Apart from the manager, Terry Ryan has to make decisions about the Twins coaching staff, too. And in describing the criteria he would use to evaluate Ron Gardenhire’s six on-field coaches, the Twins general manager sounded disinclined to replace them.
Rick Anderson, for instance, has been the pitching coach for Gardenhire’s entire tenure, and Ryan noted that “for every hit he takes about starting [pitching], you better give him [credit for] the bullpen’s success. And health of a player — if Rick’s abusing players, they’re going to show up on the [disabled list] a lot. He hasn’t done that.”
All six coaches have one-year contracts that expire at the end of the season. Ryan said “work ethic, accessibility, preparation, video [work], knowing the opposition, knowing the situation” would all be part of his evaluation, and that his own observations, with input from Gardenhire, would carry the most weight.
Andrew Albers’ offseason plans includes a lot of rest for his arm. The lefthander threw a career high 192⅓ innings —well more than his previous high of 103 in 2012. But every inning was worth it.
He threw 132⅓ of those innings at Class AAA Rochester, where he went 11-5 with a 2.86 ERA. He was dominant at times, and impressed the Twins enough that he has been named the organization’s Minor League Pitcher of the Year.
‘‘It’s definitely a been a special year,’’ Albers said, ‘‘and to look back on it now you kind of start to realize how far you’ve come and have been able to accomplish this year.’’
Albers, 27, finally made his major league debut, going 2-5 with a 4.05 ERA in 60 innings over 10 starts. His big league career began with 8⅓ scoreless innings against Kansas City followed by a complete-game shutout of the Indians.
‘‘The one thing I take from this is that I’ve got to get better,’’ Albers said. ‘‘Right now, I’ve come a long ways but at the same time I’ve got a long ways to go. The first couple starts were great. After that there were some bumps.’’
The Minor League Player of the Year went to outfielder Byron Buxton, which wasn’t a surprise because Baseball America named him the player of the year in all of minor league baseball.
Buxton, 19, batted .334 with 12 home runs, 77 RBI and 55 stolen bases in 125 games between Class A Cedar Rapids and Class A Fort Myers. He posted a .424 on-base percentage.
The Twins are sending Buxton to the Arizona Fall League, where top prospects compete each offseason. He’s expected to open the 2014 season at Class AA New Britain, and there’s an outside chance he could debut with the Twins sometime during next season.
Despite three consecutive seasons of at least 96 losses, fans continued to show up at Target Field.
The announced attendance of 30,935 on Sunday pushed the season total to 2,477,644 — seventh best in the American League. The Twins outdrew the AL West champion Athletics and two teams —Cleveland and Tampa Bay — that battled for a playoff spot until the final game of the regular season. The total also is the sixth highest in club history.
That’s an average of 30,588, in case you are wondering.