• 2013 Twins Rookie of the Year: Who gets your vote?

    During the 2013 season, the Minnesota Twins promoted many players to the big leagues. Many of them were rookies. So, who would get your vote for the top performing rookie on the team in 2013?

    To keep it somewhat limited, I only looked at those rookies that were with the team for long enough that they will not be a rookies in 2014. In other words, Josmil Pinto will still be a rookie in 2014, so he and his impressive September will not be eligible (though, you can choose him as a write-in candidate in the comments below).

    So without further ado, here are the candidates:

    Aaron Hicks - After trading Denard Span and Ben Revere in the offseason, the Twins heavily touted Aaron Hicks as the future at centerfield. He came to spring training and hit very well and won the competition. Then things started to go bad. On Opening Day, Hicks struck out three times against Justin Verlander. He went on to hit .192/.259/.338 (.597) with 11 doubles, three triples, eight home runs and 27 RBI. He stole nine bases in 12 attempts. He struck out 84 times and walked 24 times in 81 games before he was optioned to Rochester. He did not return in September. WAR = -0.7.

    Oswaldo Arcia - A spring training injury meant that Arcia was not able to show his offensive skills as much as he would have wanted. However, within the first two weeks of the season, he was promoted. At times, he realized the potential that he has. Considering he struck out an amazing 31% of the time (117 times to go with just 23 walks), his 102 OPS+ is impressive considering his age. When he put the ball in play, he did some damage. Overall, in 97 games, he hit .251/.304/.430 (.734) with 17 doubles, 2 triples, 14 home runs and 43 RBI. WAR = -0.4.

    Chris Colabello - He was the story of the year in 2012 in the Twins farm system. This year, he was invited to big league spring training before starring for the surprising Team Italy in the WBC. He dominated AAA, and at age 29, earned his first big league promotion. In 160 at bats over 55 games, he hit .194/.287/.344 (.631) with three doubles, seven homers and 17 RBI. He did strike out 58 times. Again, he showed a rare power this year that makes him intriguing going forward. WAR = -0.2.

    Chris Herrmann - He had a mid-September promotion to the Twins in 2012. He made his AAA debut in 2013, but he was summoned to the big club in May when Wilkin Ramirez had his concussion. He certainly showed his defensive versatility, playing well behind the plate and in the two corner outfield positions. He had a couple of moments with his bat too. Overall, in 157 at bats over 57 games, he hit .204/.286/.325 (.611) with five doubles, two triples and three home runs. WAR = 0.2.

    Pedro Hernandez - The lefty was up and down with the Twins a few times throughout the season. With the big league club, he made 12 starts and twice came out of the bullpen. He went 3-3 with a 6.83 ERA, a 1.82 WHIP and a 5.54 FIP. In 56.2 innings, he gave up 80 hits, walked 23 and struck out 29.

    Ryan Pressly - The Twins acquired Pressly from the Red Sox organization in the Rule 5 draft. Very few Rule 5 picks remain with their drafting team, but Pressly became a success story. He pitched in 49 games for the Twins and went 3-3 with a 3.87 ERA, a 1.28 WHIP, and a 3.67 FIP. In 76.2 innings, he gave up 71 hits, walked 27 and struck out 49.

    Andrew Albers - Another tremendous story who has moved swiftly up the Twins system since signing out of the Can-Am League before the 2011 season. He was the Twins choice for minor league pitcher of the year, and he finally made his big league debut. In his first start, he went 8.1 scoreless innings. In his second start, he threw the team's only complete game shutout of the season. Overall, in his ten starts, he gave up 64 hits, walked seven and struck out 25 in 60 innings. He went 2-5 with a 4.05 ERA, a 1.18 WHIP, and a 3.96 FIP.

    Kyle Gibson - The 2009 top pick returned from Tommy John surgery and was able to hit a combined 150 innings this season. After coming up to the Twins in June, he made ten starts. He went 2-4 with a 6.53 ERA, a 1.75 WHIP and a 5.17 FIP. In 51 innings, he gave up 69 hits, walked 20 and struck out 29. He will come to big league camp in 2014 with a chance to be in the Opening Day rotation.

    Those are the candidates, with one exception. My choice for 2013 Twins Rookie of the Year is...

    photo by Betsy Bissen

    Caleb Thielbar - The Twins signed Thielbar from the St. Paul Saints late in the 2011 season. He moved up three levels in 2012 and then pitched in the Arizona Fall League before being added to the 40 man roster. He struggled in spring training, but it wasn't long into the season that he was summoned to the Twins.

