Minnesota Twins: 10 Best Players of the 2000's

Joe WatsonCorrespondent IJuly 31, 2011

Minnesota Twins: 10 Best Players of the 2000's

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    Since the turn of the century, the Minnesota Twins have been the perfect example of playing baseball the right way.

    The Twins never give up and play every game like it's their last.  Every aspect of the game is done right.

    This in-game execution has translated into six division titles, but unfortunately only one appearance in the AL championship series.

    Here are the 10 best players from the new millennium that were instrumental in the Twins' success.

10. Corey Koskie

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    Koskie was a key bat in the heart of the Twins lineup during the early part of the 2000's.  In his seven seasons in Minnesota, Koskie hit .280 with 101 home runs.

    Koskie's best season was 2001, when he hit 26 home runs with 103 RBI, 27 stolen bases and a .276 average.

9. Jacque Jones

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    Jacque Jones was Minnesota's lead off hitter during the early part of the 2000's.  Known for his power, Jones launched 132 home runs during his time in a Twins uniform.

    Jones' best season was 2002, when he hit 27 home runs and drove in 85 runs.

8. Matt Guerrier

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    Matt Guerrier was one of the elite setup men in the game during his time in Minnesota.

    Guerrier was in a Twins uniform for seven seasons.  He posted a 19-25 record with a 3.38 ERA in 393 appearances.

    His best season was 2009, when he went 5-1 with a 2.36 ERA in 79 appearances.

7. Brad Radke

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    Brad Radke was Twins baseball.  He spent his entire career in Minnesota.

    In 12 seasons with Minnesota, Radke went 148-139, with an ERA of 4.22.

    Although never dominant (except 1997), Radke ate up innings and made almost every start.  In 12 seasons, Radke made 28 or more starts in 11 of them.

6. Torii Hunter

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    Hunter was a the best defensive center fielder in the American League during his 11 seasons in Minnesota.  Hunter won seven Gold Gloves while in Minnesota, and has added two more while in Anaheim.

    Hunter was also good at the plate.  In his career, Hunter has 271 home runs and 1,019 RBI.  While in Minnesota, Hunter was a threat to hit 25 home runs every year.

5. Michael Cuddyer

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    Michael Cuddyer does everything for the Minnesota Twins and is a great example of the right way to play baseball.  He's willing to do anything at any time for Minnesota.

    Defensively, Cuddyer has played first, second, third, all the outfield positions and has even pitched.  

    He's not too shabby with the bat, recording four seasons with over 80 RBI.  His best year in Minnesota was 2006 when he hit 24 homers and drove in 109 runs.

4. Justin Morneau

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    Morneau has spent nine very successful seasons in Minnesota and has been the lineup's biggest source of power.

    In 2006, Morneau won the American League MVP award, finishing the season with 34 homers, 130 RBI and a .321 batting average.  Morneau finished second in the MVP voting in 2008.

    Although recently plagued by injuries, there is no doubting Morneau's talent.  In his short career, he's already compiled 185 home runs.

3. Joe Nathan

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    The best closer not named Mariano Rivera for most of the 2000's.

    Joe Nathan has spent seven years with Minnesota.  During that time, he's recorded 36 or more saves every year.  In all, Nathan has 254 saves with Minnesota and a 2.06 ERA.

    When Nathan comes into the game with a lead, the Twins win.

2. Johan Santana

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    Johan Santana was the best pitcher in the American League when he was with the Twins.  He won two AL Cy Young Awards and finished in the top five, four times.

    With the best changeup in baseball, Santana went 93-44 with a 3.23 ERA while in Minnesota.  His best season in Minnesota was 2006, when he went 20-6 with a 2.61 ERA and 265 strikeouts.

1. Joe Mauer

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    In eight seasons with his hometown team, Mauer has established himself as the best catcher in baseball.

    A lifetime .325 hitter, Mauer has won the AL batting title three times.  He's won three Gold Gloves, an MVP Award in 2009, and a is a four-time All-Star.

    Mauer has already recorded 1,061 career hits, 82 home runs and 490 RBI, and might have already secured himself a spot in Cooperstown.


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