The Twins in 2013 were more Minnesota than ever. For the first time, local players swept the team’s top three postseason awards — MVP, best pitcher and outstanding rookie — in balloting by members of the Twin Cities chapter of the Baseball Writers Association, it was announced on Thursday.
Joe Mauer, the St. Paul native who had more hits and doubles than any Twin despite missing the season’s final six weeks because of a concussion, was chosen Most Valuable Player for the third time.
Glen Perkins, a Lakeland native who saved 36 Twins victories in 40 opportunities, was voted Pitcher of the Year for the second time in three seasons.
And Caleb Thielbar, a lefthander who grew up near Randolph, was named the team’s top rookie after posting a 1.76 ERA in 49 appearances.
The team’s leadership award, however, didn’t go to a Minnesotan — or even a current Twin. Justin Morneau, traded to Pittsburgh on Aug. 31, earned the honor for the third time.
The Twins’ other on-the-field awards went to their double-play combination. Shortstop Pedro Florimon, estimated by fangraphs.com’s defensive metrics to have saved the second-most runs by any AL shortstop, was named the best defensive player, while second baseman Brian Dozier, whose 18 home runs led the Twins, was judged most improved.
And Dozier was also chosen as 2013’s media “good guy” for his cooperation with reporters.
For all the Minnesotans’ success with the Twins, though, the best player from the Upper Midwest, as judged by the 20 BBWAA voters, didn’t play here.
Washington Nationals pitcher Jordan Zimmermann, a native of Auburndale, Wis., about 150 miles east of the Twin Cities, picked up the honor by going 19-9 with a 3.25 ERA.
The team picked the winners of its annual community service awards, with Perkins getting the active-player honor, and former infielder, manager and broadcaster Frank Quilici earning the alumni honor.
Mauer’s honor makes him just the fourth three-time MVP in Twins history, joining Rod Carew (six times) and Kirby Puckett (six) and Harmon Killebrew (five).
Perkins joins 11 other Twins pitchers to win the honor more than once.
And Thielbar is the fourth native Minnesotan to be chosen as the team’s top rookie, joining Jerry Terrell (1973), Kent Hrbek (1982) and Mauer (2004).