Monday, July 13, 2015

Handing Out First Half Awards

The unofficial first half of the season is over and the Twins have the second best record in the American League. No one thought the Twins would be in this position and there are many members of the team that have performed at a high level to get them to this point. Let's hand out some awards to finish out the first half of the year.

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: Brian Dozier, 2B
Previous Winners: Brian Dozier (2014), Joe Mauer (2013), Josh Willingham (2012), Michael Cuddyer (2011), Joe Mauer (2010)
He's heading to his first All-Star Game and he's transformed himself into the best second baseman in the game. Trevor Plouffe and Torii Hunter are also having good campaigns but this award belongs to Dozier. Over the last couple years, he has become the leader on the field and in the clubhouse. Dozier is on pace to set career highs in almost every offensive category and his defense continues to improve. A year after winning his first Killebrew MVP, it seems likely that Dozier is well on his way to becoming the first player to win the award in consecutive years.

Johan Santana Pitcher of the Year: Kyle Gibson, RHP 
Previous Winners: Phil Hughes (2014), Kevin Correia (2013), Scott Diamond (2012), Carl Pavano (2011), Carl Pavano (2010)
Hughes seemed like the easy pick for this award at the beginning of the season but things don't always go as planned. For the first time since 2006, the Twins have two pitchers that end the first half with ERA's under 3.00. Kyle Gibson and Tommy Milone were unsure of their roles as the season began but both have thrived when given the opportunity. Trevor May has been moved to the bullpen but he's leading the team in fWAR. With the way Gibson has been pitching, it's hard to ignore what he did over the last few months. If the Twins had one game to win right now, Gibson is the guy I want on the mound. 

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 is well on his way to the award again this year. He's heading to his third straight All-Star Game and he set the team record for consecutive saves to start the year. After having to be shutdown early at the end of last season, there were some questions about what version of Perkins the Twins would see this year. Those questions have been put to rest and he's one of the best relief pitchers in the game. 

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)
There have been a lot of big name debuts for the Twins so far in 2015. Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, Eddie Rosario, and Alex Meyer have all made appearances and this is shaping up to be the most highly contested award on the list. Sano is off to a hot start but he didn't get enough at-bats to be in serious consideration. Buxton is on the disabled list and Meyer struggled a few appearances. Rosario has turned himself into a valuable everyday player. At this point, this seems to be a three horse race between May, Rosario, and Sano. 

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