1. 1967 staff – Dean Chance, Jim Kaat, Jim Merritt, Dave Boswell, Mudcat Grant
The 1967 staff is incredibly unique in a few aspects. One major one – outside of the 5 primary starters and 5 primary relievers, only 3 1/3 innings were thrown by 2 pitchers on the entire season. That amount of health of a team’s primary opening day pitching staff is incredible as is the consistency of performance for that level of players to remain the same guys from opening day.
From essentially the moment they arrived in Minnesota until the 1972 team mentioned here, the team overall had better than league-average pitching, and in fact, some of the best in the entire game for roughly an 8-year stretch from about 1963-1970. While there are some elite staffs in that time, the 1967 team ranks as the best in a fairly runaway fashion.
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The 1967 team has the most innings thrown by starters of any team since the team moved to Minnesota, yet also put up some of the best ratio statistics, with the best K/9 of any staff in team history, with a K/9 of 7.0 and a K/BB of 3.06. Among staffs considered for this article, only the 2005 Twins had a better K/BB ratio.
Beyond the excellence of the entire depth of the staff, the front three of the 1967 staff ranks among the best in team history, with the best ERA (2.78) of any front 3 in team history, the best K/9 (6.9), and the 2nd best K/BB and bWAR of a front 3 in team history.
That front three was all in their 20s, with Jim Kaat being the elder of the group at 28 years old. He made 42 appearances with 38 starts, throwing 263 1/3 innings as he completed 13 of his starts with a sparkling 42/211 BB/K ratio, a 3.04 ERA, and a 1.18 WHIP.
Dean Chance had been acquired the previous offseason, and he was near-dominant in his first season in a Twins uniform, making 41 appearances, 39 of them starts, completing 18 of them, and throwing 283 2/3 innings. He posted a 2.73 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, and a 68/220 BB/K ratio.
Lefty Jim Merritt was the surprise on the season, making 37 appearances, starting 28 games, completing 11, and throwing 227 2/3 innings. He led the rotation with a 2.53 ERA, 0.993 WHIP, and he posted a 30/161 BB/K ratio.
Dave Boswell rounded out a strong foursome at the top of the rotation, throwing 222 2/3 innings, with a 3.27 ERA and 1.21 WHIP, striking out 204, but also walking 107. Mudcat Grant was the team’s 5th starter, only throwing 95 1/3 innings in what would be his final season with the team.
The 1967 team was buoyed by an elite bullpen, with closer Al Worthington and Jim Perry working as swing man as the primary two bullpen arms used, racking up 222 2/3 innings between them.
The other staffs considered were pretty much every one from the 1960s through the 1972 staff, the 1992 staff, and the 2004-2006 staffs.
What do you think of the order? Any ones you would have changed? Comment below!!