BEST TWINS PLAYER Minneapolis 2006 - Carlos Silva
There's a feisty Venezuelan pitcher on the Twins roster who had a record-breaking season in 2005, but it wasn't Johan Santana. While the team's ace continued his rise to the top of every fantasy-baseball nerd's wish list by logging unreal strikeout numbers and the league's second-best ERA, 26-year-old hurler Carlos Silva quietly made history in a less-glamorous but nonetheless impressive stat column: walks. In 188 1/3 innings, Silva walked just nine batters—look at those numbers again. Silva gave up one walk every 21 innings, or 0.43 times per game. Normally, anything lower than 1.0 is phenomenal. David Wells, a notoriously stingy pitcher, posted a 1.02 rate last year. League average was 3.2. If the numbers alone don't knock you out, try this little nugget from Christian Ruzich, writing on BaseballProspectus.com: "No pitcher has posted a walk rate as low as Silva's in 125 years. The last guy to do it was George Bradley in 1880, and in case you don't remember how the game was played in 1880, it took eight balls for the batter to get a walk that season." But it isn't Silva's control that makes this impressive. Anyone can throw strikes: It takes a special pitcher to throw them over and over and still get batters out. The key to Silva's success is a devastating sinker, a pitch that batters have come to expect and yet still can't hit out of the infield, when they make contact all. Because of this, Silva is inordinately dependent on the defense behind him—and with the offseason addition of three-time Gold Glove winner and double-play maestro Luis Castillo to the lineup, his 2006 numbers look to be even better than last year's. And that's just scary.