Puckett’s Pond faces off two notable Minnesota Twins players and you decide which one was greater
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Puckett’s Pond is enlisting your help in deciding who the greatest Minnesota Twins in history are at each position. Eventually we’ll square off each position against the others and wind up with the greatest Minnesota Twin, as selected by you. The first position we’ll be selecting is catcher. We’ll only be counting literal Minnesota Twins and not the pre-1961 Washington franchises. Players also will need 700 PAs as a Twin to qualify. We ask you to consider the player based solely on his time as a Twin and at the position specified. Our first catching match up is between A.J Pierzynski and George Mitterwald.
Pierzynski was drafted by the Twins in 1994. He made his debut with the team in 1998. He logged under 100 PAs that year and the two subsequent seasons. A.J was handed the full time catching gig in 2001. He ran with it and remained the Twins’ starting catcher for the next three seasons. Prior to the 2004 season, he was traded to the Giants for Boof Bonser, Francisco Liriano and Joe Nathan. Pierzynski is currently a member of the Atlanta Braves.
A.J’s biggest asset was always his bat. His defence has been up and down over his 18 year career but was generally solid while he was a Twin. His best season in Minnesota came in 2003 when he slashed .312/.360/.464 and posted a 1.5 dWAR. As a Twin, he put up a .788 OPS and 7.8 fWAR/9.4 bWAR.
Mitterwald was signed by the Twins in 1965 as an amateur free agent. He made his debut with a 5 PA stint in 1966. He spent 1967 in the minors and had another short stint in 1968. In 1969 he was the back up to John Roseboro. With Roseboro out of the picture in 1970, Mitterwald became the starting catcher. He’d hold the role 3 out the next 4 years. After the 1973 season he was traded to the Cubs for Randy Hundley. George played his last game in 1977.
Mitterwald had a decent bat and a plus glove. He slashed .239/.304/.373 as a Twin. He had some pop with 3 double digit home run seasons. Defensively, he posted a 33.5 defensive runs above average mark, which is 3rd all time among Twins catchers. Mitterwald achieved a 6.3 fWAR and a 6 bWAR.
Who was the greater catcher? Have your say:
Feel free to leave your reasoning in the comments. Check back here for the rest of the match ups in round one and to see who moves on