More than 40 games into the season and the biggest surprise for the Minnesota Twins continues to be the 34-year old veteran, Ervin Santana.
The season started off with speculation that, since the Minnesota Twins wouldn’t be in contention, Ervin Santana would be nice trade bait. Now, more than 40 games in, and Santana may be proving to be the exact opposite: the person to lift them into contention.
The Twins are 24-18 and in 1st in the AL Central, still. Yes, ahead of the reigning AL champs, Cleveland Indians. A combination of many things has led Minnesota into the spot they are today, but none bigger than the performance of Ervin Santana.
So far in 2017, Santana has started in 10 games and pitched 70.0 innings. In those 70 innings, he has a record of 7-2 with a 1.80 ERA, 50 strikeouts and 27 walks. He has been wonderful at keeping the ball in the field, as well, only allowing 7 home-runs.
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Last night, Santana pitched another gem to add to hit stat sheet, and it may have been his best game yet. He pitched the full 9 innings, only allowing 2 hits and no runs in a 2-0 victory for the Twins over the Orioles.
While his statistics are beyond impressive, it’s his leadership that has really helped this team take the next step. With having many young players, a leader is exactly what the Twins’ pitching staff needs to badly.
One in particular comes to mind: Jose Berrios. Berrios struggled in his rookie campaign in the majors, but has been phenomenal in his first two starts this season. As the year progresses, though, Berrios will face some bumps in the road. That’s when he could use a mentor like Santana to his advantage.
In conclusion, Ervin Santana seems like a vital piece to the Minnesota Twins’ playoff run. It’s looking more and more like the Twins are still going to be in contention by the trade deadline. If that is the case, no way can they let Santana go.