2006 Awards

Published: Oct 02, 2006 6:30 AM

It's pretty impressive that the Twins have people in the running for virtually every big award this season. Two of them are official or very probable:

AL Batting Title

Joe Mauer clinched the batting title with a 2-4 performance on Sunday that gave him a 4 point lead over second-place Derek Jeter. Mauer actually led all of baseball in batting average.

AL Cy Young

It's not official yet, but there's no one that's mentioning anyone but Santana in the AL Cy Young discussion. It will be Santana's second Cy Young in 3 years and he probably would've won last year's award with a little more offensive support behind him.

Other awards are possible but less likely.

AL MVP

Justin Morneau is second only to David Ortiz in RBI with 130 and in addition to that batted .321. The Twins season turned around at the same time Morneau turned around his season. Without him the Twins probably aren't in the playoffs.

Many stat-heads argue that Joe Mauer has been slightly more productive for the Twins than Morneau. The fact is, MVP voters prefer RBI and Mauer can't match Morneau in that category.

Some have also argued that Johan should be an MVP. It's certainly true that Johan is the best player on the Twins and they wouldn't be a playoff team without him. However, it takes a lot for a pitcher to win the MVP and Johan faltered a bit in his final starts.

Derek Jeter is likely still the favorite nationwide pick for MVP and I'm certainly not going to complain if he gets the award. He put up some amazing numbers this season and certainly deserves the award as much as anyone.

Manager of the Year

The Manager of the year award was basically handed to Jim Leyland in June and he'll still probably win the award, but I disagree with him winning it. His team had a massive lead with just a month to remain in the season and they went on to choke in historic fashion. Now they're limping into the playoffs as the wildcard.

Ron Gardenhire and Terry Ryan were probably a little slow in making the moves that eventually led to the Twins turnaround, but they did finally make the moves and deserve credit for doing so. Gardenhire managed the Twins to won of the most unexpected comebacks in history, and that certainly deserves some consideration for manager of the Year.

Joe Torre also led the Yankees from a poor start early in the season to baseball's best record. However, it's hard to give the award to a guy that has nothing but veteran All-Stars on his team and has a $200 million payroll to work with.

Rookie of the Year

Lirian looked like a leading candidate for Rookie of the Year until he went down with his injury. He hasn't played enough to merit serious consideration, but he definitely was one of the most dominant rookies to take the field this year. Justin Verlander of the Tigers will almost surely win this award.


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