José Berríos won a Gold Glove, Yennier Cano finished second in MLB in holds, and Kyle Gibson earned a career-high 15 wins, four more than any Twins pitcher in 2023.
But the brightest star among the 107 former Twins who played elsewhere in 2023 wasn't a pitcher. And it wasn't a surprise, either.
Miami's Luis Arraez followed up his AL-best .316 average in 2022 with a .354 season for the Marlins this summer, the NL's highest average in 15 years. In an oddity, Arraez is the third NL batting champion in a decade to have gotten his start in Minnesota.
Michael Cuddyer hit .331 for the Rockies in 2013, earning his first and only batting title. One year later, Justin Morneau, Cuddyer's teammate in Minnesota and Colorado, claimed the batting championship by hitting .319 in Denver.
Arraez's season was the most impactful by a former Twin, as measured by his 4.9 Wins Above Replacement, since Hall of Famer David Ortiz's 5.2 WAR season in his farewell 2016 year for Boston. But though he will receive a second silver bat for his feat, he didn't get something that three former Twins earned last week: A 2023 World Series championship ring.
Mitch Garver, a 2013 Twins draftee who spent the 2017-21 seasons at Target Field, went just 2-for-19 in the World Series against Arizona, but the first hit was a home run and the second drove in the go-ahead run in the Rangers' championship-clinching Game 5 victory. Martín Pérez, who won 10 games for the 2019 Twins, got the final four outs of Texas' lone Series loss in Game 2. And Robbie Grossman, the Twins' fourth outfielder for three seasons nearly a decade ago, struck out in his lone pinch-hitting appearance for the American League champs.
That trio extended a streak of ex-Twins earning a World Series championship to seven straight seasons. And every World Series since 2010 has included at least one former Twins player on the field.
Of course, since Minnesota has utilized at least 50 players five times in the last six full seasons, there are a lot more ex-Twins than there used to be. In fact, when Tyler Duffey pitched two innings for the Cubs on the season's final day, he became the 58th ex-Twin to appear in at least one major league game, tying a record set one year earlier.
There would have been a 59th, too, but righthander Jake Odorizzi, who represented the Twins on the 2019 AL All-Star team, spent the entire season on the Rangers' 60-day injured list while his pitching shoulder healed.
In all, 107 former Twins played professional baseball, in the United States or abroad, during the summer of 2023, and they included some amazing comeback performances. Drew Rucinski, for instance, pitched for the A's this year, five seasons after his last MLB appearance and six years since being stationed in the Twins bullpen. He spent the past four seasons pitching in South Korea.
Similarly, Alan Busenitz, who pitched in 51 games for the Twins in 2017-18, made his way, after four seasons in Japan, back to the big leagues with the Reds. And Michael Tonkin, after last appearing in the majors with the Twins in 2017, re-emerged at age 33 to pitch in 45 games for the 104-58 Braves.
But a whopping 30 former Twins who were still active in 2022 didn't play professionally in 2023. Most are likely retired, though Miguel Sanó reportedly intends to attempt a comeback. And already this month, two prominent former Twins, Nelson Cruz and Trevor May, have announced their playing days are over, too.
MAJORS (59 on rosters, 58 played)
Fernando Abad, Colorado; Ehire Adrianza, Atlanta; Luis Arraez, Miami; Kyle Barraclough, Boston; Jose Berrios, Toronto; Alan Busenitz, Cincinnati; Yennier Cano, Baltimore; Jake Cave, Philadelphia; JT Chargois, Miami; Alex Colomé, Chicago White Sox; Danny Coulombe, Baltimore.
C.J. Cron, Colorado and L.A. Angels; Nelson Cruz, San Diego; John Curtiss, N.Y. Mets; Chase De Jong, Pittsburgh; Josh Donaldson, N.Y. Yankees and Milwaukee; Tyler Duffey, Chicago Cubs; Eduardo Escobar, Mets and Angels; Michael Fulmer, Chicago Cubs; Mitch Garver, Texas; Ian Gibaut, Cincinnati; Kyle Gibson, Baltimore; Chi Chi González, Miami.
