No. 2- 1961 Starting Rotation
As we come to number 2 on our list we have the opportunity of going to a completely different era of baseball. An era when the idea of relying heavily on bullpen arms was unheard of. 1961 was the first year that the Twins were a franchise after moving from Washington when they were the Senators. In that first season, the team went 70-90 and had a good four-man rotation to lean on.
Can you imagine the Twins going into 2018 and coming out with four pitchers who logged 200 innings or more? No, me either. That is what happened in 1961. Pedro Ramos led the way with 264.1 innings, a 3.95 ERA, 9 complete games, 3 shutouts and even saw some relief appearances and saved 2 games.
Next to Ramos was Camilo Pascual. Pascual pitched 252.1 innings, completed 15 games and pitched 8 shutouts to the lead the league in that category. Pascual also led the league in strikeouts with 221 of them. He was able to maintain a 3.46 ERA over all those innings on his way to a 15-16 record and an All-Star appearance.
The third member of the staff was Jack Kralick who went 13-11 over 242 innings while completing 11 games, 2 of which were for a shutout. Kralick’s inning load was almost 100 innings higher than his previous career high as he pitched his way to a 13-11 record and 3.61 ERA.
To round out this rotation is a new Twins special assistant, Jim Kaat. That 1961 season was a season in which Kaat began to establish himself as a major leaguer as he logged 200.2 innings. Kaat also completed 8 games turning one of them into a shutout. Even though Kaat’s record was only 9-17 he still had a respectable 3.90 ERA.
Turning our attention to the rotations total WAR Ramos turned in a 3.6 WAR, Kaat 2.2 WAR, Pascual 5.5 WAR, and Kralick led the way with a season of 6.1 WAR. With only 4 pitchers in the rotation, this group in 1961 combined for 19.8 WAR. And the first Twins rotation finishes second on our all-time list.