In the early-to-mid 1990s, the Twins had a nice little thing going with rookies. Chuck Knoblauch took home Rookie of the Year in the AL in 1991, helping the Twins to a World Series title in the same season. Four years later, Marty Cordova took home the hardware (back, you know, before he was suffering tanning bed-related injuries).

Since Cordova's award, though, the Twins have been in a rookie dry spell. It made us do a little historical research after Danny Valencia finished third yesterday in the 2010 ROY voting. Turns out that was tied for the highest any Twins player has finished in the voting from 1996-2010. In 2006, phenom Francisco Liriano also finished third (though he almost certainly would have finished even higher if not for his season-ending injury).

It's a curious stat for an organization that has such a combination of pride and dependence when it comes to building a roster via player development. But while the Twins have certainly had their share of young players contribute in recent years, their penchant for easing the youngsters along certainly shows up when it comes time to hand out awards. It's rare for a rookie to get a full season in the lineup or rotation. Even Valencia, of course, didn't make his debut until June 3 -- roughly two full months into the season -- before locking down third base and hitting .311 for the season.

Anyway, this isn't a question of right or wrong -- and winning games is certainly more important than winning awards. We just thought it was a little strange that Valencia's season, while a good one to be sure, put him in such rare recent company.

Your thoughts on Twins' player development, rookies and Valencia in the comments.