My Favorite Non-Twins

Things have been a little down around here lately, and not necessarily without reason. But let's not lose sight of the fact that, at it's heart, baseball is fun. And in that spirit, here is my lineup of my favorite non-Twins. Here are my guidelines:

  1. Players cannot currently employed by the Twins
  2. Players can be either NL or AL players
  3. One each of LF-CF-RF (Sorry Adam Jones & Cutch)
  4. As we support an AL team, there is a DH
    • This DH can be any player whatsoever

These are just my favorite players to watch. Not the best, not who I would build a team around, just guys who in their own way bring me some measure of joy when I watch them play ball. And of course, there is no accounting for taste. So y'all should share your favorites too. Follow my rules or don't, it's up to you. I'm not your mother.

WARNING: GIFs abound after the jump

Presented in "1-9+DH" order

Yu Darvish
We get the Rangers on our FSN down here in Austin. I've probably seen more of his starts than any other pitcher this year. Each and every time out, he gets a guy to swing at a pitch that by all accounts shouldn't move the way it does. And to top it off, he threw an eephus once.

H/T Deadspin

Yadier Molina
Now that Mauer moved to first base, he's disqualified from this spot in two ways. Molina was the only other player in the running. I love a good, solid defensive player, and Molina is the best at the hardest position on the diamond.

Justin Morneau
This was actually the second hardest position to pick for me, after left field. Eventually I went with The Mountie for sentimental reasons

Jose Altuve
As we discussed in the ASG thread, the man has a unit of measurement named after him. I dig that.

NB:Munenori Kawasaki nearly got this spot for this interview alone, but that wasn't quite enough to put him over of a unit of measurement. Plus, Altuve is the much better player.

Pablo Sandoval

Things I like**:

  • The movie Kung Fu Panda
  • Guys who look like they fit the "ballplayer, not an athlete" mold, but are actually really good at baseball

Check and Check.

**Non-exhaustive list

Andrelton Simmons
When I was little, I would watch Dad's TWIB VHS at any opportunity, to the point the tape physically wore out. It had this little segment on Ozzie Smith. I practically have it memorized.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCwNNqgrKOM

This play by Simmons makes me think of that Smith play, for the quick reaction to the change in the ball's direction

Raul Ibanez

The current list of Ibanez fielding GIFs on Lookout Landing

Like I said above, these guys aren't necessarily the best. But you never know when you'll get an Ibanez Special, so that counts for something. Also, left fielders are hard to pick.

Billy Hamilton

H/T SB Nation

I once wrote* half a song* about the guy. (*Terms used loosely)

Yasiel Puig

H/T Deadspin

I haven't been around as long as a bunch of you guys, so I don't know how much weight this carries, but Puig has the most pure athletic talent of anyone I can remember since Bo Jackson. I have no doubt Puig could have been a two-sport athlete if they had fútbol Americano in Cuba.

Giancarlo Stanton

Just look at his Home Run Tracker page.

Serious, serious distance on those bombs.


I hope y'all had fun going through this. I sure had fun making it. Even when things aren't going well for the Hometown 9, remember there are 28 other teams out there worth watching (plus the White Sox).

26 thoughts on “My Favorite Non-Twins”

  1. I hadn't realized until the ASG that Giancarlo Stanton's name is pronounced "John-Carlo", not "Jiyan-Carlo"

  2. 1. Greinke (King Felix was a close second). I adore under-appreciated aces. Plus Greinke dealt with the depression and anxiety issues, got crap for being afraid to pitch in a big market, and is now thriving in L.A. Hah! Take that Greinke critics.

    2. Lucroy. Dude has been awesome for my fantasy teams, and I've developed some love.

    3. Morneau.

    4. Cano? Because Cano is the guy who got Yankees fans to complain about a player bolting for more money.

    5. Ryan Zimmerman. He was their one franchise player during my time in D.C., so I got on board with that.

    6. Tulowitzki. The guy is just good. Sometimes that needs to be appreciated.

    7. Bryce Harper. I like the grit. And the ability.

    8. GoGo. People who play passionately get my love.

    9. Puig. Dido.

    DH: Trout.

    1. I put Lucroy on there because he hit the home run that got the trinket on tv (at least, I am pretty sure it was him. There was a lot of runs scored that game.)

  3. 1. Neshek!!!!!
    2. Pierzynski. I love guys who revel in their jackassery. (Clint Dempsey, Sawyer, etc.)
    3. Morneau.
    4. I'll put Ben Zobrist here because he's awesome and plays 2b as much as anywhere else. Otherwise, maybe Ian Kinsler for the way he trolled the Rangers.
    5. Adrian Beltre is about the most fun player to watch in baseball. Such a weirdo, but so good.
    6. Tulo
    7. Alex Gordon is fun to watch hit, and I love his D.
    8. Gomez works for me!
    9. Joey Bats is playing RF now, right? It's fun seeing him taking advantage of "pitching to impact."
    DH. Manny Machado is super-exciting.

