As this decade of Twins baseball has come to a close, I thought I’d take a look back at the best seasons at each position from the past 10 seasons. Instead of forming a team from the best players (over the whole decade) at each position, I decided to use a single-season approach. Inspired by Bill Simmons’ “The Book of Basketball”, each position will have a player listed in a certain “vintage”. The basic idea is we will end up with a player from a certain year, giving us the best single seasons at each position from the past 10 years. I did a full 25-man roster (fitting, considering the 25-man roster will go extinct as the decade ends).
2010 Joe Mauer (.327 AVG, .871 OPS, 9 HR, 5.9 WAR)
In of the last great Joe Mauer seasons, he finished 4th in average and 5th in OBP in all of the majors. While his power numbers fell in the first year at Target Field, he led a very good Twins team in WAR.
2010 Justin Morneau (.345 AVG, 1.055 OPS, 18 HR, 4.7 WAR)
First base has been particularly deprived of great performances for the Twins this decade, and this was the start of it. The stats attached to Morneau’s name in 2010 took place in only one half of the season, as he played 81 games before the All-Star break and 0 after. On July 7th, Morneau suffered a major concussion that ended what was potentially an all-time great season, and altered the course of his career. Had Morneau not gotten hurt, we might be talking about a second MVP award for the Canadian first baseman in 2010.
2016 Brian Dozier (.268 AVG, .886 OPS, 42 HR, 6.3 WAR)
Dozier’s best season produced the highest WAR by a Twins player in the 2010’s. Unfortunately, it was wasted on a bad team. Dozier’s 42 home runs were an American League record by a second baseman. He would be traded to the Dodgers in the midst of the 2018 season, and go on to win the World Series in 2019 with the Nationals.
2019 Miguel Sano (.247 AVG, .923 OPS, 34 HR, 3.1 WAR)
While Miguel Sano’s season had a late start this year, and began with struggles, the second act of 2019 was spectacular enough to land him on this list. From July on, Sano displayed the batting aptitude that made him a top-notch prospect. Under the tutelage of Nelson Cruz, Sano finally lived up to the hype. He also had the single biggest hit of the Twins season, effectively ending Cleveland’s season with a monster grand slam during a pivotal doubleheader in September.
2019 Jorge Polanco (.295 AVG, .841 OPS, 22 HR, 5.7 WAR)
Shortstop was another position rather thin on great performances, but Polanco’s 2019 certainly belongs on this list. An excellent start to the season had Polanco among the league leaders in batting, and while his pace slowed during the summer, it all added up to an excellent season for the recently-extended young shortstop.
2018 Eddie Rosario (.288 AVG, .803 OPS, 24 HR, 3.6 WAR)
Eddie Rosario has been the most consistent season-to-season batter on the Twins over the past few years. 2018 has been his best all-around season to date, even though it was delivered on a poor Twins squad. The left fielder fell out of favor with many fans in 2019, but there’s no denying that he had a terrific season in 2018.
2017 Byron Buxton (.253 AVG, .728 OPS, 16 HR, 5.1 WAR)
Good, not great, has typically been the summary of Twins center fielders this decade. Buxton’s 2019 would almost certainly surpassed his 2017 performance had he stayed healthy, but unfortunately that phrase has been the story of Buxton throughout his short career. 2017 gave us a glimpse of Buxton’s sky-high ceiling, and hopefully he will be able to reach (or surpass) this level over a whole season sometime in the near future.
2019 Max Kepler (.252 AVG, .855 OPS, 36 HR, 4.0 WAR)
Max Kepler had a fantastic breakout in 2019. Coming off of a nice extension, Kepler silenced all doubts about his ability at the plate, hitting lefties well and generally having a great all-around season. He even did an admirable job filling in for Buxton in center while the speedster was hurt. Hopefully this is only scratching the surface of what the young German can do.
2019 Nelson Cruz (.311 AVG, 1.031 OPS, 41 HR, 4.3 WAR)
Yet another entry from the best Twins team of the decade, Nelson Cruz demolished baseballs on his way to becoming one of the greatest free agent signings in team history. Putting him on this list was a no-brainer, as his season was simply amazing. Furthermore, his presence proved to be a huge positive for the young Twins, and especially Miguel Sano.
2012 Denard Span (.283 AVG, .738 OPS, 4 HR, 4.9 WAR)
Span’s best season came with an okay performance at the plate, and a spectacular performance in the field.
2019 Luis Arraez (.334 AVG, .838 OPS, 4 HR, 1.8 WAR)
The breakout rookie from 2019 walked his way into our hearts with a keen eye and a swift bat, giving the team a wonderful spark.
2014 Danny Santana (.319 AVG, .824 OPS, 7 HR, 3.9 WAR)
From the depths of the decade, Danny Santana’s 2014 is often overlooked. It was a spectacular performance at the plate, fluke or not.
2019 Mitch Garver (.273 AVG, .995 OPS, 31 HR, 4.0 WAR)
The young catcher’s 2019 season was the best at the position since Mauer’s prime, part-time player or not.
- 2017 Ervin Santana (3.28 ERA, 211.1 IP, 167 SO, 135 ERA+)
- 2011 Scott Baker (3.14 ERA, 134.2 IP, 123 SO, 129 ERA+)
- 2019 Jake Odorizzi (3.51 ERA, 159.0 IP, 178 SO, 131 ERA+)
- 2019 Jose Berrios (3.68 ERA, 200.1 IP, 195 SO, 124 ERA+)
- 2014 Phil Hughes (3.52 ERA, 209.1 IP, 186 SO, 111 ERA+)
While there are certainly no Cy Young performances in this rotation, you could definitely do worse. These five guys have all anchored the staff at some point in their Twins careers. While the last decade has in no way been the glory days of Twins pitching, things are looking up with two performers from 2019 making the list (and returning next year).
2015 Blaine Boyer (2.49 ERA, 33 SO, 1.246 WHIP, 164 ERA+)
2012 Jared Burton (2.18 ERA, 55 SO, 0.919 WHIP, 189 ERA+)
2010 Brian Duensing (2.62 ERA, 78 SO, 1.202 WHIP, 156 ERA+)
2019 Trevor May (2.94 ERA, 79 SO, 1.073 WHIP, 156 ERA+)
2019 Tyler Duffey (2.50 ERA, 82 SO, 1.006 WHIP, 184 ERA+)
2019 Taylor Rogers (2.61 ERA, 90 SO, 1.000 WHIP, 176 ERA+)
2013 Glen Perkins (2.30 ERA, 77 SO, 0.926 WHIP, 178 ERA+)
While there are a few surprise submissions in the bullpen for this team, you’ll recognize a few of the guys from 2019’s team. Glen Perkins had multiple great seasons this decade, but 2013 was his peak, and hands-down the best season by a Twins reliever in the 2010’s.
What do you think was the best season-long performance by a Twin this decade? Did I leave anybody off? Discuss below!
What was the best season by a Twin this decade?
This poll is closed
2013 Glen Perkins
2019 Nelson Cruz
2016 Brian Dozier
2010 Joe Mauer