This is always a favorite of mine. Luckily for the imaginary fortunes of this team the Twins dealt a couple of players late in the year, and they finished strong with their new teams. Without those two moves, this team would be exceptionally weak. As it is we actually had some choice this season, with some well-known players. Most of them just didn't have good years. At least on the position player side.
Lineup, bench, and the pitching staff after the jump
|2011 - Nick Punto||63||133||21||37||8||4||1||20||25||21||1||1||.278||.388||.421|
With Twins: 2004 - 2010
Punto reaped the benefit of hitting in front of the pitcher this season, but it was also an up year for him. The 68 games he played in were the fewest for him since his first campaign in Minnesota. Congrats on making the team, LNP. A lot of people want you back.
|2011 - Wilson Ramos||113||389||48||104||22||1||15||52||38||76||0||2||.267||.334||.445|
With Twins: 2010
Ramos just turned 24 in August. Good for the Nationals. GOOD. FOR. THEM.
|2011 - Jim Thome||22||71||11||21||4||0||3||10||11||23||0||0||.296||.390||.479|
With Twins: 2010 - 2011
It would have been a nice bookend to see his career end in Cleveland, but clearly Thome felt he had a better chance to win a championship in Philadelphia. Still, it was fun to see him blast a few homers in an Indians uniform again. Best of luck in Philly, big Jim.
|2011 - David Ortiz||146||525||84||162||40||1||29||96||78||83||1||1||.309||.398||.554|
With Twins: 1997 - 2002
Papi had his best season since he was 31, proving that he's not quite on his way out yet. 22 homers in 2012 will get him to 400. It would be fun to see him back in Minnesota, but I doubt (and hope) the Twins would give him a multi-year deal. Hell, they might not want to pay him for one season considering how much he'd want to get paid. Knowing how much he didn't enjoy his time here, he'd probably up his asking price if approached by our front office.
Oh, and I know it's a stretch asking him to play first base. But I have to play with what I've got, and this is called "maximizing the value of my options".
|2011 - J.J. Hardy||129||527||76||142||27||0||30||80||31||92||0||0||.269||.310||.491|
With Twins: 2010
The Orioles last GM proved smarter than our last GM. That's all I'm going to say. Good for J.J. getting a new contract, and I'm happy to see him have the big comeback season many of us thought he had in him.
|2011 - Delmon Young||40||168||28||46||5||1||8||32||5||30||0||0||.274||.298||.458|
With Twins: 2008 - 2011
Minnesota didn't get much for him, at least looking at how things sit right now, but Delmon was a disappointment for 70% of his time in a Twins uniform. Most of 2010 was pretty good, and he had other hot stretches. But after all the hype he wasn't the guy we needed him to be. But he picked up some big hits for the Tigers down the stretch, especially against the Twins, and had a couple of memorable moments in October.
|2011 - Torii Hunter||156||580||80||152||24||2||23||82||62||125||5||7||.262||.336||.429|
With Twins: 1997 - 2007
Hunter hit 23 homers, but he didn't hit as many doubles as the Angels are used to seeing and his power took a huge dive this year. Is this the beginning of Hunter's decline? It's hard to believe Hunter is 36.
|2011 - Darnell McDonald||79||157||26||1||6||1||6||24||2||0||2||3||.236||.303||.401|
With Twins: 2007
Who'd have thought that McDonald, a fourth or fifth outfielder-slash-afterthought back in 2007, would have secured a quasi-regular gig? This is his second year in a row as the starting for the ex-Twins, although we had him in left field last year.
|2011 - Orlando Hudson||119||398||54||98||15||3||7||43||49||84||19||3||.246||.329||.352|
With Twins: 2010
Because of the lack of options at third base, I had to slide Punto over. As a result we get Hudson at second base. Hudson's had a good career, but it looks like it's winding down now. Provided he stays healthy though, he has at least one more full-time season with the Padres on the way.
According to Baseball Musings' lineup tool, the lineup I've put forward would score 5.4 runs per game (875 runs over 162 games). That's a dangerous offense.
Garza had a career year, as did Lohse (unless you count 2008 as better), Humber came out of nowhere to be very good for the White Sox, and Dickey (for the second year in a row) was very, very good. One through four this is a solid, solid crew. Then there's Hernandez. As a number five, that's okay.
This is an exceptional relief crew. Any team that had these seven players to pick up innings from the starter would be in pretty good shape.
This is a pretty decent team. A good, if not deep nor defensively adept, offense. A very good bullpen and a very solid rotation. I think this team might do better than most of our past incarnations.
Hawkins returns to make his fourth team, after missing the roster for the first time in 2010. Joe Beimel didn't make the cut this year, which means the players who have made the team every year is down to four: Ortiz, Pierzynski (first time as a backup), Blake (also first time as a backup) and Romero.