    1. I love guys who revel in their jackassery. (Clint Dempsey, Sawyer, etc.)

      So now you're a John Terry fan? :o)

  4. 1. Neshek. (though Aroldis Chapman is something that needs to be experienced)
    2. Bryan Holaday, because he played for the Beetles a few years ago
    3. Morneau
    4. I'll go with Altuve here.
    5. Longoria
    6. Tulo
    7. Yoenis Cespedes, though Ibanez almost makes it for his GIFs
    8. You're going to make me choose between GoGo and Billy Hamilton?? I'll go with Billy Hamilton, but that Gomez bat break fail GIF from earlier makes me want to change my mind.
    9. Puig
    D. Trout - I know I should probably put Gomez here since I raved about CF being a two player race, only to toss in a third player at the last minute, but meh.

  5. I'd have to think real hard to come up with a lineup of current players, as I don't follow baseball as closely as I did in my yout.

    Historically, however, I've got a smattering to share:

    C: Johnny Bench. I was a big fan of the Big Red Machine back in the day. Johnny was the best player on the best team.
    1b: George "Boomer" Scott. I got caught up in Tatermania for a while.
    2b: Eh.
    3b: Brooks Robinson. I liked Ron Cey a lot too, but for me, Brooks was the Arnold Palmer of his day. Pudgily charismatic, and a vacuum cleaner.
    SS: I don't have a lot of commitment here. So many guys back in the day were no-hit glove guys: Patek, Bowa, Foli, Belanger. Pick one.
    LF: Joe Rudi. His catch(es) off the wall in the World Series stand out in my mind.
    CF: Cesar Cedeno. He was like Alberto Juantorena: a thoroughbred.
    RF: Dwight Evans. Cannon arm and, did you know, his career OPS+ was 127, all of one point lower than that of "most feared hitter of his generation," Jim Rice? And his rWAR total (66.9) faaar outstrips Rice's 47.4.
    DH: Eh. I'll throw Rusty Staub in here, even though he was mostly a real baseball player. I liked Rusty.
    RHP: Tom Seaver. Didn't everyone love Tom Seaver? I know I did.
    LHP: Ron Guidry. Louisiana Lightning was fun to watch. And I hadn't learned to hate the Yankees yet.
    RP: Al Hrabosky. Bodacious facial hair, more tics than Joe Nathan, and ridiculously effective in 1975. Did he really never make the playoffs with the Cardinals? That seems unpossible.

    1. No Lewwww Ford??

      I have to go with Sandberg at second. But then there's the Cubs Factor.

      When it comes to picking RF, look past the Sawks and go with Dave Parker. OPS+ 121

      Assists as RF:
      1976 NL 12 (3rd)
      1977 NL 26 (1st)
      1978 NL 12 (3rd)
      1979 NL 16 (2nd)
      1980 NL 14 (2nd)
      1985 NL 10 (4th)
      1986 NL 10 (5th)
      1987 NL 12 (4th)
      Career 137 (20th)

    2. Ok, going back to non-active players:

      RHP: El Duque - I just loved his charisma and the fact that he threw about 20 different pitches
      LHP: Jim Abbott was really cool to watch pitch
      C: Um... there was something crainwreckish about Ron Karkovice because he would strike out all the time and looked hideous
      1b: Will Clark: the swing and the name were enough to hook me
      2b: Ryne Sandburg (see Andre Dawson comment)
      3b: Wes Helms. In the summer of 2002 I was living with a Braves fan, who, very loudly, would refer to Wes Helms as "The Bane of My Existence" during every game we had on TBS
      Ss: Tony Fernandez: those old Blue Jays uniforms of the 1980s were so great, and nobody seemed cooler and smoother in it than Fernandez
      Lf: Mark Quinn: dude couldn't catch a flyball in the Metrodome to save his life
      Cf: Gotta be Junior Griffey.
      Rf: Andre Dawson - I watched a LOT of Cubs games on WGN with my cousin whenever I visited Omaha as a kid. I remember one time we were listening on the radio in a Taco Bell drive-thru a few blocks from my aunt's house when Dawson got ejected and threw ALL the bats from the dugout on the field in protest. My cousin sped out of the drive-thru leaving the food behind so fast to rush home and watch it and it was hilarious. Someone please find a newspaper article or something so I can reassure myself I'm not making this up.
      Dh: Mickey Tettleton was awesome with the strange batting stance, and the love of the Three True Outcomes
      Closer: I always thought Tom Henke looked hilariously nonthreatening as a kid, yet he was so effective.

        1. Thank you Beau! I totally remember Dibble also doing that! What a ridiculous game.

        1. Yes, I'm aware of that, but dude - his name was Will and he was a lefty playing first base!

  6. 1. Grienke - I always thought he'd be a great Twin. Was sorry that the Twins couldn't sign him.
    2. Y. Molina - The guy is loved in STL, underrated by the rest of the league.
    3. Morneau - c'mon, is there anyone else?
    4. N. Walker - really don't know on this one
    5. Beltre? don't know
    6. Hardy - wish the Twins would've kept him
    7. Cespedes (is he LF?)
    8. Gomez - always liked his spirit. Wish the Twins would've kept him
    9. Cuddyer - I'll pick him over Puig any day
    10. David Ortiz - he's the one player I thought of for this list. I just love his approach, his clutchness. Yeah, it sucks that he does it for Boston now, but still that man is a leader.

  7. No time to comment in-depth, but off the top of my head:
    1. Kershaw
    2. Posey*
    3. Morneau
    4. Utley
    5. Beltre
    6. Hardy
    7. Choo
    8. Gomez
    9. Pence
    DH. Trout

    * Pierzynski a close second which is funny, because I really disliked him for a number of his years with Chicago.

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