Minnesota Twins Spring Training Countdown: 4, Cy Young Award Winners

SAN FRANCISCO - JULY 10: American League All-Star pitcher Johan Santana
SAN FRANCISCO - JULY 10: American League All-Star pitcher Johan Santana /

The Minnesota Twins are just 4 days away from spring training. As we celebrate the return of the game we love, let’s look at the #4’s place in team history.

The Minnesota Twins are preparing for a 2018 season with expectations after making the playoffs in 2017 as a Wild Card team. We will be highlighting numbers from team history that represent the number of days until spring training from now until pitchers and catchers report on February 13th.

Four more days until spring training and we are still waiting for the Twins to address starting pitching concerning the 2018 squad. And the best available pitcher, Yu Darvish, just chose to join the Chicago Cubs. What a perfect day than to take a look at and long for the days when the Twins had a Cy Young award winner on their staff. That was four times to be exact!

Jim Perry

Jim Perry was the first Twin to win a Cy Young award and did so in 1970. 1970 was the second season in a row that the Twins were good enough to make the American League Championship Series. Certainly, the season that Perry was able to put together as he led the Twins staff helped plenty.

In 1970 Perry started 40 games going 24-12 in those games and logging 278.2 in those starts. Perry’s ERA was 3.04, ERA+ of 125 and he struck out 168 batters good for a K/9 of 5.4. He pitched well enough to be noticed league-wide by finishing ninth in MVP voting.

Frank Viola

World Series hangover? No such thing for Frank Viola as he only pitched better in 1988 after winning the World Series in 1988. The Twins as a whole really didn’t have much of a hangover but just didn’t make it quite back to the same place finishing 2nd in the American League West with a 91-71 record.

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Viola started 35 games and went 24-7 completing 7 games and pitching 255.1 innings. Viola had the best winning percentage by a pitcher that season, a 2.64 ERA, 154 ERA+. He ended up striking out 193 batters with a 6.8 K/9. Viola also made a good run in MVP voting finishing 10th in that race.

Johan Santana

In case you missed the 2000’s, Johan Santana was a dominant pitcher. I am still trying to figure out how he didn’t get more of a Hall of Fame chance. In both 2004 and 2006, Santana brought home the Cy Young award at the end of the season. In 2004 he started 34 games, went 20-6, led the league with a 2.61 ERA and 182 ERA+ in 228 innings. Santana was incredible when it came to missing bats ending the season with 265 strikeouts at 10.5 K/9. Both of those stats also led the league in 2004.

In 2006 on his way to a second Cy Young, Santana started 34 games, went 19-6, led the league with 2.77 ERA and 162 ERA+ with another league leading 233.2 innings pitched. His strikeout numbers weren’t quite as good as 2004, but still very good as he struck out a league-leading 245 batters and 9.4 K/9. Sure makes you long to see the lefty throw again!

Next: With Darvish to the Cubs, now what for the Twins?

With four more days until spring training, can you smell baseball yet? We are looking at you Ervin Santana!