The 2010 decade for the Minnesota Twins was one for the memory books. Target Field opened. Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano and Jose Berrios debuted. We said goodbye to Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau and Michael Cuddyer. The decade closed with the record-breaking Bomba Squad, and with the Twins getting swept by the Yankees (again).
The decade of 2010-19 brought two division pennants, three playoff berths and a zero playoff wins. In total, the Twins finished the decade with a record of 765-855 and -438 run differential, both good for 23rd in the Majors.
Here's my take on the Twins All-Decade team from the 2010s. After reading through my team, I would love to hear your thoughts what gripes you have with my selections. Without further ado ...
C: Joe Mauer (2010-18)
- 1,159 Games
- .788 OPS
- 24.0 fWAR
The future Hall of Famer was the team MVP for the Minnesota Twins in the 2010s decade, leading the team in games played, batting average (min. 600 PAs), RBI, runs and WAR. It’s hard to come up with enough stats to quantify just how much Mauer meant to the Twins and to the state of Minnesota. While Mauer split the decade pretty evenly between catcher and first base, I put him as the catcher so that I could put in the next guy as our first baseman.
Honorable Mention: Mitch Garver
1B: Justin Morneau (2010-13)
- 411 Games
- .791 OPS
- 5.3 fWAR
While he didn’t have enough healthy seasons in his career to make it into Cooperstown, Morneau is certainly another Twins all-timer. Morneau peaked at the end of the 2000s, but did enough to be the first baseman for the 2010s all decade team. Morneau was in the middle of a possible second MVP season prior to his concussion in 2010 that ended his season in July.
Honorable Mention: Joe Mauer
2B: Brian Dozier (2012-18)
- 955 Games
- .772 OPS
- 22.5 fWAR
Arguably the most underappreciated Minnesota Twin in recent memory, when I looked back on Dozier’s stats over the decade it struck me how truly impactful he was at the plate year after year. Dozier hit 49 more home runs than any other Twins player over the course of the decade and paced the team with 98 stolen bases. Dozier posted an All-Star Game appearance, competed in the Home Run Derby and somehow won a Gold Glove.
Honorable mention: Luis Arraez
SS: Jorge Polanco (2014-19)
- 441 Games
- .783 OPS
- 7.2 fWAR
Even with just 441 games played, I decided on Polanco for the All-Decade team because of his consistency appearing as a shortstop for the Twins. Players like Eduardo Escobar and Eduardo Nunez certainly performed admirably at shortstop and the plate over the decade for the Twins but played so many different areas across the diamond that they didn’t qualify as a shortstop for me. Polanco has now posted three separate seasons with a .750 OPS or better and just completed his most successful season as a Twin, leading the team in WAR and starting for the AL in the All-Star Game.
Honorable mention: Eduardo Escobar
3B: Miguel Sano (2015-19)
- 486 Games
- .836 OPS
- 8.5 fWAR
Sano led all Twins third basemen this decade in home runs and WAR, even though he played 237 less games than his predecessor, Trevor Plouffe. Concerns surrounding his health and strikeout tendencies have been well documented, however, incredible strides were made in 2019 that point towards a bright future for Sano as a potential cornerstone for the Twins.
Honorable mention: Trevor Plouffe
LF: Eddie Rosario (2015-19)
- 640 Games
- .788 OPS
- 10.5 fWAR
Deciding between Josh Willingham and Rosario as the left fielder for the Twins all-decade team was the most challenging decision that I had to make in this exercise. Willingham posted a higher OBP, OPS and wRC+ than Rosario in the decade, punctuated by his Silver Slugger season in 2012 when he posted an .890 OPS and hit 35 home runs. I decided on Rosario, though, because of his longevity with the team. Rosario played in twice as many games as Willingham this decade, hit for a better average and slugging percentage, hit more home runs and RBI, posted 5.0 more WAR and became the face of the "Bomba Squad” in 2019.
Honorable mention: Josh Willingham
CF: Byron Buxton (2015-19)
- 393 Games
- .706 OPS
- 7.4 fWAR
The former No. 1 overall prospect in the Majors had arguably the highest expectations ever for a Twins player coming into the majors. Much of his time on the Twins this decade has been marred with injuries and struggles at the plate. His consistent struggles have left many Twins fans wondering if Buxton will ever be the player that we all hoped that he could be. That being said, he is still the starting center fielder on my All-Decade team for the Twins. It says a lot about Buxton’s game and his immense talent and skill that he could have so many strikes against him in Twins nation, but still post a 7.4 fWAR and be the best center fielder of the decade.
Honorable mention: Denard Span
RF: Max Kepler (2015-19)
- 553 Games
- .763 OPS
- 9.8 fWAR
Just two seasons with the Minnesota Twins in the 2010s wasn’t enough for Cuddyer to make the cut as the right fielder on the All-Decade team. That honor, instead, belongs to Max Kepler. It’s hard to believe that the young German-born lefty has already played in 553 games, but his trajectory of improvement has been such that it’s really exciting to imagine where he could be when this article is written again about the 2020s All-Decade team for the Twins. Kepler’s 9.8 fWAR was fourth on the team in the 2010s.
Honorable mention: Michael Cuddyer
DH: Nelson Cruz (2019)
- 120 Games
- 1.031 OPS
- 4.3 fWAR
While I disqualified Cuddyer and Willingham for not playing enough with the Twins, Nelson Cruz’s 2019 season superseded any self-imposed rules that I made for myself. Anytime you post a 1.031 OPS and 4.3 WAR in your age 39 season, you make the All-Decade team. That’s my new rule.
Honorable mention: Jim Thome
Util: Eduardo Escobar (2012-18)
- 671 Games
- .729 OPS
- 8.5 fWAR
Escobar was another Minnesota Twin that was underrated in my book. As a utility man, Escobar spent time in a Twins uniform playing second base, third base, shortstop and outfield. Save for 2016, Escobar saw his OPS increase in every season that he was in Minnesota, peaking in 2018 when he was traded to Arizona. In the 2010s decade with the Twins, Escobar ranked inside the top five on the team in hits, doubles and WAR.
Honorable mention: Eduardo Núñez
Starting Pitcher: Jose Berrios (2016-19)
- 596.2 Innings Pitched
- 4.21 ERA
- 9.9 fWAR
Though he had only three impactful seasons with the Minnesota Twins, Berrios was the best starting pitcher the Twins had in the 2010s. He has had an ERA under 4.00 in each of the past three years and has been an all-star the past two seasons. Berrios led all Twins starting pitchers (min. 450 IPs) in K/9 and has become the ace of this pitching staff. The next step for Berrios will be for him to maintain his April-August production into September and October.
Honorable mention: Kyle Gibson, Ervin Santana
Relief Pitcher: Glen Perkins (2010-17)
- 342.2 Innings Pitched
- 3.18 ERA
- 120 Saves
- 6.2 fWAR
It’s easy to forget just how dominant of a relief pitcher Glen Perkins was for the Twins this past decade. After converting to a relief pitcher in 2010, Perkins became the full-time closer for the Twins in 2012. A three-time All-Star, Perkins collected 120 saves in just over four seasons, posting a save percentage of 83%. Perkins was the man during a really challenging time for the Twins and he ensured the Twins could close out any potential win opportunities there were.
Honorable mention: Taylor Rogers, Ryan Pressly