What. A. Season.
The Twins lost to the Pinstripes. I don’t care. I wrote the Twins off this year. I thought Mauer was over the hill. I thought the rotation would be the worst in the league. I thought the bullpen would be the worst in the league. I thought Miguel Sano and, maybe, Max Kepler would produce decently on offense.
Boy was I wrong. Sure, the pitching was by no means top-of-the-line, but those boys kept the Twinkies in ball games. Ervin Santana was the ace I said time and time again that he couldn’t be. Jose Berrios found the control I was beginning to think he never would find. In the ‘pen, we sold our closer at the deadline and still did all right. Who was Trevor Hildenberger before the summer started? Certainly not the go-to guy to get an out in the eighth inning.
The Twins had six players hit 15 or more home runs this season: Dozier (34), Sano (28), Rosario (27, what?!), Escobar (21, huh?!), Kepler (19), Buxton (16). All of them hit over .250 except Kepler (.243). Not mentioned is Jorge Polanco, who had one of the best bats in the lineup at the three-spot without Sano down the stretch. Polanco knocked in 74 runs.
That lineup took off on us this year, and we took way to long for us to react. We didn’t appreciate it nearly enough.
OK, I’ve been beating around the bush.
In 2016, the Twins were terrible in the field. Just awful. 29th in the league awful, with 126 errors and a .979 fielding percentage.
This year, Mollie said that wasn’t going to happen again. 78 errors, .987 fielding percentage — enough for fourth in the league.
Brian Dozier, known for his bat, snags a gold glove. Am I forgetting anything? Oh yeah.
— Minnesota Twins (@Twins) November 11, 2017
Since the early 90s, Minnesota has had the likes of Kirby Puckett, Torii Hunter, Carlos Gomez, Denard Span, Ben Revere and Aaron Hicks. Who’s the best Twins outfielder of all time? Byron Buxton.
Best fielder in baseball right now. Proven to be the fastest player in the league. He’s got a lightning quick first step, runs efficient routes, and no one closes on the ball like he does — even if it means running into the wall at 20 miles an hour.
We knew Buxton was an elite outfielder. That’s why we, as some say, rushed him to The Show a bit early. We compromised with the poor contact rate and plate discipline for one of the best outfielder in the league, and ended up getting the best fielder in the game period, along with 16 homers, 51 RBI, and 29 stolen bases.
I’m a fan.