MINNEAPOLIS -- Baseball's award season doesn't officially begin until later this month, but the Twins kicked things off by announcing their 2010 honorees on Wednesday. The Twins unveiled the winners of the 2010 Diamond Awards, which are voted on by the Twin Cities Chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. The awards will be given out at the sixth annual Diamond Awards dinner on Jan. 27, 2011, at Target Field. The event will benefit brain, nerve and muscle disorders research at the University of Minnesota. For the second straight year, Joe Mauer was deemed the Twins' Most Valuable Player as the recipient of the Calvin R. Griffith Award. Mauer finished third in the American League with a .327 batting average, and his 43 doubles this season rank second on baseball's All-Time list for doubles by a catcher, trailing only Ivan Rodriguez's 47 with Texas in 1996. The four-time All-Star rebounded from difficult first half by his standards to bat .373 over his final 60 games.
In addition to being named team MVP, Mauer also was selected for the third year in a row as the winner of the Dick Seibert Award for the Upper Midwest Player of the Year. Carl Pavano was named the Twins' Pitcher of the Year, and receives the Joseph W. Haynes Award. Pavano, 34, was 17-11 with a 3.75 ERA in 32 starts for the Twins in 2010. His seven complete games ranked second in all of baseball, tied with Cliff Lee, and Pavano was second in fewest walks allowed with just 37 walks in 221 innings pitched. Left fielder Delmon Young's breakout season for the Twins was recognized by voters as he was named the Charles O. Johnson Award winner for Most Improved Twin. The 25-year-old batted .298 while setting career highs in doubles (46) and RBIs (112) in 153 games for the Twins in 2010. Danny Valencia filled the Twins' hole at third base and the stellar campaign in his first season in the Majors earned him the honor of being named the Twins' Most Outstanding Rookie (the Bill Boni Award). Valencia, who turned 26 on Sept. 19, batted .311 with 18 doubles and 40 RBIs in 85 games for the Twins. In 65 games after the All-Star break, Valencia ranked first among AL rookies in batting (.311), RBIs (37) and doubles (16). Mauer wasn't the only player to earn two awards. Michael Cuddyer was named the winner of the Bob Allison Award for the second straight year and the recipient of the Mike Augustin Award for the media "good guy." The Bob Allison Award is given to the Twins player who exemplifies determination, hustle, tenacity, competitive spirit and leadership both on and off the field. In addition to being a key contributor on the field for the Twins and the player who awards the game ball after each contest, Cuddyer also played a strong leadership role in the community. Cuddyer served as a member of the Minnesota Twins Community Fund Board and hosts a "Cuddy's Buddy" at batting practice prior to each Saturday home game during the season, among other charitable endeavors. Cuddyer was also honored as the media good guy winner, which is given to the Twins player who fosters healthy relations with the media. In addition to appearing on a weekly radio show and participating in several public service ads, Cuddyer set an example for his teammates by regularly making himself available to the media throughout the season. The sixth annual Diamond Awards dinner will honor the 2010 BBWAA award recipients as well as the winners of the Sherry Robertson Award (Joe Benson, Twins Minor League Player of the Year), the Jim Rantz Award (Kyle Gibson, Twins Minor League Pitcher of the Year), the Carl R. Pohlad Community Service Award (Jesse Crain) and the Kirby Puckett Award for alumni community service (Bert Blyleven). All proceeds from the event will benefit the University of Minnesota's research and patient care focused on ataxia, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease and ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease). For information on the event, call the Twins at (612) 33-TWINS or 1-800-33-TWINS, or Valerie Petermann at the Minnesota Medical Foundation at (612) 624-4444. You can also visit http://www.minnesotadiamondawards.org.
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.