Minnesota Twins Players of the Week 4/16-4/22

Mikael Wiitala@@MikaelWiitalaContributor IIIApril 22, 2012

Minnesota Twins Players of the Week 4/16-4/22

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    The Minnesota Twins spent the last week on road, finishing with mixed results.

    Seven games in seven days is never easy, especially playing four games against the New York Yankees and three in Tampa versus the Rays. The Twins finished the week with a 3-4 record, splitting their series against the Yankees 2-2 and dropping the last two games to the Rays.

    Clearly, the Twins would have preferred to win both series, but leaving the East Coast 3-4 is probably better than most fans expected.

    This slideshow is going to highlight the best hitting and pitching performers of the past week, as well as players who underperformed.

Pitcher of the Week: Carl Pavano

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    There shouldn't be much debate about this pick. 

    Carl Pavano finished the week 1-1, pitching 13 innings, striking out 13 batters and giving up five earned runs. His ERA stands at 3.46.

    Both of Pavano's starts were quality, as he pitched six innings or better, while giving up three earned runs or less. It was certainly a help for the Twins' overworked bullpen.

    Frankly, Pavano probably should have been 2-0 this week, but he made the first mistake in a pitching duel against James Shields on Saturday. And the Twins offense couldn't back up his solid performance.

    Honorable mention: Jared Burton

    Burton only appeared in two games out of the bullpen for the Twins this week, but he was nearly perfect. 

    Burton pitched 1 1/3 innings against the Yankees in Wednesday's win, allowing no base runners and striking out two. He then appeared for an inning against the Rays on Friday, striking out one and allowing one walk in another Twins victory.

    It may not look like much, but Burton's performances this week are a good sign, after a few rough outings to start the season.

Hitter of the Week: Justin Morneau

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    Justin Morneau is the most important hitter on the Twins roster.

    Need proof?

    Morneau played in five games this week, hitting 6-of-18 (.333 BA) with six runs scored, four RBI, one double and three home runs.

    The Twins went 2-3 in those five games, and when the Twins won, Justin was 5-of-9 (.556 BA) with 4 runs scored, four RBI and three home runs. He went 1-of-9 (.111 BA) with two runs scored, one double, zero RBI and zero HR in the three losses.

    So while Morneau certainly had the most productive week of all Twins hitters, he still is not the same consistent hitter he was a few years ago. That being said, he did hit the ball hard all week long and certainly deserves to be the hitter of the week.

    Honorable Mention: Joe Mauer

    While Morneau is the most important hitter on the Twins roster, Joe Mauer is simply the most consistent hitter.

    Mauer was 10-of-28 (.357 BA) with three runs scored, four RBI, three doubles and two stolen bases in seven games this week. 

    Those numbers are fairly impressive, but the seven games played in seven days is by far the most important. It's good to see Gardy and Mauer find ways to keep Joe's bat in the lineup and avoid the nagging injuries that have kept him out in the past.

Least Valuable Player: Francisco Liriano

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    Francisco Liriano is this week's Least Valuable Player (LVP).

    At this point in the season, Liriano seems to be going out of his way to win the award each and every week. Somewhere down the line, the award may just be named after him. (Liriano's Vicious Performances?)

    Frankie pitched two games this week, and he lost them both. In both starts, he combined for 7 1/3 innings pitched, 10 earned runs (12.27 ERA), eight walks and six strike outs.

    His past performances and electric "stuff" will probably allow him a few more starts, but his mechanics are so poor right now it is a small miracle when he throws a strike. 

    I know it is an imaginary award I personally give out, but if there isn't a DL stint or move to the bullpen to work on mechanics, he just may win this award every week for the foreseeable future.

    Dishonorable Mention: Danny Valencia

    I personally think Valencia is a good player and important to the Twins this year and into the future, but this week was not his finest.

    Danny played in six games, going 4-of-25 (.160 BA) at the plate with one run scored, three RBI and two doubles.

    A total lack of plate discipline was evident as Valencia struck out nine times, simply looking lost in some run-scoring situations.

    The knock on Valencia is that he's cocky for not proving much at the major league level, but if he doesn't figure out the strike zone soon, the knock on Danny will be that he's cocky for a guy playing in Rochester.

The Upcoming Week

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    This week, the Twins return to Target Field for three games against the Boston Red Sox and three more against the Kansas City Royals.

    After the 3-4 road trip against good competition, it will be interesting to see if the Twins will return home and capitalize on any sort of home-field advantage against two talented—but struggling—teams.

    Jason Marquis will make his second start of the year on Monday against Jon Lester and is in line for two starts this week. Hopefully, Marquis will get the Twins off to a good start in the homestand and be next week's pitcher of the week.

    I know naming players of the week is by no means a new idea, but it can be a fun one.

    Please feel free to comment on the choices I made and offer suggestions for additional weekly awards.