Minnesota Twins: The 40 Best Players In Team History (No. 31-35)
No. 32: Butch Wynegar (15.2 WAR)
Butch Wynegar came out firing to start his career in the mid 1970s. He made his Major League Baseball debut in 1976 at the age of 20. He made the All-Star team in both 1976 and 1977. His rise was so quick that he never played Double A or Triple A ball. He is still the only catcher in history to make his big league debut straight from Single A.
Wynegar was the youngest player to make the All-Star team, at the time, when he was selected during his rookie year. He finished second in the Rookie of the Year voting to Detroit Tigers pitcher Mark Fidrych, who had an insane year in 1976. Wynegar’s production was at its best in his first two seasons.
Wynegar hit ten home runs in each of his first two seasons, and tallied 69 RBIs in 1976 and 79 RBIs in 1977 to go along with them. He put up WAR numbers of 3.6 and 3.3 in those years, respectively. Unfortunately, he would never hit double digit home runs or tally over three wins above replacement again during his time in Minnesota.
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Wynegar was a reliable catcher during his time with the Twins, which spanned from 1976 to the middle of the 1982 season. He was traded to the New York Yankees in 1982 in an attempt to dump big salaries, but also because he was batting just .209 at the time.
His time in Minnesota started out with a bang, but he slowly faded as time went on. While his peak was early, Butch Wynegar was still a valuable part of the Minnesota Twins for years and his wins above replacement show it.