The Minnesota Twins had a good corner infield duo in 2017, but who tops the list as the best corner infields all-time for the Twins?
The Minnesota Twins have a history that is filled with plenty of successes, headlined by World Series victories in 1987 and 1991. Of course, there are plenty of seasons we would like to forget as well. Here is the third part of a series where we have been going through the top five of different position groups through Twins history. So far we have covered the outfield and middle infield. Next up is the best corner infield pairs.
The 2017 Twins had their own pretty good pair of corner infielders. They may not have been historically good but were still a solid tandem that surely helped move the Twins back into the playoffs. While Eduardo Escobar did a great job stepping out of his utility role to fill in at third base after Miguel Sano‘s leg injury. It is hard not to imagine what might have been if Sano would have been healthy down the stretch and for the Wild Card playoff game.
Sano started the season off red-hot and was one of the big reasons the Twins did as well as they did in 2017. Through May, Sano slashed .292/.406/.590 and a .996 OPS with 12 home runs. That put him well on his way to his first All-Star appearance as well as an invitation to the Home Run Derby where Sano finished second to Aaron Judge. When the season finished Sano held a slash line of .264/.352/.507 and hit 28 home runs on the season.
While Sano went out with an injury, 2017 felt like the first year that Joe Mauer finally had recovered from or at least adjusted to the brain injury he suffered years ago. Mauer at the plate hit .305/.384/.417 and 36 doubles. Mauer also added great defense at his position even though he seemed to be snubbed out of a Gold Glove award at season’s end. His defense likely helped others around the infield look as good as they did. Evidence of that is FanGraphs has Mauer credited with 26 scoops in 2017.
If you have been following along with this series you already know that WAR makes up a considerable part of creating this list. Mauer (2.5 WAR) and Sano (3.4 WAR) fall just short of the list with the combined 5.9 WAR. Along with WAR other measurements will be considered along the way as well to help put together the list of best corner infields in Twins history.