Minnesota Twins Opening Day Countdown: 20 triples by Cristian Guzman
By Nate Palmer
The Minnesota Twins are just 20 days away from Opening Day in Baltimore. As we near that day, here is more Twins history related to that number.
The Minnesota Twins are preparing for a 2018 season with expectation after making the playoffs in 2017 as a Wild Card team. We will highlight numbers from team history that represent the number of days until Opening Day on March 29th in Baltimore.
The countdown is about to round into the teens but has to go through 20 first. Today we will remember a player who was plenty good at rounding bases. He was also the last regular shortstop the Twins had before the carousel got spinning at the position. Today we celebrate the 20 triples that Cristian Guzman recorded during the 2000 season.
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Guzman was signed out of the Dominican Republic by the New York Yankees the summer of 1994. He was then part of the package for Chuck Knoblauch and came to Minnesota along with Brian Buchanan, Eric Milton, and Danny Mota before the 1998 season. On April 6, 1999, Guzman would make his major league debut. Playing 131 games with the Twins that season.
Guzman and his historically good triples
Guzman would follow up his rookie campaign by playing 156 games for the Twins. He would go ahead and hit .247/.299/.388 and add to his stat line 8 home runs, 25 doubles, 28 stolen bases, and of course his league-leading 20 triples. Not only did Guzman’s 20 triples lead the 2000 season, it is tied for the third most triples in a season in the expansion era (since 1961). He is tied with Jimmy Rollins (2007) and bested by Curtis Granderson (23 in 2007), Lance Johnson (21 in 1996), and Willie Wilson (21 in 1985).
Guzman would better his 2000 season with a career year in 2001. In that season he would hit .302/.337/.477 adding 10 home runs, 28 doubles, 25 stolen bases, and his second year of leading the league in triples with 14. That led Guzman to his first of two All-Star appearances in his career. He even received some MVP consideration for his 2001 campaign.
The Twins shortstop would lead the American League in triples a total of three times in his career. The third and final time coming in 2003 when he would once again hit 14 triples. Guzman would continue as the Twins shortstop through the 2004 season when at season’s end he would become a free agent. He would then choose to sign with the Washington Nationals.
Next: Twins improve pitching staff by adding Lance Lynn
Washington is where Guzman would finish most of his career outside of a short stint with the Texas Rangers in 2010 after being traded for Tanner Roark and Ryan Tatusko. Guzman is still the last regular shortstop that played several seasons in a row that the Twins have rostered, something Jorge Polanco is hoping to change this season. As we hit 20 in the countdown, we remember a historically good 20 triples from Cristian Guzman.