Well, not here! In recognition of 50 years of great and not-so-great baseball in Minnesota, we'll go around the diamond over the next few weeks and select an all-time Minnesota Twins' team. We'll have one player at each position, select a four-man starting pitching rotation, select a closer, as well as a manager and a general manager. For selection to this team, an analysis of a player's tenure in Minnesota will be considered, which suggests why David Ortiz is not on this team. As always, your comments about my selections, errors, and omissions are appreciated.
We'll start today with probably the easiest selection on the diamond: Catcher.
The Minnesota Twins all-time team must include Joe Mauer as catcher. It seems strange to have a 26-year-old guy on any all-time team, but Mauer is the greatest catcher to ever play for the Twins after only six years in the majors.
Think of what has been accomplished in six seasons:
- Three batting titles (2006, 2008, 2009)
- Three All-Star Game selections (2006, 2008, 2009)
- Three Silver Sluggers (2006, 2008, 2009)
- Two gold glove awards (2008, 2009)
- A likely MVP (updated:near-unanimous MVP selection; second catcher in 33 years) selection for his 2009 performance
- Career .327/.408/.493 batting mark
The 2009 season alone may be enough to catapult Mauer to all-time Twins' status, but his career hitting line of .327/.408/.493 over 2,994 plate appearances spanning six seasons cement his status. He has won two Gold Glove awards (which are not necessarily representative of a fielder's value, but are largely won on reputation), and has done a great job handling a young pitching staff over the past two seasons. He is a free agent after the 2010 season and much chatter dominates Twins Territory about signing him to an extension this winter to keep him away from the large market teams which are looking to upgrade their catching situations. Stay tuned!
The Fan Graphs site estimates that Mauer has been 282.5 runs above replacement-level for his career, which undoubtedly has won a lot of games for the Twins since 2004. Mauer's tenure with Minnesota has been accompanied by a period of success, with AL Central Division titles in 2004, 2006, and 2009, as well as a tie in 2008. Those banners likely do not fly over Twins Territory without Mauer behind the plate and in the line-up.
Also considered: Earl Battey; Brian Harper; A.J. Pierzynski