The 2019 Twins season is one that will go down in history as one of the best in franchise history. Winning over 100 games and setting a new MLB single season home run record will help. There were many obvious contributors like Max Kepler, Nelson Cruz, Jose Berrios and so on, but who were a few players who aren’t talked about as much?
3. Ryne Harper
2019 statistics: 54.1 IP, 3.81 ERA (82 ERA-), 22.2 K%, 4.4 BB%, 0.9 WAR
Harper came out of nowhere last season to make the roster out of spring training. He is someone that no one predicted to be on the team when the Twins first started the spring, but he ended up being a key player in a playoff run. He didn’t finish the season strong at all, but he and Taylor Rogers carried the bullpen for the first half of the season.
Before the full emergence of guys like Tyler Duffey and Trevor May, the only reliever that could be trusted besides Rogers was Harper. From the start of the season through the end of July, Harper had an ERA of exactly 3.00 and a WHIP of 1.05 as well. His struggles at the end should not always overshadow the success he saw during the first half.
2. Marwin Gonzalez
2019 statistics: .264/.322/.414 (.736), 15 HR, 55 RBIs, 1.4 WAR
Gonzalez was signed to play the super utility man role and he played it perfectly in 2019. He filled in nicely for Sano for the first couple months of the season and handled a lot of the outfield duties while Buxton was sidelined. After a truly awful month of April to start the season, he was an above average hitter while playing all over the diamond.
At the end of the season, Gonzalez had played at second base, shortstop, third base, first base, left field, and right field. He ended up with a positive defensive WAR in the end despite having to play everywhere. Fangraphs also has Marwin listed as the most clutch player on the Twins statistically.
1. Michael Pineda
2019 statistics: 146.0 IP, 4.01 ERA (86 ERA-), 8.63 K/9, 1.73 BB/9, 2.6 WAR
Maybe it’s a bit risky to put Pineda on this list, especially at number one, but I believe he deserves it. From June until September 6th, the final start Pineda made, the rotation was carried by big Mike. Here are some stats from that date range:
- Michael Pineda: 7-2, 3.10 ERA, 9.31 K/9, 1.76 BB/9, 2.4 WAR
- Jose Berrios: 4-6, 4.18 ERA, 9.00 K/9, 2.88 BB/9, 1.8 WAR
- Jake Odorizzi: 7-4, 4.63 ERA, 9.79 K/9, 3.12 BB/9, 1.6 WAR
Without Pineda in the rotation for these 2+ months, who knows what happens. He was the ultimate stabilizer it seemed. I understand why some people will forever hold a grudge against Pineda. The suspension was stupid, but it wasn’t a performance enhancing drug, it was just a weight loss pill. I’m glad the Twins brought him back on a very team friendly deal.
What did you think of the list I put together? Some other players I considered were Jake Cave, Eddie Rosario, Trevor May, and Ehire Adrianza. Was I missing anyone? Leave a comment below and start the discussion!