So, who is the team MVP? It was harder to pick than in most seasons, because there has been no single, dominant player. With the Twins fighting for the best record in the majors, they have needed many players to step up!
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8.) Delmon Young has had a real nice breakout season. He has been worth a WAR of 1.8. His bat carried the team in July and his overall numbers are an improved .298/.332/.482. If his defense were better, he'd be one of the best overall players on the team.
7.) Danny Valencia should get votes for rookie of the year. He has been worth a WAR of 2.9. His bat has been great, particularly at home. His power has really come around as well, hitting 2 HRs Saturday. He was left in AAA to start the season to work on his defense and was only supposed to be a brief call up. Once he reached the lineup, his bat (.331/.372/.481) and glove insured that he would stay. He will be in that spot the next 5 years.
6.) Orlando Hudson has been a good find for the Twins. He has been worth a WAR of 3.0. His .268/.336/.371 is down over past seasons, but his defense has been much better this year than the last 4. His .707 OPS in the 2 hole and at 2nd base is still better than what the Twins have sent out there the last several years. A decent player at a premium position.
5.) Carl Pavano has been the most consistent starter for the Twins all season. He has a 3.83 ERA with a 4.08/4.02 FIP/xFIP and has been able to record 17 wins. He has been worth a WAR of 2.9.
4.) Francisco Liriano has been nearly ace-like this season. There could be an argument to rank him #1 on this list. His numbers have been that outstanding. His 6.2 WAR is highest on the team. His ERA is 3.48 but is probably inflated due to a high .342 BABIP. His 2.50/3.08 FIP/xFIP are among the best in the league. He does occasionally lose focus in games but for the most part has been almost as good as he was in 2006.
3.) Justin Morneau would have been my team MVP on July 7th when he got hurt. He'd have still been the team MVP August 7th or even September 7th. The fact that he hasn't played since July 7th bumps him to 3rd. His 5.3 WAR is the best for any position player on the team and he had the highest position player WAR in the AL at the time of his injury. The Twins have taken off since he has gotten hurt, but may have been in too deep a hole to come back weren't it for Justin carrying the team. With 81 games, Morneau's .345/.437/.618 were worth 18 HRs and 25 doubles. It's sad he wasn't able to complete the season and help in the playoffs. As good as the Twins have been, they still could use their best player. He will be missed in the playoffs.
2.) Jim Thome has sure been worth that $1.5 million plus incentives. His .280/.412/.631 have been huge. He has really stepped up as a part-time player, especially since Morneau went down. His 3.6 WAR is his best in 3 years. He has not only been very helpful to the Twins playoff push but has provided many of their most moments in 2010. I'll remember the walk-off against the White Sox or the time he hit the flag-pole for the rest of my life. Almost every one of his 26(25 since that one in Cleveland was called a double) HRs has been appointment TV. Hopefully Big Jimmers is back to collect number 600 next year. I've already drawn up the plan.
1.) Joe Mauer was the MVP of the AL in 2009 with a ridiculous .365/.444/.587. In 2010 he'll have to settle for Twins MVP. There have been a ton of Twins that have stepped up this year. There are the other 7 guys on this list, but there have been many more. Michel Cuddyer and Brian Duensing have helped the Twins with their flexibility. Jason Kubel has times of incredible clutchiness. Jesse Crain, Jon Rauch and even 5.2 innings of Matt Fox have been very important to the Central division champs. Mauer, however, has been the best player the whole season. He has a .331/.407/.473 line for the season. This production at the catcher position has been worth a WAR of 5.2. After starting the year slow, he really got it going after Morneau went down. The 2010 Twins could win the World Series and many guys deserve credit. Mauer is their MVP.