The Minnesota Twins are highly active in the free agent market, especially with the top free agent pitchers. However, they may have one of the best in the league already.
The Minnesota Twins have already beefed up the bullpen with veteran additions Fernando Rodney, Addison Reed, and Zack Duke this offseason. They continue to pursue the top free agent starters on the market in order to fortify the rotation as well.
Do the Twins actually have one of the better starting pitchers in the league already in their opening day starter the past three seasons, Ervin Santana?
How Ervin ranks
Santana was a pitcher with an up and down background early in his career before figuring out a two-seam fastball with the Kansas City Royals and how to locate his change up as well, and that combination allowed him to find more consistency.
The Minnesota Twins signed “Big Erv” before the 2015 season, and though he missed half the season due to suspension, he came back and showed well in his time on the mound with a 4.00 ERA over 108 innings with a 1.30 WHIP and a 36/82 BB/K.
Over the past three years, since he’s been a Twin, Santana has thrown 7 complete games, tied for 5th among all pitchers in the game. He’s thrown 4 shutouts, which is tied for 3rd among all starting pitchers in the game.
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Over the last five seasons, Santana has the 27th ranked ERA among all starters who have made 100 starts. He is tied with Chris Archer and Dallas Keuchel for the 19th-most quality starts in the last five seasons.
Santana ranks 23rd in innings pitched over the last 5 seasons with 907 2/3 innings. He has the 25th most bWAR among pitchers over the last five seasons with 14.0, significantly behind the leaders in Max Scherzer and Clayton Kershaw, who are tight at the top with 33.3 and 33.1 bWAR tomorrow.
That bWAR number ranks Ervin ahead of such pitchers as Chris Archer, Gerrit Cole, Alex Cobb, Lance Lynn, Tyler Chatwood, and Jake Odorizzi, who have been rumored as either available trade targets or free agents this offseason.
Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta are the only two pitchers rumored as available in trade or free agents who do have a better bWAR over the past 5 seasons, with Darvish posting a 15.4 bWAR (even missing over a full season to Tommy John) while Arrieta has a 19.6 bWAR over that time.
So, while the Minnesota Twins will continue to pursue a starter that can slot along with Santana at the front of their rotation, they’re already blessed with one of the best in the game.