With the Minnesota Twins announcing their team awards last week, it’s time to announce the Puckett’s Pond team Awards, voted on by all of our contributors.
The Minnesota Twins officially wrapped up their season almost a month ago now, but the Twins just announced their Diamond Award Winners, the yearly celebration of the best that the team has to offer.
This felt like a good time to pick the award winners for the Minnesota Twins this season. I had each of the contributors (myself included) fill out a list of their personal award winners for the Twins this season. Here’s the awards list:
- Silver Slugger (Offensive Player of the Year)
- Gold Glove (Defensive Player of the Year)
- Rookie of the Year
- Comeback Player of the Year
- Most Improved Player
- Cy Young
- Reliever of the Year
- Biggest Disappointment
I got a variety of different answers for some of the questions, while also receiving near-unanimous answers for a couple of the other ones. With that in mind, here are the Puckett’s Pond awards for the 2020 season.
Minnesota Twins MVP: Byron Buxton and Kenta Maeda (2 Votes Each)
Others receiving votes: Nelson Cruz (1 Vote)
Surprised? Don’t be. When you get down to it, the two players who received the most votes were central to the team’s overall success, a lot more than Nelson Cruz. While Nelson Cruz was easily the best player offensively, his lack of a defensive contribution hurt him here.
Kenta Maeda was an ace for the team and won a lot of games for the Twins, while Byron Buxton was INCREDIBLE defensively and very good on offense. All three players were phenomenal, but Buxton and Maeda were very good in different ways. With that being said, Cruz won the Diamond Award as the Most Valuable Twin, so the argument could be made.
Minnesota Twins Silver Slugger Award (Offensive Player of the Year): Nelson Cruz (5 Votes)
This one was unanimous. Greg, Theodore, C.J., Billy, and I all agreed on this one, as Cruz finished in the Top 3 of every offensive category for the Twins while being the only player to add on any offense in the postseason. No one can possibly have another argument for this award.
Minnesota Twins Gold Glove Award (Defensive Player of the Year): Byron Buxton (5 Votes)
Once again, unanimous. Buxton is one of the best players in the league defensively, and is a finalist for the Gold Glove in center field. He consistently makes the players around him so much better all while making almost every play that comes his way. Josh Donaldson has a similar effect, but not nearly as high impact as Buck. This was an easy one.
Minnesota Twins Cy Young Award: Kenta Maeda (5 Votes)
I promise, at one point, we’ll have another split vote. Maeda should finish second in American League Cy Young voting behind Shane Bieber (who has been absolutely mind-blowingly good), so there’s once again no question here. Maeda absolutely killed it in 2020.
Minnesota Twins Rookie of the Year: Ryan Jeffers (5 Votes)
This is the last unanimous vote for the Twins, as we all agreed on this one pretty easily too. Ryan Jeffers was an excellent backstop in 2020 and has set himself up nicely to be the catcher of the future going forward. Randy Dobnak and Jorge Alcala, also earn mention here, but neither was as good Jeffers was. He was a breakout star.
Minnesota Twins Comeback Player of the Year: Caleb Thielbar (3 Votes)
Others receiving votes: Eddie Rosario and Tyler Clippard (1 Vote Each)
This was a little bit of an interesting one as Greg (Rosario) and Theodore (Clippard) went a different direction then the rest of us. There were several different options to go with on this Twins team, and both Rosario and Clippard made impressive jumps in year two.
Despite those deserving candidates, Caleb Thielbar takes the cake for this one. Prior to 2020, Thielbar had not pitched in the major leagues since 2015, and even then he wasn’t fantastic. This year, he earned an A+ for his full season grade and pitched to a 2.25 ERA, a 1.150 WHIP, a 22-9 K-BB ratio and a 2.34 FIP. He was fantastic. This kind of comeback story deserves this award.
Minnesota Twins Most Improved Player Award: Matt Wisler (2 Votes)
Others receiving votes: Byron Buxton, Jose Berrios, and Tyler Duffey (One Vote Each)
This one was also very broken up. Billy and I went with Matt Wisler, as he made some massive steps forward in 2020. Buxton played really well in 2020 and Duffey went from good reliever to elite. There were plenty of great options, but Wisler’s two votes win out. Wisler got significantly better in 2020 with Wes Johnson coaching him up. That’s good stuff.
Minnesota Twins Reliever of the Year: Tyler Duffey (4 Votes)
Others receiving votes: Wisler (One Vote)
Tyler Duffey absolutely blew through almost every opponent he faced in a lot of high leverage situations, working through almost every opportunity he got to dominate in 2020. His excellent 2020 earns him a near unanimous vote.
The only opposing vote was for Matt Wisler by Theodore, which is a pretty reasonable choice as well. Wisler led the team in ERA and outperformed Duffey in strikeouts per nine innings, but that also came in lower leverage situations. That’s why Duffey is the choice here.
Biggest Minnesota Disappointment: Mitch Garver (4 Votes)
Others receiving votes: Miguel Sano (One Vote)
Our only negative award was a well-deserved one. Mitch Garver took a MAJOR step back in every way offensively in 2020 after a Silver Slugger season in 2019. He comes into 2021 in a fight for the primary starting job at catcher and that shouldn’t have been the case after 2019. This next year will determine if that was a fluke.