2006 Season Was A Special One

While most of Twins Nation are in a state of shock due to the recent sweep at the hands of the Oakland Athletics, the 2006 season should not be viewed as a dissapointment. This Twins team made one of the best runs to the playoffs in recent history, and along the way, took home the American League Central.

The Twins ended their incredible 2006 season this past week, but one cannot look at this season as a dissapointment. This Twins team kept the entire nation captivated during the last few months of the season, and turned many players into stars. One could argue that the Twins could have won multiple individual player awards, including Cy Young (Johan Santana), Most Valuable Player (Joe Mauer or Justin Morneau), and Comeback Player of the Year (Morneau).

Along the way, we saw the rise of guys like Morneau, Boof Bonser, and Matt Garza. Players who Twins fans could have only hoped for a good season from. Francisco Liriano, despite his season ending with an injury, showed the entire baseball world that he could definitely win a Cy Young one day. Joe Nathan was Joe Nathan for another season, and Torii Hunter showed surprising power when he returned to the Twins lineup.

Sure there were some disappointment, like the ineffectiveness of starters Carlos Silva and Kyle Lohse. Juan Castro and Tony Batista did not work out the way the Twins planned, and have been moved from the Twins future plans. Thankfully, Jason Bartlett and Nick Punto filled those two holes, and ended up being two of the better players on the team during the team's stretch run.

Another great surprise was Jason Tyner, a journeyman outfielder who played himself into the Twins starting lineup. After batting .312 in his 62 games, Tyner has played himself into a role with the Twins in 2007, and really stepped up when guys like Rondell White and Lew Ford struggled to put together complete seasons.

Michael Cuddyer also had a breakout season for the Twins, driving in 109 runs, while scoring a team-high 102 runs. While Mauer and Morneau got most of the press, Cuddy was a constant in the Twins lineup, and was responsible for plenty of Twins "W's". He also batted .278, and finished the season third on the team with 12 stolen bases.

While Bonser established himself as a bulldog in the rotation, guys like Garza and Glen Perkins proved that they too could be in the Twins plans for the starting rotation. When Lohse, Silva, and Scott Baker faltered, the Twins turned to their young arms, and showed once again why they have the best farm system in the Minor Leagues. With guys like Kevin Slowey, Anthony Swarzak, and Eduardo Morlan waiting in the Minors, it appears the Twins have endless young arms to turn to for the next ten years.

So lets not look at the Twins being swept in the American League Division Series as their defining moment of the season. There have been far too many good points to look at that series as how this Twins team will go down in history. Fact is, the team put together one of the best playoff runs in recent history, and with all that young talent, not to mention a new ballpark coming, the Twins could become a dynasty within three years.

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