Minnesota Twins Opening Day Countdown: 63, Baker wins
The Minnesota Twins are just 64 days away from opening day in Baltimore. As we near that day, we will tap into Twins history related to each number as we get closer!
The Minnesota Twins are preparing for a 2018 season with expectations after making the playoffs in 2017 as a Wild Card. We will have bring out numbers from team history that represent the number of days until opening day on March 29th in Baltimore.
When a team drafts a player from college in the first three rounds, the hope is that the player will move quickly. Few followed that plan for the Minnesota Twins in recent memory as well as Scott Baker.
Baker’s Twins career
Baker was drafted late by the Pirates out of high school, but he chose to go to Oklahoma State instead, where the Twins made him a 2nd round pick in 2003. He jumped immediately to low-A in his draft year to make 11 starts, throwing 50 innings.
In 2004, Baker jumped up three levels, pitching very well with high-A and AA before struggling a bit in AAA, totaling a 3.24 ERA over 169 2/3 innings. He opened 2005 back in AAA, where he posted a 3.01 ERA before getting a late season call to the majors, where he made a positive impression, with a 3.35 ERA over 53 2/3 innings with the big league club.
Baker struggled mightily in 2006 to get his ball past anyone, allowing a 6.37 ERA over 83 1/3 innings. He came back in 2007 and established himself in the rotation with 23 starts and 143 2/3 innings where he had a 4.26 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, and 29/102 BB/K.
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Baker used 2007 as the beginning of a five-year run where he was a very solid pitcher in the Twins rotation. He totaled 55 wins over that 5 year stretch with 821 innings, with a 3.98 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, and averaged a 39/135 BB/K ratio.
However, Baker had just one 200 inning season, as injuries seemed to constantly hound him. In 2009, he made 33 starts and threw 200 innings, the only time in his career he would top 30 starts or 200 innings.
Baker left the Twins after 2011 with 63 wins, which is why he is our focus today. He had a 4.15 ERA over 958 innings, posting a 224/770 BB/K ratio.
In three seasons after the Twins, he totaled just 106 2/3 innings, pitching to a 5.23 ERA, though he did have a 1.15 WHIP. He pitched his last game in 2015 at 33.
Next: Who will be next in Twins team HOF?
As we get closer to opening day, we remember #63 by remembering the wins from a pitcher that moved quickly from the draft to the Twins rotation and offered the team five solid, albeit injury-plagued, seasons in the rotation.
We look forward to that first day of the season against Baltimore!