2012 Minnesota Twins: How Minnesota's 5 Highest-Paid Players Played in 2012

Matt LindholmContributor IIOctober 5, 2012

2012 Minnesota Twins: How Minnesota's 5 Highest-Paid Players Played in 2012

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    Back in June, I wrote an article dubbed "2012 Minnesota Twins: How Minnesota's 5 Highest-Paid Players Are Performing."  This article evaluated the the performances of Minnesota's top money-getters based on their mid-season performances and tested that against their current season salary. 

    Now that the 2012 Twins season is officially over and personnel has changed, I felt the need to reevaluate the highest-paid players based on the entire season.

    Therefore, this article evaluates Minnesota's current top five money-earners' final 2012 season performances and tests that against others in the same positions with similar salaries.  Once again, the purpose of the article is to decide whether or not these five players are truly earning their 2012 salaries.

5. Matt Capps: $4.5 Million

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    At mid-season, Matt Capps was the Twins sixth-highest paid player and subsequently not on the June evaluation of Minnesota's priciest players.  Since Francisco Liriano's trade, Capps moved up to fifth.

    Capps has performed well for himself but subpar for a closer who earns $4.5 million (+/- $1 mil.) a year, finishing the year 1-4, 3.68 ERA, 14 SV, 93.3% SV%, and .241 BAA through 29.1 IP.

    In comparison, the average pace for starting pitchers with comparable salaries is a 3-4 record, 2.69 ERA 30 SV, 87.1 SV%, and .203 BAA through 59.1 IP.

    In an average Capps season, he pitches a 4-6 record, 3.43 ERA, 25 SV, 83.3 SV%, and .260 BAA. through 65 IP.

    The bottom line: Capps' saves and save percentage were great considering that he missed more than half of the season.  However, his record, ERA, and BAA were subpar for him and for closers with his salary.

4. Josh Willingham: $7 Million

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    In 2012, Josh Willingham has excelled for himself and for a player with his pay.  Willingham finished the year with .260/.366/.524, 35 HR, 110 RBI, and 85 R.

    To compare, other outfielders with similar earnings finished the year with 24 HR, 77 RBI, 67 R and averages of .261/.362/.485.

    In an average season for Willingham, he hits around 22 HR, 71 RBI, 78 R and averages .263/.363/.480.

    The bottom line: All-in-all, Willingham is done very well an outfielder in his pay-range and definitely his best season to date.

3. Carl Pavano: $9 Million

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    Carl Pavano has completely underperformed for himself and for a starting pitcher who earns around $9 million a year.  Pavano finished the 2012 season with a 2-5 record, 6.00 ERA, .313 BAA, and 11 GS through 63.0 IP.

    In comparison, starting pitchers with comparable salaries finished the season with an average record of 13-11 record, 3.87 ERA, .263 BA, and 31 GS through 178.0 IP.

    In a normal season for Pavano, he pitches an 8-8 record, 4.39 ERA, .281 BAA. and 17 GS through 128.0 IP.

    The bottom line: Pavano's injury-plagued season was one of his worst to date.  Even in his 11 starts, Pavano performed poorly for someone of his pay range and for himself.

2. Justin Morneau: $14 Million

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    In 2012, Justin Morneau has had an subpar season compared his norm and to current seasons of players with similar pay.  Morneau finished the season hitting .267/.333/.440 with 19 HR, 77 RBI, and 63 R. 

    In comparison, the league average for first basemen with similar salaries was 25 HR, 93 RBI, and 75 R, with averages of .282/.352/.482.

    In a normal year, Morneau hits 29 HR, 111 RBI, 86 R and averages .280/.351/.492.

    The bottom line: Morneau didn't have a great year for first baseman of his salary, but wasn't too far off from his rivals.  He also had a below average year for himself. 

    Though Morneau was not in his normal MVP form this season coming off an injury ridden 2011, he took a big step in the right direction this year.  It should be noted that Morneau recorded 26.6 AB/HR this season, taking him 40 AB fewer in 2012 to hit a home run than in 2011.  Quite the improvement from 2011.

1. Joe Mauer: $23 Million

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    In 2012, Joe Mauer's offensive performance was mostly positive compared to his past seasons and to 2012 seasons of other $18 million-plus per year infielders. Mauer averaged .319/.416/.446 with 10 HR, 85 RBI, and 81 R this season.

    In comparison, the league average for franchise infielders with similar salaries was 27 HR, 99 RBI, and 79 R, with averages of .290/.363/.500 in 2012.

    In an average Mauer season, he hits 11 HR, 71 RBI, 76 R and averages .323/.405/.468.

    The bottom line: A mostly positive performance.  Mauer's BA, OBP, and R were on par for himself and much better than other franchise infielders.  His HR, RBI, and SLG were good for him but much lower than infielders with comparable salaries.