By crushing 24 homers, Eddie Rosario ended Brian Dozier's five-year run as the Twins' home run leader. For that, and for the rest of his all-around game, Rosario ended Dozier's two-year run as team MVP, too.
Rosario, the 27-year-old outfielder, on Thursday was named the winner of the Calvin R. Griffith Award, given annually to the most valuable Twins player. Rosario, who led the team in batting average (.288), runs (87), hits (161), RBI (77) and stolen bases (eight) despite missing 21 games in September because of a strained right quadriceps, is a first-time winner of the award, which is voted on by members of the Twin Cities chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America.
Among the other 2018 honorees chosen by the local baseball writers:
Twins Pitcher of the Year: Jose Berrios, who posted a 3.84 ERA in 32 starts and became the first Twins righthander in 32 years (since Bert Blyleven in 1986) to strike out more than 200 batters.
Upper Midwest Player of the Year: Joe Mauer tied Paul Molitor by winning the award for the seventh time. Mauer was also named the recipient of the Bob Allison Award for leadership.
Twins Defensive Player of the Year: Max Kepler became the third member of the Twins' "Nothing Falls but Raindrops" outfield to win the award after Rosario in 2015 and Byron Buxton in '16 and '17. Kepler made one error all season and threw out seven runners on the bases.
Twins Rookie of the Year: Outfielder, Jake Cave, who turned Buxton's injury-filled season into an opportunity, contributing 16 doubles and 13 homers in 91 games.
Most Improved Twin: Kyle Gibson, who set new bests in ERA (3.62), innings (196 ⅔) and strikeouts (179). The BBWAA also chose the righthander as the recipient of the "Good Guy" award for cooperation with the media.
Herb Carneal Lifetime Achievement Award: Jack Morris. The St. Paul native, inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame this summer, won 18 games for the Twins in 1991, then went 4-0 in the postseason, capping off the championship run with a historic 10-inning shutout of the Braves in Game 7. In retirement, he has occasionally broadcast Twins games for the past five seasons.
The honorees will receive their awards at the annual Diamond Awards banquet, to be held Jan. 24, 2019, at the Depot Minneapolis. Proceeds from the banquet benefit degenerative muscle disease research and patient care at the University of Minnesota.
In addition to the BBWAA awards, the Twins also named the winners of their community service awards. Berrios, who helped provide relief supplies to his native Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria, is the Carl R. Pohlad Award winner, given to a current Twin. And former third baseman Corey Koskie, a member of the board of directors of the Twins Community Fund, is the winner of the Kirby Puckett Award for Alumni Community Service for his volunteer efforts on behalf of the Positive Coaching Alliance.