Minnesota Twins: 5 best starting rotations of all-time

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - APRIL 15: Ervin Santana
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - APRIL 15: Ervin Santana /
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Minnesota Twins
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – APRIL 15: Ervin Santana /

The Minnesota Twins have been on a mission to upgrade their 2018 starting rotation. As they do so let’s look at the best Twins starting rotations all-time.

The Minnesota Twins have a history that is filled with plenty of successes, headlined by World Series victories in 1987 and 1991. Of course, there are plenty of seasons we would like to forget as well. Here is the next installment of a series where we have been going through the top five of different position groups through Twins history. So far we have covered the outfield, middle infields, corner infields, and catching groups. Next up is the best starting rotations of all-time.

When we look at the past several seasons, “great” and “starting rotation” are not words we are used to putting together. That has in fact been the biggest focus of this past offseason as fans have awaited additions to the Twins starting rotation. 2018’s rotation still may not be a lock to make a list like this, but with the trade for Jake Odorizzi, it is moving in the right direction.

In 2017 the Twins rotation was led by Ervin Santana and the emerging Jose Berrios. While there are continued questions surrounding the ability of Santana to maintain the performances he has had for the Twins, he has continued to be a valuable pitcher for the Twins. In 2017 he pitched 211.1 innings, held a 3.28 ERA, and led the league in complete games (5) and shutouts (3).

Berrios started to show the type of starting pitcher the Twins have been hoping he would develop into in 2017. His second start on May 18th against the Colorado Rockies was a glimpse of who we hope Berrios continues to develop into as he pitched 7.2 innings and struck out 11 batters while allowing no runs. Over the course of the whole season, Berrios pitched 145.2 innings, a 3.89 ERA, and an 8.6 K/9.

There was quite a drop off in the rotation after that. Kyle Gibson was the next pitcher in line. The start of his season was rough, but in the second half, he seemed to find his form. In the second half, Gibson’s ERA dropped from 6.31 in the first half to 3.76 and his K/9 increased from 5.6 to 8.2. The next regular piece of the rotation was Bartolo Colon who signed with the Twins mid-season after being released by the Atlanta Braves. Colon’s numbers weren’t anything great, but his 5.18 ERA did bring some stability to the Twins rotation.

Those were the regular members of the rotation as the fifth position was a rotation of several different pitchers. If you have been following along with this series you already know that WAR has been a big part of determining the best of each position group. Looking at those 4 starters the Twins rotation had a combined WAR of about 6.6 with Santana leading the way with 4.2 WAR.

As we look through Twins history we will certainly find much better performances than that. Without further delay let’s look at number 5.