Who is the all time Twins' most valuable player?

I do know that this a fairly controversial question and there are probably 4-5 players who will roll off any Twins' fans' tongue in any order and the answer could be alright. On the other hand, the answer to this question is somewhat meaningless, if there was not a single thing to consider: Lifetime achievement awards by the club, such as retiring of a number (as the Twins did for Tom Kelly recently) or induction to the team's Hall of Fame (as the Twins did for Camilo Pasqual recently). So this is really mostly an exercise. And I am looking at the Minnesota years of the franchise at the moment. There are a whole bunch of ways of looking at it, but here is what I am doing:

I am looking at the single season Wins Above Replacement (Using the Baseball-Reference way to calculate) leader(s) for the Twins and making a list of them, starting with the players who led the Twins in single season WAR more times and ending with the players who led the team in single season WAR only one season. The listings within the groups are alphabetical. I am also using the following designations to clarify a few points:

* = baseball hall of fame member
italics = Twins' hall of fame member
underline = number retired by the Twins
# = active player
bold - highest WAR by a Twins' player

Here is the list:

4 Times:

#Joe Mauer: (2006: 7.0; 2008 8.7; 2009: 7.5; 2010: 5.9)

3 Times:

*Rod Carew: (1975: 8.2; 1976: 7.2; 1977: 10.9)
*Harmon Killebrew: (1961: 5.5; 1967: 7.1; 1969: 6.1)
Chuck Knoblauch: (1995: 6.5; 1996: 8,8; 1997: 6.4)
*Kirby Puckett: (1988: 7.2; 1989: 4.3; 1992: 6.7)
Brad Radke: (1997: 4.7; 1998: 5.7; 1999: 5.5)
#Johan Santana: (2004: 7.5; 2005: 6.3; 2007: 4.9)

2 Times:

Bob Allison: (1963: 7.5; 1964: 6.2)
*Bert Blyleven: (1973: 9.2; 1974: 7.2)
Doug Corbett: (1980: 5.9, 1981: 2.5)
Kent Hrbek: (1984: 5.4; 1985: 2.5)
Kevin Tapani: (1991: 2.8; 1993: 2.8)
Tony Oliva: (1966: 6.6; 1970: 7.4)

1 Time:

#Scott Baker: (2011: 3.9)
Tom Brunanksy: (1982: 5.0)
John Castino: (1983: 4.0)
Gary Gaetti: (1986: 5.3)
Greg Gagne: (1990: 2.8)
Dave Goltz: (1978: 6.1)
Jacque Jones: (2002: 4.9)
Corey Koskie: (2003: 4.7)
Jerry Koosman: (1979: 6.5)
Shane Mack: (1994: 4.0)
Joe Mays: (2001: 5.9)
Camilo Pascual: (1962: 5.7)
C├ęsar Tovar: (1968: 4.4)
Zoilo Versalles: (1965: 7.6)
Frank Viola: (1987: 7.6)

And a couple of comments:

  • The more I look into these type of historic lists, the more I am impressed by the way Joe Mauer looks among Hall of Fame caliber past players

  • Retiring numbers and Twins' HOF elections are very subjective. Case in point: Chuck Knoblauch, whose position in this list shows that he deserves to be at least in the Twins' HOF. On the other hand the way he left, does not bode well... I wonder how the Twins' brass will view Johan Santana 5-10 years from now

I'd love your thoughts on this


Andrew said...

Great list. As usual, Mauer already really stacks up. I imagine, over the next 7 years in the contract, that he's going to add at least 1 or 2 more WAR leader years to this list.

It's interesting that Radke was there three times -- I guess it speaks as much to his consistency as it does to the overall quality of the guys that Kelly was forced to field and call it an MLB team.

thrylos98 said...

I think that Radke was the best in bad teams, but his WAR numbers those seasons were not that bad (like Tapani's who is on the list twice). Actually Radke's number were overall better than Hrbek's.