Friday, October 4, 2013

Handing Out 2013 Twins Awards

Even after a dismal 2013 season, there were some positive performances by players wearing a Twins uniform. No players on the club will be in the AL MVP or Cy Young discussion but it is still fun to pick out the best players across a variety of categories for the club.

For the past three years, I have picked out winners of various awards with the team. There are usually some surprise recipients because no one knows what is going to happen over the course of a 162-game schedule. There are ups and downs and that's all part of MLB player performances.

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. If you want to see my attempt at pick out the preseason winner in each category, click here to see how those picks looked.
Harmon Killebrew MVP: Joe Mauer, C
Previous Winners: Josh Willingham (2012), Michael Cuddyer (2011), Joe Mauer (2010)
For the first time since 2010, Mauer wins the Killebrew MVP Award. The season didn't exactly end great for the team's best player and there are plenty of questions about him moving forward. He still put together a very fine season at the plate and in the field. He had his highest batting average since 2010 and he hit double digits in home runs for the second consecutive year. His OBS ranked third in the AL and it was the fifth time in the last six seasons that he ranked in the top three. Fans have to wonder if Mauer will be able to get back to this level in the years to come but he was still the team's best player in 2013.

Johan Santana Pitcher of the Year: Kevin Correia, RHP
Previous Winners: Scott Diamond (2012), Carl Pavano (2011), Carl Pavano (2010)
This is probably the toughest category to select and it was the hardest one to make a decision on during my preseason picks. I went with Vance Worley because he was getting the Opening Day start and he there were some high hopes surrounding him at the beginning of the year. Correia almost wins this award by default. A relief pitcher could be considered for the honor but starters pitch so many more innings that it is tough to consider a bullpen arm. Glen Perkins and Anthony Swarzak were both terrific but Correia was the best starter and he deserves the award.

Rick Aguilera Relief Pitcher of the Year: Glen Perkins, LHP
Previous Winners: Jared Burton (2012), Glen Perkins (2011), Jesse Crain (2010)
Perkins becomes the first two-time Rick Aguilera winner since I began handing out awards. If Burton wouldn't have put together a fantastic year last season, it could be the third year in a row for Perkins. On a team with very little to be happy about, Perkins has become a leader on the field and in the clubhouse. He is one of the most dominant closers in the American League and he was awarded with his first All-Star appearance. Fans might have been concerned when Joe Nathan left town but Perkins has continued a long line of dominant ninth inning men in Minnesota.

Rod Carew Rookie of the Year: Oswaldo Arcia, RF/LF
Previous Winners: Scott Diamond (2012), Ben Revere (2011), Danny Valencia (2010)
Winners of the Rod Carew award haven't exactly gone on to splendid big league careers but Oswaldo Arcia looks to be the man to change that trend. At the beginning of the year, Aaron Hicks looked to be the front-runner for this award but he struggled in his rookie year while Arcia found a way to shine. The Twins saw Arcia club 14 home runs and 17 doubles over 97 games. He finished third on the team in OPS and he ranked second in slugging behind Mauer. Not too bad for a first run through the American League.

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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