Minnesota Twins: best starting pitching staff in team history
3. 2004 staff – Johan Santana, Brad Radke, Carlos Silva, Kyle Lohse,
Terry Mulholland, Seth Greisinger
The mid-2000s Twins had two key cogs that really led to them being an elite overall staff in that era, Johan Santana and Brad Radke. While Santana was an elite starter, Radke was a consistent arm that would take the ball every fifth day and gave the Twins above-average 200 innings 9 of his 12 seasons with the team.
The 2004 staff had the best numbers of any of that era’s staffs, though much of that has to do with the incredible season that ace Santana had. He went 20-6 over 34 starts, throwing 228 innings with a 2.61 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and 54/265 BB/K ratio.
Radke was the only other starter under a 3.5 ERA, though Silva and Lohse did combine for 397 innings, so the front 4 gave excellent innings for the team. It’s also notable to remember that this was in the peak of the offensive era of the late-90s and early-2000s, so the starters had an opponents’ OPS+ of 93, one of the best over the history of the franchise, so compared to other pitching staffs in the leagues, they were quite a bit ahead of league average.
Overall the staff had a 4.08 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 6.1 K/9, and a 2.92 K/BB as a staff. The front three of Santana, Radke, and Silva was the top producer among top 3’s in franchise history with 18.3 bWAR combined, though that leaned heavily on Santana’s 8.6 bWAR.
Interestingly, the 2004 staff was led by a threesome in the bullpen as well, as closer Joe Nathan was one of the elite in the entire game, with 44 saves, a 1.62 ERA, and 89 strikeouts over 72 1/3 innings, leading the pen. Juan Rincon and J.C. Romero were the primary setup men. Rincon and Romero combined for 18 wins, over 150 innings, striking out 175 hitters.