No. 3- 1998 Starting Rotation
Putting together this series has proved again and again that baseball is truly a team game. So many times a really good position group has emerged out of some very bad seasons and this 1998 rotation is another one. Right in the middle of some bad seasons for the Twins, this team went 70-92 and finished 4th in the American League Central.
Making an appearance on this list again is a younger Brad Radke. In 1998 Radke pitched 213.2 innings which included 5 complete games and an ERA of 4.30. Two more encouraging numbers of Radke’s season was a 111 ERA+ and 3.90 FIP. Both suggested that Radke may have actually pitched a little better than his results often indicated.
Next was starter, yes starter, LaTroy Hawkins. During the 1998 season, Hawkins made 33 starts for the Twins and logged 190.1 innings and held a 5.25 ERA. As we will be able to see later WAR treated Hawkins pretty well, but we can begin to see why he eventually would find his home in the bullpen.
Rookie Eric Milton added 172.1 innings of his own but also showcased an ERA above 5 as it came in at 5.64 on the season. Milton did pitch one complete on May 3rd in a 3-2 loss to the Baltimore Orioles. The 4th starter seems to have a name that unveils fond memories of announcers of different types introducing him, Bob Tewksbury. Tewksbury pitched 148.1 innings and an ERA of 4.79.
Lastly was veteran Mike Morgan who spent half of the season with the Twins before he was traded to the Chicago Cubs for a player to be named later. That player ended up becoming Scott Downs. Morgan logged 98.0 innings for the Twins and a 3.49 ERA. It was pretty clear why he drew some attention at the trade deadline with his experience and good numbers in 1998.
This rotation put together a combined 16.4 WAR. Radke led the way with his 5.3 WAR and the rest were Hawkins 2.1 WAR, Milton 2.0 WAR, Tewksbury 3.3 WAR, Morgan 3.7 WAR (this is probably cheating a little since Morgan’s WAR would be for his full season of work). That brings this group to third on our list.