Minnesota Twins – What if?
Derrick Eckardt, a friend of mine and creator of RotoNation, offered me an idea for an entry. He asked me what would the Twins have been like if they chose Mark Prior in the 2001 June Draft rather than Joe Mauer.
The landscape of the Twins would be much different than it is today. Judging by how the Twins treat their pitching prospects with kid gloves, Prior likely doesn’t suffer through all of the injuries that have plagued his career. He hasn’t been effective since 2005 so at first glance the Twins are way ahead in this trade. Prior has had one good season (2005 – 11-7, 188 Ks, 3.67 ERA, 1.21 WHIP) and one great season (2003 – 18-6, 245 Ks, 2.43 ERA, 1.10 WHIP). Mauer has two above-average years (2005 – .294, 144 hits, 55 RBI & 2007 – .293, 119 hits, 60 RBI) and one great year (2006 – .347, 181 hits, 84 RBI). It’s not quite as one-sided as you may have thought.
So, if the Twins take Prior, do they still deal A.J. Pierzynski? That’s a good question. In dealing A.J. the Twins got Boof Bonser, Francisco Liriano, and Joe Nathan. They are pretty vital to the Twins’ success this season and going forward.
Even if they don’t trade A.J. perhaps things are a little different for the Twins in 2003 or 2004. Perhaps the combination of Santana, Radke, and Prior would have been enough to knock off the Yankees, who sent them packing both years. Maybe the Twins win another World Series with that excellent starting pitching. Perhaps my favorite baseball moment (Red Sox coming back from 3-0 deficit to the Yankees) never occurs. Maybe the Curse is still waiting to be reversed. What if the Twins decide to draft Brian McCann in the 2002 draft instead of Denard Span? Perhaps they still make the A.J. deal. Maybe they figure a way to keep Torii Hunter. There are so many scenarios that could have played out had the Twins opted to go with Prior over Mauer. Do they decide to keep Johan and/or Prior since with the duo they could be favorites to win World Series titles every year? I know we didn’t solve anything with this discussion, but it’s fun to think “what if?” sometimes.
Photos courtesy of Icon SMI