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. We’ve faced off George Mitterwald vs A.J Pierzynski, Brian Harper vs Earl Battey and Glenn Borgmann vs Tim Laudner. Our fourth and final catching match up is between Joe Mauer and Butch Wynegar.
Well, somebody had to face off against Joe Mauer. Wynegar gets the honor. Butch was no slouch at the position though. He was drafted by the Twins in 1974 and made his debut as a 20 year old in 1976. He is the only catcher to jump directly from single A to the majors. He was an all star and runner up for the rookie of the year award. He was the Twins starting catcher for the next 6 years. Butch was traded part way through the 1982 season to the Yankees. He played his last game in 1988 with the Angels. He is currently a coach with Pirates.
Wynegar’s best season came in 1979 when he slashed .270/.363/.351 and posted 2.7 dWAR. He was an average hitter (for a catcher) and was an excellent defender behind the plate. As a Twin he had a .682 OPS, 77.7 defensive runs above average (first among Twins catchers all time) and was worth 15.2 f/bWAR.
Mauer does not need much of an introduction. He’s one of the best catchers, at least offensively, ever. He was drafted first overall by the Twins in 2001. Like Wynegar, he burst onto the scene and was highly successful right away. He’s won the batting title three times, won the MVP award in 2009, has appeared in 6 all star games, has three gold gloves and 5 silver sluggers. He’s not done yet either. He doesn’t play catcher anymore and hasn’t since 2013 but has logged nearly 8000 innings behind the plate. Mauer is primarily an offensive player as evidenced by his career .845 OPS but was solid behind the plate as well (2.6 dWAR). He’s posted 45.1 fWAR/47.8 bWAR in his career so far.
Who was the greater Twins 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