Brusdar Graterol, L.A. Dodgers; Robbie Grossman, Texas; Billy Hamilton, Chicago White Sox; Caleb Hamilton, Boston; Ian Hamilton, N.Y. Yankees; Liam Hendriks, Chicago White Sox; Aaron Hicks, N.Y. Yankees and Baltimore; Rich Hill, Pittsburgh and San Diego; Tyler Kinley, Colorado.
Derek Law, Cincinnati; Sandy León, Texas; Zack Littell, Boston and Tampa Bay; Jorge López, Miami and Baltimore; Lance Lynn, Chicago White Sox and L.A. Dodgers; Trevor May, Oakland; Trevor Megill, Milwaukee; Tommy Milone, Seattle; Taylor Motter, St. Louis; Jake Odorizzi, Texas (injured list); Martin Pérez, Texas; Ryan Pressly, Houston.
Rob Refsnyder, Boston; Dereck Rodríguez, Atlanta; Taylor Rogers, San Francisco; Brent Rooker, Oakland; Ben Rortvedt, N.Y. Yankees; Eddie Rosario, Atlanta; Drew Rucinski, Oakland; Gary Sánchez, N.Y Mets and San Diego; Jonathan Schoop, Detroit; Devin Smeltzer, Miami; Michael Tonkin, Atlanta; Gio Urshela, L.A. Angels; Ildemaro Vargas, Washington; Andrew Vasquez, Philadelphia and Detroit; LaMonte Wade Jr., San Francisco.
Shaun Anderson, Philadelphia; Travis Blankenhorn, Washington; Dylan Bundy, N.Y. Mets; Beau Burrows, Atlanta; Gilberto Celestino, Minnesota; Juan Centeno, Arizona; Mark Contreras, Minnesota; Austin Davis, Houston; Randy Dobnak, Minnesota; Luke Farrell, Chicago White Sox; José Godoy, N.Y. Yankees and Baltimore; Stephen Gonsalves, Chicago Cubs; Ronny Henriquez, Minnesota.
Trevor Hildenberger, San Francisco; Ryan LaMarre, Minnesota; Juan Minaya, Pittsburgh; Mike Morin, Atlanta; Jermaine Palacios, Detroit and Kansas City; Sean Poppen, San Diego; Fernando Romero, L.A. Angels; Jhon Romero, Cleveland; Aaron Sanchez, Arizona; Cody Stashak, San Francisco; Aaron Whitefield, L.A. Angels; Matt Wisler, Detroit and Toronto.
Oswaldo Arcia, Guadalajara (Mexico); Willians Astudillo, Softbank (Japan); Tyler Austin, Yokohama (Japan); Charlie Barnes, Lotte (South Korea); Jharel Cotton, Orix (Japan); Dietrich Enns, Seibu (Japan); John Gant, Nippon (Japan); Marwin Gonzalez, Orix (Japan); Niko Goodrum, Lotte (South Korea); Tim Melville, Wei Chuan (Taiwan); ByungHo Park, KT (South Korea); Hansel Robles, Tijuana (Mexico); Fernando Rodney, Yucatan (Mexico); Hector Santiago, Monclova (Mexico); Nik Turley, Hiroshima (Japan); Kennys Vargas, Guadalajara (Mexico); Brandon Waddell, Rakuten (Taiwan).
Lew Ford, Long Island; Edgar Garcia, Lake Country; Juan Graterol, Lake Country; Chris Herrmann, Kansas City; Tzu-Wei Lin, Long Island; Neil Ramirez, High Point; Wilson Ramos, Long Island.
These 30 former Twins were active in 2022, but not in 2023
Austin Adams; Chris Archer; Tim Beckham; Jason Castro; Tyler Clippard; Sam Dyson; Johnny Field; Pedro Florimon; Ralph Garza; Ryne Harper; Brandon Kintzler; Logan Morrison; Gabriel Moya; Blake Parker; Michael Pineda; JT Riddle; Sergio Romo; Randy Rosario; Miguel Sanó; Danny Santana; Matt Shoemaker; Andrelton Simmons; Aaron Slegers; Joe Smith; Kurt Suzuki; Tyler Thornburg; Lewis Thorpe; Ronald Torreyes; Nick Vincent; Vance Worley.