The Minnesota Twins had a prolific season at the plate and their efforts were rewarded with two players earning American League Silver Slugger Awards.
The Minnesota Twins had a historic season at the plate in 2019 and two of the biggest reasons why were the impact of Nelson Cruz and Mitch Garver. While the Twins took a giant leap forward as a team, both Cruz and Garver took a large step individually and were rewarded with American League Silver Slugger Awards on Thursday.
The award recognizes the player from each league that was the top offensive player at their position. While there were certainly more players that could have received the honor on a team that set the mark for most home runs in a single season, both Cruz and Garver were more than deserving of the hardware.
Cruz made the biggest impact for the Twins turning them from a decent team on the rise to the Bomba Squad almost overnight. Cruz’s 41 home runs and 108 RBI led the team and his .311 average was his best mark since hitting .318 for the Texas Rangers in 2010. After the Twins picked up his option for 2020, it’s safe to say they made a wise investment in the 39-year old last winter as he shows no signs in slowing down.
While some may have seen Cruz’s monster season coming thanks to his track record, the same can’t be said for Garver. After being a decent offensive catcher with some issues at the plate, Garver took the criticism to heart improving both at the plate and behind it.
As his pitch framing helped a Twins staff overachieve in the first half of the season, Garver’s offense lasted throughout the season as he set a Minnesota franchise record for home runs from a catcher (31) while also hitting .273 and driving in 67 RBI.
Those numbers may not have given the Twins the ending they wanted from their 2019 season, but it also was their best in recent memory in terms of this award. Garver and Cruz are the first Twins duo to win the award in the same season since Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer did it in 2008.