MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins announced Wednesday the winners of the annual Diamond Awards, with second baseman Brian Dozier earning three honors, including the Calvin R. Griffith Award as the Most Valuable Twin.
Dozier, who hit .268/.340/.546 with 42 homers, 99 RBIs and 104 runs in 155 games, is also the recipient of the Charles O. Johnson Award for Most Improved Twin and the Bob Allison Award given to the Twins player who exemplifies determination, hustle, tenacity, competitive spirit and leadership both on and off the field.
With right-hander Phil Hughes, closer Glen Perkins and utility man Danny Santana set to rejoin the roster after ending the season on the 60-day disabled list, it leaves two open spots on Minnesota's 40-man roster. Interim general manager Rob Antony made the decisions, as newly hired chief baseball officer Derek Falvey will remain with the Indians until their postseason run concludes.
MINNEAPOLIS -- Outfielder Zach Granite was named the Twins Minor League Player of the Year, while left-hander Stephen Gonsalves was named the Twins Minor League Pitcher of the Year, the organization announced Wednesday.
Granite, 24, hit .295/.347/.382 with four homers, 18 doubles, eight triples and 56 stolen bases in 127 games with Double-A Chattanooga. His 56 swipes were tied for the Minor League lead. Granite, who was selected by the Twins in the 14th round of the 2013 Draft out of Seton Hall University, is also the recipient of the Sherry Robertson Award.
MINNEAPOLIS -- Left-hander Stephen Gonsalves and outfielder Daniel Palka didn't have as much hype as other Twins prospects heading into the season, but both had breakout years and were rewarded by being named MLBPipeline.com's Twins Prospects of the Year.
Gonsalves, ranked as Minnesota's No. 3 overall prospect by MLBPipeline.com, outshined other highly touted Twins Minor League pitchers such as Tyler Jay, Kohl Stewart and Fernando Romero. The lefty went 13-5 with a 2.06 ERA in 24 starts split between Class A Advanced Fort Myers and Double-A Chattanooga. He struck out 155, walked 57 and allowed only three homers. He was named the left-handed pitcher on MLB Pipeline's Team of the Year.
The spotlight may shine on the Arizona Fall League more than ever in the prospect circuit's 25th season. Usually packed with phenoms, the league has even more blue-chip prospects than usual. And, as you may have heard, a certain Heisman Trophy winner will take the next step in his baseball development with the Scottsdale Scorpions.
Since the AFL opened play in 1992, roughly 60 percent of its participants have graduated to the big leagues -- more than 2,500 players, including 247 All-Stars, 15 MVPs, six Cy Young Award winners and 26 Rookies of the Year. Alumni include future Hall of Famers such as Derek Jeter and Albert Pujols, as well as five of the six major award winners from 2015 in Jake Arrieta, Kris Bryant, Josh Donaldson, Bryce Harper and Dallas Keuchel.
Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Carew, Ziegler earn Bob Feller Act of Valor honors
By Oliver Macklin
Boston Red Sox reliever Brad Ziegler and former Minnesota Twins and California Angels great Rod Carew are the 2016 Bob Feller Act of Valor Award honorees, the Bob Feller Act of Valor Award Foundation announced Wednesday.
The annual award recognizes one current Major League Baseball player and one Hall of Famer each year who possess the "values, integrity and dedication" Bob Feller displayed serving the United States of America.
MINNEAPOLIS -- With the regular season coming to a close for the Twins on Sunday, they formally announced the hiring of Derek Falvey to be executive vice president and chief baseball officer on Monday.
Falvey, 33, had been Cleveland's assistant general manager for the past year and had been with that organization since 2007. Falvey helped build a roster that saw the Indians win the American League Central this year for the first time since '07.
MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins interim general manager Rob Antony met with all seven Major League-level coaches Monday morning to inform them a decision on their future will be made once Derek Falvey officially takes over as chief baseball officer.
Twins manager Paul Molitor has been publicly assured by ownership that he'll be back next year, but the fate of his coaching staff has yet to be decided heading into 2017. Falvey, the Indians' former assistant GM, is expected to be formally introduced by Minnesota once Cleveland's postseason run concludes.
MINNEAPOLIS -- After a surprising 2015 campaign that saw the Twins contend for their first postseason berth since 2010, they took a major step backward this season, losing more than 100 games for the second time since the franchise moved to Minnesota in 1961.
The Twins believed they could compete in 2016, but after an 0-9 start, they never got back into contention. It cost longtime general manager Terry Ryan his job, as he was dismissed in July. A lack of quality pitching was the main culprit, as Minnesota finished with the worst ERA in the American League.
MINNEAPOLIS -- It will be an important offseason for the Twins, who are coming off a highly disappointing year and will have a new leadership team in place, with former Indians assistant general manager Derek Falvey taking over as the president of baseball operations.
Falvey, 33, replaces longtime general manager Terry Ryan, who was dismissed in July after the Twins couldn't build on their surprising showing in 2015. Falvey inherits an organization that has young talent such as Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, Max Kepler and Jorge Polanco as well as a top farm system, but the Major League team is coming off a 100-loss season and lacks pitching.
CHICAGO -- Chris Sale's final pitch of an All-Star 2016 season was a slider that caught Miguel Sano looking in the fifth inning of a 6-3 Minnesota victory over the White Sox Sunday at U.S. Cellular Field. Whether that pitch will be Sale's last as part of the White Sox remains to be seen, as the left-hander serves as Chicago's top trade chip despite having contractual control over him for three more seasons.
"Absolutely, it could. This is sports. Anything can happen," Sale said. "I don't anticipate that happening or necessarily really want that to happen but it could."
