He has 195 strikeouts which places him close to the top in the American League. Once again as a starting pitcher he only pitches once every five days which takes away from his MVP resume. He is still the hope of "The Franchise"
Liriano's Signature Game
April 27: Twins 2 @ Tigers 0: 8 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, 10 K
Liriano outduels Verlander in a classic early season game to raise his record to (3-0)
6. Danny Valencia: Valenica has emerged as the Twins' 3rd baseman of today and for the foreseeable future. He hits for average and power as well as playing a solid corner infield position. He has taken over a position that has been lacking since Corey Koskie left at the end of the 2004 season. The only thing lacking from Valencia's MVP resume is the fact that he only played a portion of the season.
Valencia's Signature Games
September 1: Tigers 1 @ Twins 2: 2-4, Game Winning RBI
September 18: Athletics 2 @ Twins 4: 2-4, HR, 3 RBI
5. Carl Pavano: There are some local Minneapolis media and bloggers that think that Pavano should be the teams MVP. He has been a work horse for the Twins from the Opening Game at Target Field. I can't see giving the team MVP to a person that only plays once every five days. He leads the team in wins with 17. Every time that the Twins have needed someone to have a big game he has been there to eat innings. Overall, he has been the veteran presence in the starting rotation that the Twins needed.
Pavano's Signature Game
July 17: White Sox 2 @ Twins 3: CG, 2 ER, 6 K
Pavano and Buehrle locked in a pitcher's duel that only lasted 112 minutes as a storm moved in to Target Field.
4. Michael Cuddyer: What position can't he play? During this season he has played RF, CF, 2B, 3B, and 1B. Many in the Twins organization consider Cuddy the team MVP. He has been a very critical part to a very good team but he isn't the MVP. He is a very solid player but his numbers don't add up to make him the MVP.
Cuddyer's Signature Game
August 10: Twins 12 @ White Sox 6: 2-5, HR, 4 RBI
3. Jim Thome: When Justin Morneau slide into 2nd base to break up the double play, no one thought that it would be as bad as it has turned out. This injury has allowed for Thome to reemerge as power-hitting threat in the middle of a championship caliber line-up. Without Thome there would be a huge hole in the middle of the Twins' line-up. He will end the season leading the team in homeruns. For the extra low price of $1.5 million the Twins have enjoyed the history making season that Thome has had. Thome has charged his way up the all-time HR list and he even made it to the cover of Sports Illustrated for the first time.
Thome's Signature Games 2010
August 17: White Sox 5 @ Twins 6 in 10: 3-5, Game Winning HR, 3 RBI
The first walk-off home run at Target Field capping a wild game against the hated White Sox.
September 6: Royals 4 @ Twins 5: 2-3, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI
The flag pole shot heard round the world. The 2nd coolest moment, besides Opening Day, that I witnessed at Target Field this season.
2. Delmon Young: The one player on the Twins that is having a break-out season. It has beena dramatic turn around from the player that the Twins saw the last couple seasons. In the middle of the 2010 season, Young carried the entire offensive load for the Twins. MLB awarded him co-player of the month for July. At the end of the season Young will lead the team in RBI and total bases. He also will finish 2nd in batting average out of those that qualify for having enough ABs. He was dominating at times but the consistency wasn't there down the stretch to make him the MVP over Mauer.
Young's 2010 Signature Games
September 7: Twins 10 @ Royals 3: 3-4, 4 RBI, 2 DBL
September 16: Twins 8 @ White Sox 5: 3-5, 2 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI
1. Joe Mauer: Has it been a down year offensively for Mauer? Yes. Is he still the best player on a team that is headed to the playoffs for the the 2nd straight year? Yes. He has carried the team offensively at different points in the season. He is batting .383 in the second half of the season. If Mauer hadn't found this 2nd half offensive surge the Twins would be sitting on the outside of the playoff picture. He leads the team in batting average, hits, and OBP. He got his 1,000 hit this season and is marching toward 3,000. Mauer is simply the best.
Mauer's 2010 Signature Games
September 15: Twins 9 @ White Sox 3: 3-4, HR, 3 RBI, 2 R.
This game might have been the nail in the coffin for the White Sox in their attempt to overtake the Twins in the AL Central.
July 26: Twins 19 @ Royals 1: 5-5, HR, 7 RBI, 3 R
Those are my picks but there can still be much debate.
Leave a comment. What do you agree with or disagree with?
Stay tuned the rest of the week for my picks for the Twins' Pitchers of the Year and the Twins' Rookies of the Year.