Minnesota Twins Pitching Battles to Keep an Eye on This Spring: Starters Edition

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Sep 19, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Kyle Gibson (44) pitches to the Los Angeles Angels in game one of a doubleheader at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 19, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Kyle Gibson (44) pitches to the Los Angeles Angels in game one of a doubleheader at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports /
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Oct 1, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Tyler Duffey (56) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 1, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Tyler Duffey (56) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports /

Puckett’s Pond breaks down which pitchers are fighting for spots in the Minnesota Twins starting rotation.

More from Puckett's Pond

Yesterday, we focused on the battles in Spring Training between position players. Today, we look at the openings available on the pitching staff, specifically the 5 man starting rotation. Again, service time consideration could (and should) be a deciding factor when looking at some of the younger arms.

First, let’s tackle the elephant in the room, Jose Berrios. Barring injuries to 4 out of the 5 starters during Spring Training (and maybe not even then), #2 prospect Berrios will start the season in Rochester. Like teams before them, most notably the Cubs with Kris Bryant last year, the Twins need to be prudent and retain as many years of control as possible. Granted, he would look nice in a Twins uniform, and the starting rotation is in dire need of a top-of-the-rotation kind of guy. But most likely it will be May, not April, before we see him.

Speaking of May, Trevor May is the relief pitcher most wanted by Minnesota Twins fans to jump from reliever to starter. But the Twins’ bullpen is in dire need of a hard thrower that can miss bats as well (8.63 K/9, best among Twins pitchers with over 50 innings pitched).  Where he ends up determines the fate of many Twins throwers.

Twins GM Terry Ryan has said time and again that Ervin Santana, Phil Hughes, and Kyle Gibson are safe as starters. In what order is another great debate that Puckett’s Pond will be highlighting this week, so stay tuned. If that’s the case, then we are looking at two pitchers to fill the 4 and 5 spots in the rotation.

Next: 4th and 5th Starter Candidates

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