    He made his big league debut on May 20 in Atlanta where he struck out three over two perfect innings. He did not give up a run until July 8th, a period that covered 17 games and 19.2 innings. Over the course of the rest of the season, he gave up more than one run just one time.

    Overall, he pitched in 49 games. He went 3-2 with a 1.76 ERA, a 0.83 WHIP and a 3.40 FIP. In 46 innings, he gave up just 24 hits, walked just 14 and struck out 39 (7.6 per nine innings).

    I talked to Thielbar on Saturday at Target Field. How did he feel about his rookie season? What did he learn? He said, "Just proving to myself that I can pitch at this level I think is a big deal."

    What was his key to success? "Just throwing strikes and getting ahead of guys. When I get ahead of guys, it's fine. I run into a little trouble when I fall behind guys. I think that's the main problem I've had at some points this year. I guess mixing all of the pitches has been real effective, just like in the minor leagues."

    Why is that so important, especially in the big leagues? "Everyone is good up here. Everyone is awesome!"

    The most important thing for all of these rookies is that now they have some big league experience. Every player who debuts has some struggles. It's a matter of what they learn and what they do with that information to make adjustments and become better in the long run.

    In 2014, there will be several more rookies making their debuts and going through their struggles as well. Wouldn't it be nice if it just came easily? That's not reality for the vast majority of big leaguers. So, every experience, good and bad, can provide value.

    So, you've seen the options, and you've seen my choice, now it's your turn. Who would you chose as the 2013 Twins Rookie of the Year, and why?
    This article was originally published in blog: 2013 Twins Rookie of the Year: Who gets your vote? started by Seth Stohs
    Comments 31 Comments
    1. Rez's Avatar
      Rez -
      I like your pick in Theilbar. He had good year overall and was outstanding at times. Unfortunately, I am afraid that most of his success can be attributed to help of some smoke and mirrors (i.e. Scott Diamond). I hope I am wrong in that he really does have the "stuff" to become a legitimate big league reliever or even a set-up type. I just don't think I see it in him.

      I will add that I did see glimpses of real talent in Arcia, Herrmann, Gibson, Pressly and even Hicks. *Fingers crossed*

      ugh... what an ugly season...
    1. ericchri's Avatar
      ericchri -
      Thielbar was the most consistently good for the entire season, and with this crop that probably earns him the honors. Here's hoping for improvement from all of them. Even tiny improvements from all of those players leads to a fair bit of improvement for the team.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      If we are talking about which rookie had the best season, it will be hard to argue against Thielbar. The problem is that what he did likely will not happen again (.175 BABIP, 4.14 xFIP). I think that the most promising rookie season was by Arcia first and Pinto (who I know was just a Sept call up) second. Unfortunately no Twins' rookies with be in the AL ROY discussions... Hopefully next season.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      You never know about Sophomore Slumps and such, but I think Thielbar's stuff is legit for a left-handed reliever. Fastball gets up to 92-93. Very good, sharp breaking pitch. Can be very tough on lefties. yes, there may have been some luck involved, and he'll have rough stretches like all relievers do, but I think he can be around for a while!

      Arcia showed a lot of flashes, and his upside is the highest of everyone we say this season. He should be very good, maybe All Star caliber, for a long time. He impressively had an OPS+ over 100 despite not putting the ball in play enough. It's clear that will be the thing that will determine just how good he can be.

      Hicks has very good upside as well, as a well-rounded player, and Gibson will be just fine as well. All three of them were top 5-6 prospects a year ago, for me at least. With the next group coming up, there can be some excitement!
    1. Don't Feed the Greed Guy's Avatar
      Don't Feed the Greed Guy -
      In 2012 we had a rookie shortstop named Tryin' Dozier.
      Methinks he was replaced in 2013 by a rookie second baseman, named Brian Dozier...

