The Minnesota Twins starting rotation has been less than stellar the past few seasons. In 2012 the Twins starting pitchers combined for an ERA of 5.40, which was good for 29th in baseball. The past two seasons they’ve finished dead last in ERA. In 2013, they finished with a 5.26 ERA and in 2014 they finished with a 5.06 ERA. Will these numbers improve in 2015?
For the first time since the days of Johan Santana, there is a sense of excitement surrounding the Twins starting rotation. It’s mild excitement, but, excitement nonetheless.
Leading the charge will be Phil Hughes. Hughes enters his second season with the Twins following a year in which he registered a 16-10 record with a 3.52 ERA and 186 strikeouts. It would not surprising to see Hughes post similar numbers during his second season in a Twins uniform. Don’t be shocked if Hughes registers 200 plus strikeouts and makes a run at a 20 win season.
Ervin Santana had an exceptional season with the Atlanta Braves. Santana went 14-10 with a 3.95 ERA and 179 strikeouts. Santana had a September to forget; going 1-3 with a 6.51 ERA. The September numbers are a cause for concern, but there is little doubt that Santana will help improve the starting rotation.
Ricky Nolasco had about the worst season imaginable during his first year with the Twins. Nolasco finished with a 5.38 ERA (worst in baseball) and a 6-12 record. Can’t get any worse right? If Nolasco gets off to a rough start it could pave the way for Alex Meyer.
With Hughes and Santana the Twins have their best one-two punch since the days of Santana and Francisco Liriano. Both players could register 200 plus strikeouts while pushing for 15 plus wins. Nolasco’s play can’t get any worse in 2015, can it? If Nolasco gets off to a rough start, new manager, Paul Molitor won’t hesitate to move him to the bullpen to make room for Meyer. Kyle Gibson should improve during his second full season in the bigs.
This Twins rotation won’t be the best in baseball. It won’t even be the best in the AL Central. But, they will be much improved in 2015. How much better will hinge on the growth of Gibson and Nolasco’s ability to bounce back. With young arms like, Meyer, Kohl Stewart and Jose Berrios waiting in the wings, the future is definitely bright for the Twins starting rotation.
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