This past decade for the Minnesota Twins is not one that will be remembered very kindly. While a lot of the decade was spent watching a last place team, it wasn’t all bad. There were some excellent seasons by players that are often forgotten because the team was not good, so I’ll be revisiting them today.
2010 Joe Mauer: .327/.402/.469 (.871), 9 HR, 88 RBIs, 135 wRC+, 5.7 WAR
This was the first year of the decade, and one of only three seasons where the Twins made the playoffs. Mauer was coming off an MVP campaign in 2009, so this season wasn’t nearly as good but it was still his fourth best season according to fWAR. Joe would go on to play eight more seasons after this one, but none of them would top his 2010 performance. Mauer made the All Star Game, won a Silver Slugger and a Gold Glove, and finished 8th for MVP.
2010 Francisco Liriano: 191 2⁄3 IP, 3.62 ERA, 2.66 FIP, 9.44 K/9, 2.72 BB/9, 5.6 fWAR
The 2010 season was easily the best full season Liriano has ever had. It was the only season he had a, fWAR over 4.0, and he was simply dominant as the head of the Twins rotation that would win the AL central. With Liriano and Mauer both putting up excellent seasons, it was a shame the Twins were only able to play three playoff games. They were swept by the Yankees, of course. Liriano pitched game one, going 5 2⁄3 innings while giving up four. Liriano finished 11th for Cy Young.
2014 Phil Hughes: 209 2⁄3 IP, 3.52 ERA, 2.65 FIP, 7.98 K/9, 0.69 BB/9, 6.3 fWAR
Of course the best pitching season of the Twins decade comes from Phil Hughes, of all people. He finished the season with the best K/BB ratio of all time at 11.63, a record that still stands today. He was one of the only highlights of a team that lost 87 games and had Ricky Nolasco start 27 games. Hughes finished the season with the third highest fWAR in baseball and even finished 7th for Cy Young.
2019 Nelson Cruz: .311/.392/.639 (1.031), 41 HR, 108 RBIs, 163 wRC+, 4.3 fWAR
The best offensive season of the decade came from the 39-year old designated hitter in his first season with the Twins. He was the head of the Bomba Squad that would break the record for the most home runs in a single season. Cruz came to Minnesota and his impact was immediately felt, whether it was requesting for a nap room to be created, hitting over 40 bombs, or mentoring young players like Miguel Sano. He finished with a Silver Slugger award and placed 9th for AL MVP.
2016 Brian Dozier: .268/.340/.546 (.886), 42 HR, 99 RBIs, 132 wRC+, 6.3 fWAR
Finally, we have Brian Dozier to finish it all off. Dozier finished with the highest fWAR of any Twins player during the decade at 6.3 so obviously he makes the list. Dozier was the one highlight of an otherwise miserable 2016 season that saw the Twins lose 103 games. The 42 home runs put Dozier as the second best single season home run hitter on the Twins, only behind Harmon Killebrew. Dozier finished 13th in the MVP voting which is not bad when your team loses 103.
- 2013 Joe Mauer
- 2017 Brian Dozier
- 2012 Joe Mauer
- 2014 Brian Dozier
- 2019 Max Kepler
- 2019 Jose Berrios
- 2010 Justin Morneau
- 2019 Jorge Polanco
- 2019 Jake Odorizzi
Which of these seasons of performances was your favorite? Did I leave one out that you thought deserved more love? Maybe you thought Ryan Doumit or Robbie Grossman deserved some love. Comment below and let me know.