Twins 2007 Bright Spots: Number 4

Top story number four at the Major League level was the fact that the Twins sent three players and their manager to the All-Star Game. Included in the Midsummer League roster was Johan Santana, Justin Morneau, and Torii Hunter, and Detroit Tigers Manager Jim Leyland named Ron Gardenhire to the American League coaching staff.

Many Twins had good seasons in 2007, despite the fact that the team finished under .500 for the first time since the 2000 season. In total, the Twins sent three players to the Midsummer Classic, and also had Manager Ron Gardenhire be named as a coach for the team. The players who made the All-Star Game were Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau, and Johan Santana, three players who were so valuable to the team this past season.

For Hunter, the 2007 season as an emotional roller coaster ride. With his future with the team up in the air, Hunter had arguably the best season of his career, posting some incredible offense numbers while playing Gold Glove caliber centerfield. Hunter will likely be somewhere else in 2008, but he gave the Twins fans something to remember in 2007.

In total, Hunter appeared in 142 games for the Twins, and blasted 28 home runs, giving him 59 over the past two seasons. He also drove in 107 runs, scored 94 times, and set a career-high with 45 doubles. Hunter also had his most stolen bases since 2005, and his 172 hits were the highest total of his career.

For Morneau, the 2007 season was a season where he would look to match his Most Valuable Player totals from 2006. Though he fell short of those lofty expectations, he continued to establish himself as arguably one of the top left-handed power hitters in the American League. Morneau smacked 31 home runs, and drove in 111. He finished second on the team with 160 hits, and he slugged nearly .500 on the season.

In the past two seasons, Morneau has hit 65 home runs, and has driven in 241 runs. He is one of the top run producers in the American League, and the Twins need to lock him up for multiple years in order for them to continue to challenge in the very tough American League Central.

Santana was once again one of the top starting pitchers in the American League, and although his totals were down from his Cy Young winning numbers of 2006, he showed once again why he is regarded as the top left-handed starter in baseball. He finished second in the league in strikeouts, and led the team with 15 wins in his 33 starts.

His 235 strikeouts gave him four straight season with 235 or more strikeouts, and his 15 wins gave him at least 15 wins in each of the last four seasons. Though his 3.33 earned run average was his highest total since 2001, Santana anchored a very young pitching staff and showed why he is the main cog in the Twins pitching staff.

Manager Ron Gardenhire has the utmost respect from every other manager in the American League, and it was his ability to win in a small market that made Detroit Tigers Manager Jim Leyland name him to the American League staff. During the 2006 season, he led a very young team to a surprising American League Central title, and is now regarded as one of the top managers in the American League

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