Does Ervin Santana have a halo around his head and wings on his back? Does he throw fireballs so fast that no major league batter can touch them? Of course not, but as the Twins addressed a need for another quality starting pitcher this offseason, they can finally look at pitching in the organization as somewhat of an asset.
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Minnesota lost over 90 games last season and saw its pitching staff rank amongst the worst in the major leagues once again. With that in mind, it seems almost over-the-top to think that a turnaround has actually been made, but it appears to be true.
Last season, the Twins got incredible value out of Phil Hughes. He came in and pitched at what looked like All-Star or Cy Young level for stretches of the year, and even at his worst, he was still a solid pitcher on a nightly basis. Rick Nolasco came over from the National League, and regressed significantly, but also ended up spending most of the season hurt. The Twins got important innings for the development of both Kyle Gibson and Trevor May, and Tommy Milone was brought over for a trade that required virtually nothing to be dealt back (Sam Fuld was a waiver claim from earlier in the year.)
Phil Hughes, Santana, and Nolasco provide what should be an above average first three pitchers in the Twins 2015 starting rotation. There are only five spots however, and the Twins will actually have an abundance of arms to fill out the back end starters. I believe they will belong to Alex Meyer and Tommy Milone. With that said however, that leaves Mike Pelfrey, Kyle Gibson, and Trevor May all competing for relief innings and spot starts. On top of those three, Jose Berrios is knocking on the big league door from Double-A, even though he may not make it in 2015.
Regardless of who fills in where, the Twins find themselves with three quality starters that are locks for the rotation, and a bigger group of five or six guys that can all pitch consistent innings at a moments notice. For a team looking to turn things around, starting from the mound, this is a great sign for future success.
Look for the Twins to iron out their rotation through spring training, and find creative ways to get the rest of the aforementioned names meaningful innings.
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