      If two or three of the rookies on Seth's list show that sort of Sophomore transformation, I'd be more than content (Hicks, Gibson, and Arcia, please...).
    1. Brandon's Avatar
      Brandon -
      Pressly was up for the whole season. Though Thielbar had the better stats while he was up. I am still going to go with Pressly on this one.
    1. DAM DC Twins Fans's Avatar
      DAM DC Twins Fans -
      I go with Arcia. Yes Colobello, Theilbar and Albers are feel-good stories. But Arcia is the only Twins rookie who showed he will be a building block for the future. (IMHO)
    1. tjsyam921's Avatar
      tjsyam921 -
      Thielbar was the most consistent all year so he gets my vote. Followed by Pressly and Arcia. Everyone on the list showed glimpses of good play but mostly poor and inconsistent. When that many players or pitchers are playing so inconsistent its hard for anyone to get picked up by others high level of play.
    1. roger's Avatar
      roger -
      Hey Seth, Although I am not surprised that you chose a reliever as your Rookie of the Year, will this carry over to your rankings? Will minor league relievers begin getting more favorable treatment in your rankings?
    1. spycake's Avatar
      spycake -
      This list almost seemed like a cruel joke until Thielbar. Negative WAR for all involved, except Albers (0.2 in 60 IP). (Hicks actually has positive WAR at BB-Ref, though -- Seth is apparently using Fangraphs numbers.)

      Luck or not, Thielbar has to win from this list. It should have been Arcia but man, that was a rough second half for him (he maintained his isolated power, but I just can't get past the defense and the SO:BB ratio).

      Actually, I think Pinto would be eligible to win both this year and next. He gets my write-in vote, and hopefully he wins it again next year. (And even more hopefully, he is no longer eligible in 2015!)
    1. Chance's Avatar
      Chance -
      Many day that September numbers don't really count because the other players are often callups themselves, but in Pinto's case, he was playing against many teams trying to clinch playoff births. He did a heck of a job against some great pitchers. With that said, I still think I would go Thielbar, Pressly, Arcia, then Pinto.
    1. Chance's Avatar
      Chance -
      Next season, Arcia for Twins POY!
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by roger View Post
      Hey Seth, Although I am not surprised that you chose a reliever as your Rookie of the Year, will this carry over to your rankings? Will minor league relievers begin getting more favorable treatment in your rankings?
      Fair question, and my cop-out answer is that it'll have to be a case-by-case thing. I can't see any current Twins relief pitching prospects in my top 15-20, including Tonkin. Zach Jones may rank highest for me.
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      Vote for Pedro!
    1. beyondclarity's Avatar
      beyondclarity -
      Agreed this is the best choice but I have one question:

      Can anyone explain the vast difference between ERA and FIP? To me that says he got lucky in his defense in order to keep his ERA that much lower than his FIP. There should be an inevitable correction coming, right?
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Quote Originally Posted by beyondclarity View Post
      Agreed this is the best choice but I have one question:

      Can anyone explain the vast difference between ERA and FIP? To me that says he got lucky in his defense in order to keep his ERA that much lower than his FIP. There should be an inevitable correction coming, right?
      an ungodly .175 BABIP
    1. BabyJesusBuxton's Avatar
      BabyJesusBuxton -
      Quote Originally Posted by Rez View Post
      I like your pick in Theilbar. He had good year overall and was outstanding at times. Unfortunately, I am afraid that most of his success can be attributed to help of some smoke and mirrors (i.e. Scott Diamond). I hope I am wrong in that he really does have the "stuff" to become a legitimate big league reliever or even a set-up type. I just don't think I see it in him.
      I agree with Seth's response to this. Also wanted to add that he throws all his pitches from the same 3/4 slot which makes pitch recognition difficult. I think he got a little lucky on his HR/FB rate this year but even if he does regress some I think his floor is a cheap and effective LOOGY for the foreseeable future.

      My pick would be Theilbar simply because of his effectiveness and lack of offensive or SP options. Arcia would be my next choice. I had these two flipped until the regression in the second half from Arcia and all his strikeouts/poor defense.
    1. snepp's Avatar
      snepp -
      Quote Originally Posted by Thrylos View Post
      an ungodly .175 BABIP
      Yup, at least .100 points lower than where you would expect it to be moving forward.



      Regardless, he'd probably get my vote.
    1. Thegrin's Avatar
      Thegrin -
      That is 9 rookies. 9. and we complain about the Twins record ? 9 rookies ! this is not counting Pinto & Tomkin. 9 rookies is sure a lot.
    1. h2oface's Avatar
      h2oface -
      Just as some years, no one gets voted into the Hall of Fame, I would vote for NO ROY for the Minnesota Twins. Sometimes, there just isn't a performance the justifies giving the award. This is one of those years. It should be a special award, not something given by default.
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