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Picking One Twins Player to Start a Franchise

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When a club is in the rebuilding process like the Minnesota Twins, it can be tough to know which players need to stay and which players need to go. Fans are connected to a lot of the players that have been here for multiple seasons and it can be tough for the team to part ways with some fan favorites.

In the end, it is up to Terry Ryan to decided what is best for the future of the franchise. He had to make the tough decision to trade away Denard Span and Ben Revere this offseason. Those were tough calls to make but they were important moves for the future of the franchise.

Rebuilding can be frustrating for fans to watch. It isn't a fast process and it will most likely take multiple seasons for the team to get back to the top of the AL Central. When going through this rebuilding process, it is interesting to consider which players are critical to the future of the club.

This brings out an interesting question...

If you were the General Manager of a team and you had the opportunity to start a franchise, which player in the Twins organization would you pick to be your cornerstone player?

There choices from the big league roster all the way down to the rookie leagues so let's take a look at some of the candidates.

The Catcher: Joe Mauer could be in the midst of a Hall of Fame career. This would be a hard player to ignore when starting a franchise. His ability to play an important defensive position also helps his candidacy. There will continue to be questions about his lack of power and one has to wonder how long he will stay behind the plate. For now, Twins fans get to watch one of the sweetest swings in the game even if it doesn't result in a bunch of home runs.

The Top Prospect: He might still be at the Single-A level but Miguel Sano has already put together some impressive numbers in the minors. His power swing is the stuff of legend but there are some flaws with his game. On the defensive side of the ball, he is a little shaky at third base but his arm is great from that position. He's a couple years away from Target Field but he could be the cornerstone of the future.

The Number Two Pick: Byron Buxton might have been the best player in last year's draft and the Twins were happy to select him with the number two pick. He has all of the skills to be a five-tool player in the Twins outfield for a big chunk of the next decade. His speed is amazing and his power was better than the Twins thought in his first season. He's further away than Sano but he could be quite the player to build around.

The Flamethrower: The Twins didn't have a ton of arms with some upside until the team traded away their two center fielders. Alex Meyer can hit in the upper 90's with his fastball and he has the breaking pitches to make him scary for any batter. He is a rarity in the game of baseball and many teams go searching for someone with his pitching talent. There are still questions about him but he could be a future ace.

The Others: There are other candidates in the organization. Each one might have some flaws but they could be stars of the future for the franchise.
  • Kyle Gibson looks ready for the big leagues but does he have the stuff to be an ace?
  • Oswaldo Arcia has the swing to be in the middle of the Twins line-up for multiple years.
  • Aaron Hicks is supposed to have all of the tools and he should get an opportunity to prove himself this year.
  • J.O. Berrios has impressed the coaches in camp with his raw stuff but he has a long way to go to get to the top.
  • Eddie Rosario is trying to get comfortable in the middle infield while his bat continues to be very advanced for his age.

There are some of the top candidates from the Twins system. If you had to pick one player to start a franchise, who would it be? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.


  1. AM.'s Avatar
    Great thought piece. Let's start by ruling out Mauer. He's an up-the-middle guy, but his catching days are dwindling and he'll be 30 in a few weeks. While I expect several more MVP-level years, he isn't going to be here long enough to build a franchise around.

    Next, let's rule out Berrios, Gibson, and Meyer. Berrios looks like a great young man, potential ace and face of the franchise. But he's 18, and a pitcher--too much risk. Similarly, Gibsonmay be very good, but he has yet to even pitch at the majors, or fully prove he is back from TJ. Meyer looks the part of an ace, and I am eager to see his progress, but as a pitcher who hasn't pitched above AA, I can't roll the dice there.

    Arcia is next out. Bat looks great, and he continues to surprise at each higher level. But as a corner OF, I can't count on him to build my franchise around, however high my hopes are for him.

    That leaves me with Hicks, Rosario, Buxton, and Sano.

    I like Rosario, and I love the move to an up-the-middle position. I would have liked to see his season last year without the broken face mixed in. This year will be huge for the guy who out-homered Sano two years ago. But he's not my guy.

    Between the last three, I hate to do it, but I have to rule out Buxton. He's just too far away, despot having all the tools and an up-the-middle profile. Mauer was the #2 guy the Twins drafted #1 (Prior), while Buxton is the #1 guy the Twins drafted #2 (Correa). I like that His future is bright, but I want more certainty--and immediacy for my franchise.

    So, Hicks or Sano? Both low-average, good on-base guys. One with premiere power, and one with premiere speed and defense. Both have flaws...Hicks struggles against lefties and doesn't hit for high average or huge power. Sano also hits for lower average, and struggles defensively. I love the Miggy Cabrera comps, but Sano is never going to win a batting crown.
    In the end, I think I am going with the guy who plays an up-the-middle position with exceptional defense, who is on the cusp of winning the starting CF job after skipping AA for the first time since Joe Mauer, with the on-base chops to lead off for the team for the next decade, and the potential for developing power.

    Aaron Hicks.
  2. mnfanforlife's Avatar
    Very nice AM. I will gladly take Sano. For me, it was between Sano and Buxton.
  3. hakatack's Avatar
    Interesting article....I guess if I were starting a franchise and could take any one player I would look at this a bit differently. I guess my first choice would be Mauer. He is a proven player who is going to walk into the clubhouse and produce at a major league level for at least the next 5-7 years. I think the next choice would be Willingham. Again, he is major league proven and while you won't get 2012 numbers you will be getting a major league hitter.

    I like a lot of the prospects that the Twins have in the system but all they are right now is prospects. To me, with a cornerstone player it is important to have a full picture of how they are going to perform day in and day out.
  4. Oldgoat_MN's Avatar
    Great article, great comments.
    I more highly value a guy closer to the big league level than players in lower levels. That said, I would take Arcia. He has nothing left to prove in AA.
    High average, real power, everyday player. Has the arm to play LF or RF.
    He's young and will be with the Twins for a long time. He's my pick.
  5. ltwedt's Avatar
    Aaron Hicks - very impressive
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