Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN -- The Minnesota Twins today announced the recipients of the Diamond Awards, their annual awards for the 2020 season based on voting conducted by the Twin Cities Chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America and the Twins Community Fund Board of Directors. In addition, the Twins and the BBWAA announced plans for the 16th annual Diamond Awards, which will be televised on Fox Sports North on December 9 and will benefit research, education and care in brain, nerve and muscle disorders at the University of Minnesota. Since its inception in 2006, the event has raised nearly $4 million.
Designated hitter Nelson Cruz is the winner of the Most Valuable Twin Award for the second-straight year. In his second season with the Twins, the 40-year-old hit .303 (56-for-185) with six doubles, 16 home runs, 33 RBI, 33 runs scored, 25 walks, a .397 on-base percentage, a .595 slugging percentage and a .992 OPS (fourth best all-time among players age 39-or-older) in 53 games. Cruz ranked third in the American League in on-base percentage, fourth in OPS, fifth in slugging percentage, tied for fifth in home runs, seventh in batting average and tied for ninth in total bases (110). He earned AL Player of the Week honors in the season’s first week, marking his seventh time winning the award, and finished the season as one of two players in baseball with at least 15 home runs, 30-plus RBI, 25-plus walks, a .300-plus batting average and a .990-plus OPS, joining Atlanta’s Marcell Ozuna. Cruz is also the winner of the Bob Allison Award (former Twins player), given to the Twins player who exemplifies determination, hustle, tenacity, competitive spirit and leadership both on and off the field. He wins this award for the second-straight season, becoming the fifth Twin to ever win this award multiple times.
Right-handed pitcher Kenta Maeda is the winner of the Joseph W. Haynes Award (former Twins Executive Vice President), given to the Twins Pitcher of the Year. Maeda, who was acquired by the Twins in a trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers in February, went 6-1 with a 2.70 ERA (66.2 IP, 20 ER), 10 walks and 80 strikeouts in 11 starts. The 32-year-old led the club in strikeouts and set a Twins/Senators single-season franchise record for strikeouts-per-9.0 innings pitched at 10.80, passing Johan Santana’s 2004 mark of 10.46. He also set a new club record by striking out eight consecutive batters in a start on August 18 vs. Milwaukee. He finished first among American League pitchers in WHIP (0.75), second in opponent batting average (.168) and OPS (.508), fifth in ERA and seventh in strikeouts. The Osaka, Japan native finished his season with 721 career strikeouts, placing him fifth in MLB history in strikeouts by a Japanese-born pitcher.
Right-handed pitcher Randy Dobnak is the winner of the Bill Boni Award (former St. Paul Dispatch-Pioneer Press Executive Sports Editor), given to the Twins Most Outstanding Rookie. The 25-year-old made 10 starts for the Twins, going 6-4 with a 4.05 ERA (46.2 IP, 21 ER), 13 walks and 27 strikeouts, including a career-best five-game winning streak from July 31-August 22. The South Park, Pennsylvania native ranked first among American League rookies in walks-per-9.0 IP (2.51), tied for first in wins and sixth in innings pitched.
Outfielder Byron Buxton is the winner of the Carl R. Pohlad Community Service Award. Byron and his wife, Lindsey, have been active in support of military service members and their families, providing opportunities for members of the Minnesota National Guard to play catch on the field while also donating money to the Minnesota Military Family Foundation. In 2019, Byron initiated his Buxton’s Battalion program, inviting families of service members to Target Field every Tuesday to watch batting practice, participate in meet and greets, and receive tickets to that evening’s game. Additionally, Byron has attended multiple Twins RBI Glove Giveaways, helping to distribute free baseball gloves to participants in the Twins RBI program. He has also been named the winner of the Jim Kaat Award (former Twins pitcher) for Twins Defensive Player of the Year. Buxton posted a 1.000 fielding percentage (105 total chances) in his 39 games (35 starts) in centerfield, while his 11 defensive runs saved ranked second among all major league outfielders and tied for fourth among all players (minimum of 300.0 innings played). He also won the Defensive Player of the Year award in 2016, 2017 and 2019.
Right-handed pitcher Matt Wisler is the winner of the Charles O. Johnson Award (former Minneapolis Star Tribune Sports Editor), given to the Most Improved Twin. The 28-year-old, who was claimed off waivers from Seattle last October, completed his first season with the Twins, making 18 appearances, posting a 1.07 ERA (25.1 IP, 3 ER) while holding opponents to a .165 batting average with 35 strikeouts. He ranked second among Twins relievers in strikeouts-per-9.0 innings pitched (12.43) and was the only pitcher in baseball with at least four starts, at least two holds and at least one save.
Left-handed pitcher Taylor Rogers is the winner of the Mike Augustin “Media Good Guy” Award (former Pioneer Press Sports Writer). Rogers, who is the club’s Major League Baseball Players Association Player Representative, went 2-4 with a 4.05 ERA (20.0 IP, 9 ER), four walks and 24 strikeouts. This marks Rogers’ first time winning this award after being named Twins Pitcher of the Year in 2019.
Cleveland Indians left-handed pitcher Brad Hand is the winner of the Dick Siebert Award (former University of Minnesota Baseball Coach) given to the Upper Midwest Player of the Year. The Chaska, Minnesota native appeared in 23 games for Cleveland, going 2-1 with a 2.05 ERA (22.0 IP, 5 ER), four walks, 29 strikeouts and an American League-leading 16 saves. Hand also won this award in 2016 while pitching for the San Diego Padres.
Former Twins pitcher LaTroy Hawkins is the winner of the Kirby Puckett Award for Twins Alumni Community Service. The 21-year major league veteran, who pitched nine seasons with the Twins, has been an outspoken advocate for racial and social injustice, helping lead the conversation about systemic racism in professional sports and in America. He is an active member of the Still Got Game Foundation, a nonprofit where former professional athletes and like-minded charitable individuals exchange ideas, provide resources, volunteer, and develop and promote programming that supports social change. LaTroy and his wife, Anita, are supporters of the Dallas-based nonprofit Women Called Moses, which provides support to battered women and their children, and are longtime supporters of the Jackie Robinson Foundation and St. Jude Research Hospital. As a player, Hawkins won the Sherry Robertson Award as Minor League Player of the Year in 1993 and 1994, and the Charles O. Johnson Award for Most Improved Twin in 2002.
Charles “Corky” Reynolds is the winner of the Terry Ryan Award Play Ball! Minnesota (former Twins Executive VP/General Manager). Reynolds has been the official scorer/public address announcer for Crookston High School baseball for over 20 years. He has been a Coach, an Umpire, and Teacher of the game. Corky was instrumental in starting the Crookston Baseball Association over 10 years ago and currently serves as secretary. He has also served on the Crookston Pirate Booster Club board for well over a decade.
The 16th annual Diamond Awards, which will be broadcast on Fox Sports North on December 9 beginning at 7:00 p.m., will honor the 2020 BBWAA award recipients. All proceeds from the event will benefit the University of Minnesota’s innovative research and patient care focused on ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), ataxia, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease. Along with the award winners, current and former Twins players and coaches are scheduled to appear. Corporate sponsorship opportunities are now available. For more information on the event visit www.minnesotadiamondawards.org or call (612) 301-8305.