• 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. twinsnorth49's Avatar
      twinsnorth49 -
      Arcia, just for the glimpses of hope he provided.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by Thegrin View Post
      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.
      It is. Consider that long run of success, typically there would be one, maybe two, rookies that came up and contributed to each team. Instead of them being the story, they were just a part of the story. They could fit in. They had veterans to learn from. There's a lot to be said about that.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by h2oface View Post
      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.
      That's kind of silly. They had a reliever who threw in 49 games and posted an ERA below two and a WHIP well below one. That's pretty noteworthy.

      They had another guy who posted an above average OPS and hit 14 home runs.
    1. roger's Avatar
      roger -
      Off topic question Seth, What has happened to Nate Roberts? After last year's wonderful AFL, he began this season again on the DL. I know he played a couple games mid-season for Fort Myers and then went back on the DL. Is his career done?
    1. jimbo92107's Avatar
      jimbo92107 -
      Caleb Thielbar for sure, with Oswaldo Arcia a respectable second. Thielbar's heater regularly tops 93mph, and his slider/curves are excellent secondaries. Better still, his tempo keeps his fielders awake, his delivery is very quick, and he attacks the zone early to get that vital first strike. Like Albers, plus 5 miles per hour.

      Arcia was fun to watch, although he had the typical rookie troubles trying to deal with pitchers that change speeds, which they do so much better in the show. Hopefully he will do what Brian Dozier did, take lessons from Bruno on delaying his swing without losing power.

      Aaron Hicks is going to be a star, that's my prediction. He's got all the right physical characteristics, and he's clearly highly intelligent. However, he appears to be the kind of guy that has to learn every detail about hitting, and then work his butt off with massive repetitions. He's not a "natural" hitter; he's going to have to make himself into one with careful study and lots of experience. Same is true with his base stealing. He's going to have to learn from a great teacher, and it will take time.

      Josmil Pinto is already there. Forget about his "rookie" year next season. Just put him behind the plate and get Joe Mauer the hell away from those damn foul tips. Pinto's hitting approach is already as good or better than Dozier's new one. He already knows how to delay his flip on off-speed stuff, something a lot of guys never learn.
    1. h2oface's Avatar
      h2oface -
      Quote Originally Posted by jimbo92107 View Post
      Aaron Hicks is going to be a star, that's my prediction. He's got all the right physical characteristics, and he's clearly highly intelligent. However, he appears to be the kind of guy that has to learn every detail about hitting, and then work his butt off with massive repetitions. He's not a "natural" hitter; he's going to have to make himself into one with careful study and lots of experience. Same is true with his base stealing. He's going to have to learn from a great teacher, and it will take time.
      I sure hope you are right, because right now he hits like the pitcher he could have been. In the outfield, it was sure a joy to see him do what Span was always afraid to do, and dive for the ball.
    1. Mr. Brooks's Avatar
      Mr. Brooks -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      That's kind of silly. They had a reliever who threw in 49 games and posted an ERA below two and a WHIP well below one. That's pretty noteworthy.

      They had another guy who posted an above average OPS and hit 14 home runs.
      Right, and that reliever still managed a whopping 0.5 WAR.
      Relievers just don't have enough impact on the game, IMO, to be considered for any type of award.
    1. BabyJesusBuxton's Avatar
      BabyJesusBuxton -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Brooks View Post
      Right, and that reliever still managed a whopping 0.5 WAR.
      Relievers just don't have enough impact on the game, IMO, to be considered for any type of award.
      Don't tell that to Dennis Eckersley, Eric Gagne, Neftali Feliz, or Craig Kimbrel. Your sentiment is fair and shared by others in the baseball community but I think relievers can have a large impact on the game and completely disagree with them not being eligible for awards, especially ROY awards.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by roger View Post
      Off topic question Seth, What has happened to Nate Roberts? After last year's wonderful AFL, he began this season again on the DL. I know he played a couple games mid-season for Fort Myers and then went back on the DL. Is his career done?
      He played one game for the Miracle. His knee swelled up after the game, and he had to have another knee surgery. Should be ready for spring, but it's tough. That's a lot of knee injury.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Brooks View Post
      Right, and that reliever still managed a whopping 0.5 WAR.
      Relievers just don't have enough impact on the game, IMO, to be considered for any type of award.
      But to say they had no one worthy of a Rookie award is silly. I don't rank relievers high (maybe high enough) in my prospect rankings, but they have an important job...
    1. Mr. Brooks's Avatar
      Mr. Brooks -
      Quote Originally Posted by BabyJesusBuxton View Post
      Don't tell that to Dennis Eckersley, Eric Gagne, Neftali Feliz, or Craig Kimbrel. Your sentiment is fair and shared by others in the baseball community but I think relievers can have a large impact on the game and completely disagree with them not being eligible for awards, especially ROY awards.
      Yeah, there are a handful of guys at any given time, out of ~200 active MLB relief pitchers that actually make a significant impact on the season. I guess I should have noted that disclaimer in my post.
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