CHICAGO -- Byron Buxton wasted little time in his first game at leadoff hitter this year, smacking the first pitch from White Sox ace Chris Sale over the head of center fielder Leury Garcia for an inside-the-park homer in the Twins' 6-3 win in the season finale on Sunday.
Buxton showed off his elite speed, as he made it to home in 14.05 seconds, which was the fastest time recorded by Statcast™ on an inside-the-parker over the last two seasons. For context, the second-fastest this year was 14.85 seconds from Melvin Upton Jr., while Brett Gardner had the third-fastest at 14.89 seconds.
After a 2015 season that exceeded expectations, the Minnesota Twins were hoping to compete for the postseason in 2016. Things couldn't have gone further awry for the Twins, as they finished in the cellar of the American League Central, leading to general manager Terry Ryan being relieved of his duties.
The silver lining for the Twins, of course, is that by finishing with the worst record in baseball, they'll have the No. 1 pick in the 2017 Draft.
CHICAGO -- Twins second baseman Brian Dozier's career year came to a close on Sunday, as he was held out of the lineup in the series finale against the White Sox with right oblique soreness he sustained during Saturday's 6-0 win.
Dozier, who was injured on a swing in the first inning and later left Saturday's game, finishes hitting .268/.340/.546 with 42 homers, 35 doubles, 18 stolen bases, 104 runs and 99 RBIs in 155 games. He finishes one homer short of tying the record for homers hit by a player who primarily played second base and one RBI short of 100.
CHICAGO -- The White Sox drafted Hector Santiago in 2006 and developed him as a starter, closer and everything in between. The left-hander has shown his gratitude by beating the White Sox yet again on Saturday night at U.S. Cellular Field, as Santiago pushed the Twins to a 6-0 victory.
Santiago spun 6 1/3 scoreless frames against his former team, scattering three hits and three walks to get the win. Santiago improved to 4-0 with a 1.03 ERA in four starts against the White Sox this year. He also finished 3-6 with a 5.58 ERA in 11 starts with Minnesota after being acquired from the Angels at the Trade Deadline.
The first pitch to Schafer was a ball. The next was a strike. He fouled off the one after that, then saw another ball. He fouled off the next one and then … (Start singing the theme from "Psycho" to yourself now.)
CHICAGO -- Twins manager Paul Molitor said he met with veteran catcher Kurt Suzuki earlier this week to tell him he won't catch any more games this season.
Suzuki, who turns 33 on Tuesday, has been solid this year, hitting .258/.301/.403 with eight homers, 24 doubles and 49 RBIs in 106 games, but has struggled this month and had stitches inserted into his chin for a second time this year on Sept. 14. Suzuki is headed toward free agency, and Molitor said it's likely weighed on Suzuki in September.
CHICAGO -- Carlos Rodon appeared to find the strikeout pitch in finishing up this 2016 season.
After going the entire year without reaching double-digits in a start, Rodon matched a career-high by striking out 11 over eight innings last Sunday in Cleveland and fanned 10 in six innings during a 7-3 victory over the Twins Friday night at U.S. Cellular Field. Rodon allowed two earned runs over his last 14 innings pitched.
KANSAS CITY -- The Twins wanted to avoid making the wrong kind of history in their series finale against the Royals on Thursday night, as a defeat would've set the club record for losses in a season with 103 and would've dropped them to 0-10 at Kauffman Stadium this year.
But rookie center fielder Byron Buxton continued his strong September and made sure it didn't happen with a go-ahead two-run triple in the seventh before sparking a three-run rally in the ninth with a one-out double in a 7-6 win. Buxton went 2-for-3 with a walk, lining out to short in the fifth.
KANSAS CITY -- Twins second baseman Brian Dozier was slated to remain in the lineup until the end of the season on Sunday, but manager Paul Molitor changed his mind amid Dozier's 1-for-30 slump. Instead, Dozier was held out of the lineup in Thursday night's 7-6 win over the Royals.
Molitor said on Tuesday that he planned to play Dozier the rest of the year, but met with him before Thursday's game to tell him he was going to get a mental break because of his slump. It was Dozier's first time out of the lineup since May 23, snapping a streak of 113 straight starts.
KANSAS CITY -- The Twins have yet to officially name Indians assistant general manager Derek Falvey as their new head of baseball operations, but manager Paul Molitor said he's excited about the prospect of having a hire made early in the offseason.
Molitor, though, wouldn't confirm that Falvey was the hire, as he said he hasn't heard anything official from ownership or the front office just yet.
By Rhett Bollinger and Jeffrey Flanagan
KANSAS CITY -- The defending World Series champs went out with everything they had.
The Royals rallied for three runs in the eighth -- fueled by an RBI double from Kendrys Morales and a two-run single from Alex Gordon -- to beat the Twins, 5-2, on Wednesday night, their fourth straight win.
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins are set to hire Indians assistant general manager Derek Falvey as their new president of baseball operations, according to a Major League source.
The Twins, however, have not confirmed the hiring of Falvey, who has been with Cleveland since 2007. A source familiar with the Twins' search said the "process is still ongoing." The Twins are also expected to hire a general manager who will report to Falvey.
KANSAS CITY -- Twins second baseman Brian Dozier is set to start in each of Minnesota's final six games against the non-contending Royals and White Sox, while first baseman Joe Mauer said he's not ready to shut it down despite dealing with a strained right quad.
Manager Paul Molitor met with Dozier before Tuesday's game against Kansas City about his playing time this week, and Dozier told him he wanted to play in the rest of the remaining games.