Multiple Minnesota Twins up for MILBY Awards

benjaminchase
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 30: John Curtiss
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 30: John Curtiss /
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The Minnesota Twins currently have a number of teams and players up for awards on the MILBY awards.

The Minnesota Twins had a very successful season in the minor leagues, and it shows with the nominations that they are getting for the MILBY awards this season.

A bit of quick background on the MILBY awards. The MILBY awards are run by MiLB.com, the minor league baseball home page. They are an annual set of awards, voted on by fans, nominated primarily by a host of MiLB.com staff. You can vote on all of the awards by clicking here.

Pitcher of the Year

Becoming the first pitcher in the minor leagues to win 20 games during the season (including playoffs) in 25 years will get you notice for sure, even if you have been traded twice in the last 12 months.

Littell was acquired by the Yankees over the offseason from the Seattle Mariners, and the Twins acquired Littell as part of the Jaime Garcia trade with the Yankees this summer. Over the summer of 2017, Littell combined for a 19-1 record in the regular season, with a 2.13 ERA and 1.12 WHIP over 157 innings with a 41/142 BB/K ratio. He added a win in his one postseason start, giving him a 20-1 record on the season.

Reliever of the Year

The Minnesota Twins system was flush with dominating relievers in 2017, and this award shows it. Three Twins minor leaguers receive nominations, including the Puckett’s Pond right handed reliever of the year, Nick Anderson and the left handed reliever of the year, Gabriel Moya, as well as righty John Curtiss.

Anderson pitched for high-A Fort Myers and AA Chattanooga on the season, splitting the season about 60% at AA and 40% at high-A. His total line was 44 appearances, 54 innings, a 4-1 record, 1.00 ERA, 0.78 WHIP, a 10/57 BB/K ratio, and 11 saves.

Gabriel Moya was acquired midseason from the Arizona Diamondbacks. He spent the entire minor league season in the Southern League, just moving to Chattanooga after the trade from Jackson. In total in the minors, he made 47 appearances with 58 1/3 innings pitched, with a 6-1 record and 24 saves, posting a 0.77 ERA, 0.77 WHIP, and a 15/87 BB/K ratio. Moya was promoted to the major leagues, making 7 appearances, throwing 6 1/3 innings, allowing a 4.26 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, and a 2/5 BB/K ratio, picking up a save.

Curtiss made an incredible impression on the season and likely is considered the top-rated prospect among the relievers in the Twins system, primarily due to his performance in 2017. Curtiss opened the season in AA Chattanooga, moving fairly quick to AAA Rochester before earning a bump up to the major leagues in mid-August. In the minors, he tallied a 2-0 record and 19 saves in 39 games, hurling 49 1/3 innings, posting a 1.28 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, and 22/68 BB/K. His major league time was scarred by a bad blow up, leading to a final line of an 8.31 ERA and 1.27 WHIP over 9 appearances and 8 2/3 IP with a 2/10 BB/K ratio. He did post a strikeout in all but one of his major league appearances, which is impressive, when you consider that he had three appearances of less than a full inning.

More from Puckett's Pond

Game of the Year

To be honest, I figured that Chattanooga would make an appearance on this list. What surprised me was that they only made one appearance! The Lookouts had a number of exciting wins that were back and forth with heavy intensity. On Star Wars night back in May, the Lookouts walked off on a walk against Pensacola, one of the better teams in the Southern League at the time. They won the championship game in tremendous walk off fashion (see video below). Yet the game chosen was a game from July 30th.

Birmingham and Chattanooga were locked in an excellent pitcher’s duel that evening when the Lookouts finally scratched together their first run of the game in the bottom of the 9th inning to tie the game at 1 and send it to extra innings. After 14 total players threw a pitch, including three position players combined between the two teams, the Lookouts walked off with a bases loaded walk in the bottom of the 21st inning. Outfielder Max Murphy ended up earning the victory on the night with an inning of scoreless baseball. He and utility man Alex Perez combined for 3 innings of hitless relief for the Lookouts to close out the game.

Team of the year

Those same Chattanooga Lookouts were one of the most dominating teams in all of minor league baseball this season, finishing as one of only 4 full-season teams with 90+ wins on the year, and they had the best winning percentage of the four. Only they and AAA Memphis finished off their 90+ win season with a league championship.

Next: Preview of Twins Free Agents

Best Farm System

The MILBY for best farm system has traditionally been awarded to the team whose farm system either 1) produced the best winning percentage across their minor league affiliates or 2) won the most league championships among their minor league affiliates. However, after recognizing that often winning isn’t a direct relation to the strength of the farm system, the MiLB staff added in a third element of having the most top prospects in the game to the list.

On the first two requirements, the Twins would do very well, as they led the entire minor leagues with a total winning percentage across all their affiliates of .592. The Twins were one of four organizations to win two league championships among its affiliates, with Chattanooga and Elizabethton winning titles. However, after graduating the young players that inhabit the major league roster from the minor league system, there was just one consistent Twins prospect on top 100 lists this offseason. The performance this season has as many as 5 possible players to make the top 100 this offseason, but that’s still significantly behind organizations like the Braves, Phillies, and White Sox, who have 8, 7, and 6 top 100 prospects currently and could add more this offseason.

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