Minnesota Twins: best starting pitching staff in team history

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Minnesota Twins

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – MAY 11: Former pitchers Bert Blyleven (L) and Jack Morris of the Minnesota Twins present Francisco Liriano

The Minnesota Twins have had excellent pitching over the team history,
but which starting pitching staff was the best?

As the Minnesota Twins plan to make a splash to bring in likely multiple starting pitchers over the offseason to add to some exciting young arms that are either up in the majors already or within a year or arriving, it’s a fun thing to look at some of the best staffs in Minnesota Twins history.

A discussion about the end of the Minnesota Twins run in the 1960s in a Daily Dip post earlier this week mentioned the elite arms in the 1970 staff. That led to a Twitter question about which Twins starting staff was the best in team history. Of course, questions like that often lead into excellent Baseball Reference rabbit hole!

This is the result of that rabbit hole, so first of all, thank you to Matt Johnson, @TwinsAlmanac on Twitter for this suggestion!

1970 staff – Jim Perry, Jim Kaat, Bert Blyleven, Luis Tiant, Dave Boswell

The careers of the top four in this rotation is what sparked the interest. You have a teenage future Hall of Famer in Blyleven, who threw 164 innings on the season with a quality rookie season, but he didn’t really have a chance for Rookie of the Year with Thurman Munson‘s excellent season for the Yankees, nearly getting a unanimous ballot.

The staff had two guys who are near Hall of Famers in Jim Kaat and Luis Tiant. Tiant only threw 92 2/3 innings on the season, but Kaat and Jim Perry combined to throw 509 innings between the two of them.

The reason that this staff is mentioned first and not on the list is not just because they were the inspiration to doing this list, but also because while the overall pitching numbers for the 1970 staff were amazing, much of that was from an exceptional bullpen, with four bullpen members throwing 110+ innings, with three posting an ERA of 2.55 or lower.

Among the primary starters, none had an ERA under 3 with two of the primary relievers also making double digit starts on the season as well, so the starting staff itself wasn’t the focus of the success of the seasn’s pitching success, as great as the names in that front four were.

So, which rotations did make the top 5? Let’s start out with one that actually replaced one of its previous season’s biggest pieces and simply got better

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