Hello and welcome back to your Friday helper, your work-week ender, another Twinkie Town discussion post. Here’s your question for the week: Who was the 2020 Twins Rookie of the Year?
There is a pretty short list of contenders for this one, but it may be a closer race than you’d think at first glance. By my count, the Twins had 12 players appear in games this year who qualify as rookies. Here are those 12:
Position Players: Ryan Jeffers, Travis Blankenhorn, Lamonte Wade, Brent Rooker, and Aaron Whitefield (Alex Kirilloff does not count, just as his “first major league hit” doesn’t count)
Pitchers: Cody Stashak, Jorge Alcala, Randy Dobnak, Lewis Thorpe, Devin Smeltzer, Sean Poppen, Edwar Colina
Of these 12, we can immediately cross off most of the names. Edwar Colina, Sean Poppen, Aaron Whitefield, Lewis Thorpe, Devin Smeltzer, and Travis Blankenhorn all appeared in less than ten games, to varying rates of success. Brent Rooker also belongs in this group, unfortunately, as his blazing start to his career was cut short when he broke his wrist in his seventh game.
That leaves us with Ryan Jeffers, Lamonte Wade, Cody Stashak, Jorge Alcala, and Randy Dobnak. I’m going to throw out Lamonte Wade right off the bat. He didn’t perform badly, but I think we all know that if it goes to a position player, Jeffers will be the pick.
Jeffers slashed .273/.355/.436 in his debut season, to go along with 3 home runs, 5 walks, and 19 strikeouts. While his strikeout rate seems a bit high, hopefully we can chalk that up to the irregular season, which would be especially difficult for a mid-season call-up. He also impressed me greatly with his incredible framing abilities behind the plate. He has a bright future ahead of him (and will be Rookie of the Year eligible again next year).
Stashak was pretty darn good in his second year of limited work, posting a 3.00 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 15.0 innings. However, Alcala was better. Alcala went for a 2.63 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 24.0 innings, including some pretty high-leverage work. The young flamethrower, with a fastball that can run 99+ mph and some nasty off-speed, looks like he could be a fixture in the back of the ‘pen for years to come.
Lastly, we have Randy Dobnak. Following a blistering start that had him gaining some Rookie of the Year- and even Cy Young- attention, Dobnak regressed quickly and was out of the rotation by year’s end. He ended up with a 4.05 ERA, after carrying a sub-2.00 number through his first several starts. It’s unfortunate that he dropped off so quickly, but he really helped the Twins get through the first month of the season while Berrios was struggling and Pineda, Odorizzi, and Rich Hill were out for various reasons. He’s the only one of our “finalists” who will have exceeded rookie limits for next year.
In the end, I could see arguments for Alcala, Dobnak, and Jeffers. All three are decent choices. However, my pick is Jeffers, with Dobnak as the runner-up. Jeffers really came in and took hold of the starting catcher’s job when we needed someone to step up following injuries to Garver and Aliva. He greatly impressed with his bat, and even more so with his framing, and I’m excited to watch him for years to come. I gave Dobnak the edge over Alcala in spite of their end-of-season numbers, as I believe the Twins would have been in real trouble had Dobnak not stepped up and given them some elite performances at the beginning of the season.
Now, it’s your turn! Who are you awarding the 2020 Twins Rookie of the Year award to? Let us know in the comments!
Who was the 2020 Twins Rookie of the Year
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