Justin Morneau won the American League MVP today. I suspect that threw most baseball fans for a loop, but people who followed the Twins this year know how he transformed that lineup. When a team plays .720 baseball for 3/4 of a season and that coincides with when a guy starts tearing up the league, that’s a strong MVP case.
The Twins had three players finish in the top seven in the AL MVP race (Morneau, Joe Mauer 6ht, and Johan Santana 7th), and all are under 28 years old. Santana won the AL Cy Young in a unanimous vote for the second time in three years. Mauer was the first catcher to lead the majors in hitting, ever, and he’s only 23. And you can bet Francisco Liriano would have won the AL Rookie of the Year and garnered some of his own Cy Young and MVP votes before he got injured. He’ll miss all of next season with rehab, but many pitchers today who have Tommy John surgery actually come out stronger than they were before they were injured. And he’ll only be 25 when he comes back.
It was no fluke this team played .720 ball for most of the season, even with a decimated rotation. This team is young, and the might have five of the best 25 or so players in the game, counting closer Joe Nathan.
The future looks very bright, but it makes the underachieving playoff loss to Oakland even more galling to think about.
But they’ll be back.