Who should be the Minnesota Twins fifth starter?

DETROIT, MI - AUGUST 12: Dillon Gee
DETROIT, MI - AUGUST 12: Dillon Gee /
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MINNEAPOLIS, MN – AUGUST 08: Adalberto Mejia
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – AUGUST 08: Adalberto Mejia /

Hector Santiago, LHP

The Minnesota Twins acquired Hector Santiago last July in a deal that sent Ricky Nolasco, Alex Meyer, and cash to the Los Angeles Angels for Santiago and reliever Alan Busenitz.

Santiago has a history of starting with the Angels, though he has never eclipsed 200 innings, partially due to significant variance in his performance that will have him throwing 7 quality innings in one start and being bombed out after 1 2/3 innings in his next outing, but also due to issues both controlling the ball and keeping it in the park.

Split between the Angels and Twins last season, Santiago had a career high in innings with 182, but walked 79 batters and allowed 33 home runs (one per start) to get there. Santiago showed very well in the World Baseball Classic this spring, and there were hopes that he could carry that into the season. Going into his start against the Cleveland Indians on May 14th, that had been the case, as Santiago had a season record of 4-1 over 7 starts, throwing 42 1/3 innings, with a 2.76 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, and a 16/31 BB/K ratio. He’d even kept his home run rate down to 3 in those 7 starts.

That May 14th start was a disaster, as he went only 2 2/3 innings against the Indians, allowing 3 home runs and 6 runs. By the time he finally went on the disabled list on July 2nd, his season ERA had ballooned to 5.63 due to a near-10 ERA over the 8 appearances from May 14-July 2.

Santiago has been working back from thoracic back pain issues ever since early July, starting rehab with Rochester on July 25th, where he’s now made 5 appearances, throwing 17 innings, posting a 4.24 ERA and a 1.53 WHIP. He’s not made an appearance since August 9th as he had a setback in his recovery, but the Twins still hope to get him back this season before he hits free agency this offseason.

Adalberto Mejia, LHP

Mejia was originally the 5th starter this season, and he’s made a number of trips back and forth to Rochester because of that. His current assignment with the Red Wings is due to being on the disabled list. He was placed on the disabled list on August 9th. He has yet to make a rehab appearance with the Red Wings, so his return timetable is still unknown.

Mejia was acquired by the Minnesota Twins last July in the deal that sent Eduardo Nunez to the San Francisco Giants. He’s thrown well this season for the major league team, nearly perfect as a league-average lefty, perfect for a fifth-starter role. At 24, he has a long future still with the major league team.

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