Thursday, April 2, 2015

2015 Minnesota Twins Award Preview

Another regular season is upon us and that means that it is prediction time for a lot of writers across the inter-web. There will be surprise teams, surprise players, and even some other surprises along the way. The unknown and unpredictability of baseball is one of the most enduring qualities of "America's Pasttime."

Throughout the coming week, I will be making my picks for the National League and the American League, taking a closer look at the AL Central, and selecting awards for the Twins. Here is a look at the weekly schedule so make sure to stop in all week to get yourself primed for the season to come.

2015 Preview Series
Each of the awards below has been named after someone that optimizes that award for the Twins organization. There are legends from the past and all have had a significant place in Twins lore.

Harmon Killebrew MVP: Joe Mauer, 1B
Previous Winners: Brian Dozier (2014), Joe Mauer (2013), Josh Willingham (2012), Michael Cuddyer (2011), Joe Mauer (2010)
It seems like a yearly tradition to pick Joe Mauer to be the best player on the Twins. Since I have been handing out these awards, Mauer has been close to alternating between winning and losing. That should put him in line for a bounce back season. Brian Dozier could take some major strides on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. If Dozier's all-around game improves, it will be tough for him not to win this award for the second consecutive year. Mauer has the most talent so hopefully the numbers show this by season's end. 

Johan Santana Pitcher of the Year: Phil Hughes, RHP 
Previous Winners: Phil Hughes (2014), Kevin Correia (2013), Scott Diamond (2012), Carl Pavano (2011), Carl Pavano (2010)
Hughes is comfortable in Minnesota and he's coming off a record breaking season. The Twins rewarded him for his output with a bump in pay even though they still had Hughes under contract. It's hard to imagine anyone else taking this spot away from Hughes unless Kyle Gibson were take a big jump forward. Hughes might not end up being as good as last season but he's still the best pitcher the Twins will send out there every fifth day.

Rick Aguilera Relief Pitcher of the Year: Glen Perkins, LHP
Previous Winners: Glen Perkins (2014), Glen Perkins (2013), Jared Burton (2012), Glen Perkins (2011), Jesse Crain (2010)
With the way this award is shaping up, it might need to be renamed the Glen Perkins Relief Pitcher of the Year. Perkins has won the award in three of the last four seasons and he could be the front runner for the award again this year. My pick is for Casey Fien to have a breakout season and be one of the best relief pitchers in Minnesota's pen. Perkins struggled through an injury this spring but the closing duties are still under his control. Perkins strikes out more batters and he won the award last season even though he missed some time at year's end.  

Rod Carew Rookie of the Year: Trevor May, RHP
Previous Winners: Danny Santana (2014), Oswaldo Arcia (2013), Scott Diamond (2012), Ben Revere (2011), Danny Valencia (2010)
May made his debut at the end of 2014 and the Twins will have him start the year in Rochester. There were some rough patches in the first few appearances for May but he calmed down near the end of the season. If one of the other starters is struggling or injured, he should be the next one up from Rochester. He put together a solid spring and this could help him focus in on the 2015 campaign. Alex Meyer needs to work out some control issues and Miguel Sano is coming off a major surgery so May is my guy unless the other's surprise me.

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