No. 2: Torii Hunter, Minnesota Twins
Apr 24, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Minnesota Twins right fielderTorii Hunter
(48) makes a jumping catch to end the fourth inning against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports
Although he is no longer fit to man center field on a regular basis, it’s certainly nice to see Torii Hunter back in his familiar Minnesota Twins jersey.
In his nine seasons with the Twins from 1999 through 2007, Hunter hit .271 and averaged 22 home runs, 79 RBIs and 75 runs per season. He has always been a difference-maker at the plate but, as Sid Hartman of the Star Tribune writes, few would have ever thought Hunter would return to Minnesota eight years later as an even better offensive player than when he left.
But that has seemingly been the case.
Hunter left the Twins in 2008 to join the Los Angeles Angels, where he hit .286/.352/.462 in five seasons. He averaged better than 20 home runs and 80 RBIs during his stay but, with the added hits, Hunter saw his strikeout numbers increase into the 120s. Hunter than signed with Detroit before the 2013 season and immediately made an impact, becoming an All-Star in his age 37 season. Hunter, again, improved his batting average and hit .295 over more than 1,200 plate appearances in two seasons.
He has gotten better with age.
Off to a slow start now with Minnesota, Hunter is still capable of making a difference on both offense and defense. Hunter has an above-average arm in right field and brings a strong, veteran presence to a young Twins’ organization.
There’s absolutely no doubting Hunter’s impact.
Next: No. 1