Thursday, March 28, 2013

2013 Minnesota Twins Awards Preview

The Twins might be destined to finish at the bottom of the AL Central but there can still be some standout stars on a mediocre club. Every year it is fun to put on a prediction hat to try and figure out who will have the best season. This can be tough to do with injuries and other uncertainties.

It has been prediction week here at NoDak Twins Fan. This means a look at the National League, the American League, and a close up view of the AL Central. Most of these predictions are likely to go wrong but that's what makes this whole exercise a whole lot of fun.

Check out the schedule of post for the week and make sure to stop back every day so you are prepared for the upcoming season.

2013 Preview Week
Thursday: Minnesota Twins Awards Preview
Friday: Friday Links-N-Thinks

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

Harmon Killebrew MVP: Joe Mauer, C
Previous Winners: Josh Willingham (2012), Michael Cuddyer (2011), Joe Mauer (2010)
Justin Morneau might not be with the team for the entire season and it's hard to know if Josh Willingham will be able to duplicate his numbers from 2012. This leaves one man at the top of the preseason pile for Twins MVP. Before the last three seasons, Mauer has been my pick for the MVP of the team. There might be injuries and there probably won't be a ton of home runs. Fans can count on him having a high batting average and to get on base at one of the best rates in the American League. Trevor Plouffe might surprise or Willingham might continue to rake but my money is on Mauer.

Johan Santana Pitcher of the Year: Vance Worley, RHP
Previous Winners: Scott Diamond (2012), Carl Pavano (2011), Carl Pavano (2010)
This has consistently been one of the hardest awards to pick for the Twins. It says a lot about the men that have composed the pitching staff in the Target Field era. Scott Diamond ran into a rough patch at the end of last year and he will be trying to get back from surgery at the beginning of this year. That crossed his name off of my list. Kyle Gibson is starting the year in the minor leagues but he could end up having a strong second half with the club. My heart wanted to pick Liam Hendriks because I want him to find success at the big league level. My head made me pick Worley but I'm not too excited about the selection.

Rick Aguilera Relief Pitcher of the Year: Brian Duensing, LHP
Previous Winners: Jared Burton (2012), Glen Perkins (2011), Jesse Crain (2010)
There have been surprise winners in this category over the last two seasons. Glen Perkins exploded onto the scene in 2011 and he is fully entrenched into the closers role for the coming year. Last season, Jared Burton was a tremendous find and the Twins will rely on him again in 2013. Brian Duensing has moved back and forth between the rotation and the bullpen. If the Twins are smart, they will leave him in the bullpen where he can find more success. Perkins and Burton might live up to last year's standards but Duensing will be the surprise.

Rod Carew Rookie of the Year: Aaron Hicks, CF
Previous Winners: Scott Diamond (2012), Ben Revere (2011), Danny Valencia (2010)
Two of the last three winners of this award are with different organizations so this might not be good news for Scott Diamond. The Twins handed Hicks the reigns for center field after never getting a plate appearance at the Triple-A level. So far this spring, he has looked very good and this could mean he has a chance to win the overall rookie of the year award for the American League. In previous years, Hicks has struggled with the transition to a new level. This will be the biggest transition of his career and he will need to be able to make the appropriate adjustments.

Now it's your turn. What would your ballot look like for the top awards in the Twins organization for 2013? Leave a COMMENT and start the debate.

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