The Minnesota Twins' 2013 season was a disappointment as they finished with a 66-96 record for the second straight year. However, now that the season has been over for a few weeks, it's time to look back at the year that was and hand out end-of-year awards. Here are the players I felt were worthy of the following honors.
Position player of the year: C Joe Mauer
Honorable mention: 2B Brian Dozier
While Mauer missed the final month of the season due to a concussion, he was his consistent self at the plate this year for the Twins. The 30-year-old Mauer batted .324 with a .404 on-base percentage in 113 games in 2013. His 11 home runs were the most since he hit 28 in 2009. While Mauer's 47 RBI were fewer than recent years, part of it was due to those ahead of him in the batting order failing to reach base. Mauer's OPS of .880 was his highest since his MVP season in 2009 when he had an OPS of 1.031. He earned his sixth All-Star bid and split his time between catcher (75 games), designated hitter (29 games) and first base (8 games).
Dozier, meanwhile, led the Twins with 18 homers -- the most in a season by a Minnesota second baseman -- and drove in 66 runs, second-most behind Justin Morneau (74). The 26-year-old Dozier was also solid defensively at second base, a position he played full-time for the first time in his career.
Pitcher of the year: LHP Glen Perkins
Honorable mention: RHP Anthony Swarzak; RHP Samuel Deduno
Minnesota's starting rotation was a disappointment in 2013 after several additions in the offseason. However, the bullpen was a bright spot as the Twins' relievers shined. No reliever had a better year than closer Glen Perkins, who earned his first All-Star appearance of his career. In his first full season as Minnesota's closer, Perkins saved 36 games and posted a WHIP of 0.926. His 77 strikeouts were third-most among all Twins pitchers, trailing only starters Kevin Correia and Mike Pelfrey, who each struck out 101 batters in more than twice the innings Perkins pitched.
Swarzak was a valuable piece of the bullpen in 2013, nearly reaching 100 innings in relief (he fell just four innings shy). The Twins were able to turn to Swarzak in long relief throughout the entire season whenever a starter had a short outing. Deduno put up the best numbers of any starting pitcher, going 8-8 with a 3.83 ERA in 18 starts. His season was cut short due to injuries both at the beginning and end of the year, but he was solid when healthy.
Defensive player of the year: SS Pedro Florimon
Honorable mentions: Dozier; OF Aaron Hicks
Florimon locked down the starting shortstop job more so because of his glove than his bat. The 26-year-old Florimon had an Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) of 4.3 and had a team-high 12 defensive runs saved. In fact, those 12 runs saved ranked second among all major league shortstops, behind only Andrelton Simmons of Atlanta.
Hicks was a disappointment offensively, batting just .192 with 84 strikeouts in 81 games. But Hicks did put together a number of highlight reel catches in center field.
Rookie of the year: OF Oswaldo Arcia
Honorable mentions: LHP Caleb Thielbar; RHP Ryan Pressly
Arcia had a bit of an up-and-down season -- both literally and figuratively. He bounced between the majors and minors several times, but showed flashes of potential during his 97 big league games. Arcia hit 14 and drove in 44 runs, but his strikeout total (117 times in 351 at-bats) is a sign that the 22-year-old outfielder still has an adjustment process to make before becoming a full-time major leaguer.
Thielbar was a bit of an unknown prior to this year, as he previously pitched for the St. Paul Saints before signing with the Twins. He had a 1.76 ERA in 46 innings of relief in his first big league season. Pressly was also impressive as a rookie reliever, pitching 76 23 innings and posting a 3.87 ERA.
Minor leaguer of the year: OF Byron Buxton
This was such a runaway for Buxton that there's no honorable mention for this category. The former No. 2 overall pick in 2012 made headlines all season in his first full year in the minors. At just 19 years old, Buxton was promoted to High-A Fort Myers midway through the season after tearing up the Midwest League with Low-A Cedar Rapids. In 125 games combined between the two leagues, Buxton batted .334 with 12 homers, 18 triples and 55 stolen bases. Buxton has become the toast of the Twins' farm system, earning the coveted Minor League Player of the Year award from Baseball America.
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