Thursday, July 18, 2013

Handing Out Twins First Half Awards

At the beginning of the season, I devoted an entire week to make predictions about the upcoming MLB season. These predictions can be fun especially with all of the surprises that surround the game of baseball. I had the Toronto Blue Jays winning the AL East... oops. There are going to be a few swings and misses.

With the All-Star Game over and done with, let's take a look back at the first half of the season and see who's in line for each of NoDak Twins Fan's end of the season awards. There are some easy choices and some tough choices at this point in the season. Luckily there is the entire second half for the best players to separate themselves.

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)
Josh Willingham has been banged up. Justin Morneau hasn't been hitting for much power. This leaves one clear option for the first half MVP. Joe Mauer was selected as the starting catcher for the American League All-Stars and he is one of the best hitters in baseball. His 4.0 WAR ranks him 9th among position players and he is the highest catcher on the list. On the Twins, the next closest WAR marks are Pedro Florimon (2.0 WAR) and Brian Dozier (1.7 WAR). Barring any injury to the face of the franchise, Mauer should walk away with the team's MVP award.

Johan Santana Pitcher of the Year: Glen Perkins, LHP
Previous Winners: Scott Diamond (2012), Carl Pavano (2011), Carl Pavano (2010)
The starters for the Twins have been rough to watch and this makes it hard to consider one of them as the top pitcher. There is a lot of baseball left in the season so someone like Sam Deduno or Kyle Gibson could continue to pitch well and take over this award. For now, the first half honor goes to Glen Perkins. He got elected to his first All-Star Game and he has the highest WAR among the pitchers on the staff. His 21 saves are the 9th most in baseball and he has posted a very good 0.808 WHIP. If the Twins find the right deal, Perkins could end up on another team before the deadline.

Rick Aguilera Relief Pitcher of the Year: Glen Perkins, LHP
Previous Winners: Jared Burton (2012), Glen Perkins (2011), Jesse Crain (2010)
One of the biggest positives this year has been the bullpen. There have been surprise performances from players like Casey Fien and Caleb Thielbar. After a breakout season in 2012, Jared Burton has run into some rough times this year. It shouldn't be any surprise with Perkins being named the winner for the first half. He has been consistent at the back end of the bullpen and fans have grown accustom to "Perk" being a shutdown closer. The lone player with a chance to catch Perkins might be Thielbar especially with the way he has thrown the ball in the last month. For now, Perkins gets the nod as the best bullpen arm for the Twins.

Rod Carew Rookie of the Year: Oswaldo Arcia, OF
Previous Winners: Scott Diamond (2012), Ben Revere (2011), Danny Valencia (2010)
This could turn out to be a pretty good two-man battle but the first half award has to go to Arcia. Hicks was the logical choice at the beginning of the year since he had earned the starting job in center field. A horrific start to the season left some wondering if Hicks would be sent to Rochester. He suffered an injury that cost him a couple weeks and he has been on fire as of late. This could mean he has a chance to catch Arcia by the end of the year. A couple of weeks ago, it looked like Arcia might have a chance to be the AL Rookie of the Year. Things turned south quickly and he now finds himself at Triple-A. He is still near the top of the leader board in a variety of categories for rookies so he gets my vote.

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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