Sep 27, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco (47) pitches in the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
1. Ricky Nolasco
The Twins big splash in free agency during the 2014 offseason was an absolute flop. Pitching through injury most of the season, Minnesota never saw any real return in their former National League acquisition. Now a year removed, and with a fresh slate, expect Nolasco to bounce back.
In an injury riddled season, Nolasco actually posted the second highest strikeout mark for the Twins with 115. That number slides in amongst the lowest in his career. Owning a career 7.3 K/9, Nolasco only compiled a 6.5 ratio a season ago. There is no reason to believe the strikeouts, and health won’t both return to normal in 2015.
With other pitchers taking some of the pressure off of him, Nolasco should be able to focus on simply competing rather than living up to expectations in 2015. It would be fair to assume that he once again is an innings eater, and strikes out around 180 batters.
Looking at the list from top to bottom, it appears certain that Minnesota has plenty of throwers this season that should be able to get batters out on their own. Considering the outfield defense may have taken steps backwards, having at least five starters that should surpass 100 strikeouts is a positive situation.
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