Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Handing out Twins midseason awards

Cuddyer and his son Casey during the HR Derby
At the onset of the season, I made predictions about the players on the Twins that would stand-out above the rest. Those predictions from Spring Training did not go exactly as planned but the Twins season has not gone exactly as planned in 2011. The season is only half over and a lot can change in the second half. The Twins are hoping for another second half comeback and each of the players listed below will need to play a roll in that comeback.

Each of the awards selected below has been named after someone that optimizes that award for the Twins organization. There are some stars from the past and even one current MLB player but all have had a significant place in Twins lore.

Harmon Killebrew Most Valuable Player: Michael Cuddyer, RF/1B/2B
The first half of the season was marked by the tragic passing of Twins legend, Harmon Killebrew. In this season, it is fitting that Michael Cuddyer is representing the Twins at the All-Star Game. Cuddyer is the longest tenured Twins player and he had the closest relationship with Killebrew. Cuddyer has moved all over the field again this season to help the Twins in any defensive position. As the Twins have improved in the months of June and July, Cuddyer's bat has heated up along with the team. He is currently leading the team in BA, HR, OBP, H, TB, BB, SLG, and OPS. The Twins have struggled on offense for different parts of the season but Cuddyer has become a consistent force in the middle of the line-up for a resurgent team.

Johan Santana Pitcher of the Year: Scott Baker, RHP
Baker has quietly been having a very excellent first half of the season for the Minnesota Twins. On a team that struggled for consistency from their starting pitching, Baker has been a pitcher the Twins could rely on for a solid outing. The month of June was an excellent one for Baker as he was able to compile four wins out of his six starts in the month. Baker managed to have an ERA of 2.45 with 40 K and an opponent BA of .236 during June. At the All-Star break, Baker leads the starters on the Twins in W, ERA, and K. The Twins hope his elbow issues to end the first half will not carry over to the second half because the team will need more of the consistency that Baker has offered.

Rick Aguilera Relief Pitcher of the Year: Glen Perkins, LHP
The Twins bullpen has struggled throughout the first half of the season. One player has been able to shine in the midst of the darkness from the bullpen. Glen Perkins has been a shining star and the most reliable option for the Twins in the late innings of games. This is the first season that Perkins has been able to latch on to his role in the bullpen and he has come gunning out of the chute. His velocity and movement have increased on his pitches and he has looked nasty at times. He leads the team in holds this season and he has even been able to pick up the first two saves of his career. Twins fans can bet that they will see plenty more from Perkins in the second half.

Rod Carew Rookie of the Year: Ben Revere, CF
One of the key players in the Twins resurgence during the first half was Ben Revere. In the absence of Denard Span, Revere has been a serviceable lead-off hitter with the ability to play tremendous defense. Since Revere was called up the second time this season, the Twins are 24-11 in games he has started. His speed on the base paths has been a threat the Twins have utilized in their run game. When Revere is able to get on base, the pitcher is forced to give more fastballs to Alexi Casilla. The results have been very positive for both of these players. Revere is still a rookie so there are things that he can continue to work on in the second half of the season. The Twins could have a very full outfield in the second half but Gardenhire will find ways to plug Revere into the line-up.


JimCrikket said...

I hope you're right about Gardy finding a place for Revere even when everyone is healthy. There's going to be a strong lure to get the bats of Kubel, Young, Span and Thome back in the line up regularly and, of course, you can't sit Cuddyer at this point. When Morneau comes back, the line up gets even more crowded. Revere is not a great offensive ballplayer, though he's certainly improving. But I don't think it's coincidence that the ERAs started dropping when the OF started having guys, like Revere, with wheels patrolling the gaps.

Bill said...

Dead on with your list, and even more with the names of the awards. Thanks!