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 – JULY 07: Felix Jorge
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – JULY 07: Felix Jorge /

Felix Jorge, RHP

Jorge has made a pair of spot starts at the major league level this year and will make a spot start with AAA this season, but his growth at AA this year is what the story truly is.

Jorge has always had the raw stuff, but he’s lived on elite command and struggled to miss bats previous to this year, in spite of putting up good numbers. This season, he’s put up quality numbers, and though he doesn’t have great strikeout rates overall, he’s shown a great ability to get a swing and miss when he needs one, which has been impressive, to say the least. He’s put up a 3.54 ERA and 1.33 WHIP with AA Chattanooga this year in 22 starts and 134 2/3 innings, posting a 37/99 BB/K ratio.

Kohl Stewart, RHP

Stewart has been a mixed bag for Twins fans since he was drafted 4th overall by the Minnesota Twins in 2013 out of high school in Texas. Stewart has struggled to get swing and miss along the way, and many have mentioned that his secondary pitches still need plenty of work, but he’s had such success all the way along that he’s really not had the chance to develop his secondary stuff.

John Smoltz has mentioned himself as a guy who lived on a good fastball in the minors and had to learn how to actually “pitch” once he got to the majors. He threw well at AA this season, but recently found himself on the disabled list, so whether he’ll be able to make it back to throw again this year is up in the air, but his numbers this year hide the progress he made in his approach with hitters throughout the year, something evident if you sit down and watch a collection of starts from the start of the year to the end.

Dereck Rodriguez, RHP

The son of Hall of Fame catcher Ivan Rodriguez, Dereck originally was an outfielder when drafted by the Twins in 2011 out of high school. He switched to the mound in 2014, and he’s shown a good feel for the game.

Rodriguez has raw stuff that’s on the cusp of a major league caliber pitcher, but he still has some work to do to refine his arsenal in such a way that he could be successful as a starter

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Zack Littell, RHP

Acquired from the Yankees at the trade deadline in the deal that sent Jaime Garcia from the Minnesota Twins to New York, Littell was acquired by the Yankees just over the offseason from the Seattle Mariners organization.

Littell is not a guy with elite raw stuff, but he has a good ability to read hitters and sequence his above-average stuff across the board, and he’s had a very good year in 2017 between high-A and AA, going 17-1 over 25 appearances, throwing 145 innings with a 2.11 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, and a 36/133 BB/K with three different affiliates this season. He’s likely on the young side to make the move all the way to the majors this season, but he certainly could make some noise in 2018, and he’s got the mound maturity to handle a jump to Minnesota if called upon.

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Of course, Kyle Gibson and Bartolo Colon are no guarantees to finish the season in the rotation, so there could be more opportunities for others to make their mark in the rotation this year.

What do you think of this list? Any of the group your favorite? Any missing from this list that you would like to see? Comment below!