The Minnesota Twins have now completed 60 years of baseball. It is year 9 of putting my pet project on the WGOM site, and this year I've partnered with Seth Stohs of Twinsdaily.com to create an e-book to go along with the rankings (see details below).
2020 obviously has been a strange year and dealing with the short season has made it difficult to determine how the top300 list should be affected. Not a lot of plate appearances and innings pitched as normal, but it still was a division championship team that saw a few jumps to the list and 3 newcomers. This year's newcomers are Kenta Maeda, Randy Dobnak, and Caleb Thielbar.
In the top 100, Eddie Rosario moved up into the top50 in what could have been his final season as a Twin. He lands at #47, up 13 spots. Miguel Sano moves up 1 spot to #60 and Jorge Polanco moves up 3 spots to #62. Right on their heels are Max Kepler (up 13 spots) at #64 and Nelson Cruz (up 22 spots) at #69. Also moving up within the top100 is Byron Buxton (up 15 spots) at #78 and Jose Berrios (up 1 spot) at #82.
Zero movement in the 101-150 range as Taylor Rogers (115), Mitch Garver (130), and Jake Odorizzi (134) all stay in the same spot with disappointing seasons.
Luis Arraes jumps up 21 spots to #171 and Jake Cave moves up 2 spots to #194. Michael Pineda moves up 15 spots to #203, while Ehire Adrianza drops one spot to #206. Marwin Gonzalez moves up one spot to #219, while Trevor May and Tyler Duffey move up several spots to #253 nad #256 respectively.
Kenta Maeda is the highest ranked newcomer coming in at #223. At 66 innings pitched, he has the least amount of innings of any pitcher in the top300, but with so many accolades and top10 statistical appearances in the short season he jumped up the list pretty high for only 11 starts. Randy Dobnak (#293) and Caleb Thielbar (#296) just sneak into the top300.
Falling out of the top300 this year are Terry Muholland, Larry Casian, and Martin Perez.
I stole the idea from when Aaron Gleeman started his top40 list over a decade ago, but just decided to expand to a nice big round 300. The below quote is his, and the rest is an excerpt from a book I put together at the 50 year mark. I’ve updated the list and stats through 2020.
“The rankings only include time spent playing for the Minnesota Twins. In other words, David Ortiz doesn’t get credit for turning into one of the best players in baseball after joining the Red Sox and Paul Molitor doesn’t get credit for being one of the best players in baseball for the Brewers and Blue Jays. The Twins began playing on April 11, 1961, and that’s when these rankings start as well.”
I used a variety of factors, including longevity and peak value. Longevity included how many years the player was a Twin as well as how many plate appearances or innings pitched that player had in those years. For peak value, I looked at their stats, honors, and awards in their best seasons, as well as how they compared to their teammates. Did they lead their team in OPS or home runs or ERA for starters or WPA? If so, that got some bonus points. I factored in postseason heroics, awards (gold gloves, silver sluggers, MVPs, Cy Youngs), statistical achievements (batting titles, home run leaders, ERA champs, etc), and honors (all star appearances), and I looked at team success as well. If you were the #1 starter on a division winning champ, that gave you more points than the #1 starter on a cellar dweller. I looked at some of the advanced stats like WPA, WAR (as calculated by fan graphs and baseball-reference.com), WARP (as calculated by Baseball Prospectus), and Win Shares (as calculated by Bill James). For hitters, I also looked at OPS and the old school triple crown statistics like batting average, home runs, stolen bases, and RBI (and not only where you finished within the AL in any given year, but where you appear on the top25 lists amongst all Twins in the last 60 years). For pitchers I looked at strikeouts, innings pitched, win/loss percentage, ERA as well as ERA+). If there was a metric that was used for all 60 years of Twins history, I tried to incorporate it. I tended to give more credit to guys who were starters instead of part time/platoon players, more credit to position players over pitchers (just slightly, but probably unfairly) and starters over relievers (and closers over middle relievers). There’s no formula to my magic, just looking at a lot of factors and in the end going with the gut in all tie-breakers. Up in the top10 I’m looking at All star appearances, Cy Young and MVP votes, batting average or ERA titles or top10 finishes, etc, and placement in the top25 hitting and pitching lists in Twins history as well. In the middle 100s, it’s more about who started a few more years or had 2 good seasons rather than 1 with possibly an occasional all-star berth or top10 finish in SB or strikeouts. Once you’re in the latter half of the 200s there are none of those on anyone’s resume, so its basically just looking at peak season in OPS+ or ERA+, WAR, Win Shares, and who started the most years, had the most at bats, or pitched the most innings. What the player did as a coach, manager, or broadcaster is not taken into consideration for this list, so Billy Martin, Tom Kelly or Billy Gardner weren’t able to make the top 300 since they were poor players and Frank Quilici and Paul Molitor didn’t improve his status due to his managing career.
Feel free to pick it apart and decide in your opinion, who was slighted, and who's overrated.
Also, if you are interested in the e-book that expands on the list in great detail, please visit the below link at Twinsdaily to purchase. Go Twins!