The Minnesota Twins entered the offseason needing to bolster their starting rotation. How might it look come Opening Day of 2018?
The Minnesota Twins have spring training underway and even a few games with real box scores under their belt as well. As they get ready for the season it seems only appropriate to start giving our best guesses at who will be making the team for Opening Day and in what roles. To this point, we have gone through the starting lineup and the bench. Today we will turn our attention to the starting rotation.
How was 2017?
Twins pitching was again the conversation this offseason. Front and center of that conversation was the focus on the need for an upgraded starting rotation in order to truly be competitive in the American League. The Twins were able to have success in 2017 despite some evident holes in their starting five. Those starters ranked in the bottom half of many pitching categories when compared to other MLB teams.
Twins starters were 26th in K/9 (7.08), 24th in HR/9 (1.46), 19th in ERA (4.73), and 16th in BB/9 (3.06). These are all areas that the Twins will need to improve in if they hope to catch the Cleveland Indians in the race for the American League Central. Not to mention, if the Twins want to make a run at a World Series title with teams like the Houston Astros and New York Yankees loaded up for a 2018 run.
The Additions and Santana
The dream all offseason was that Yu Darvish would be in a Twins uniform in order to fortify their rotation. He instead chose the Chicago Cubs. When that happened the Twins turned their attention to the trade market and added Jake Odorizzi in a savvy trade. Odorizzi and a flier on Anibal Sanchez are the two additions the Twins made from outside the organization to help the Twins improve their MLB staff and its place among other teams.
Even though there wasn’t a lot in the way of outside additions. There is still hope for the Twins rotation when it comes to improvement. There were positive signs of improvement from some pitchers in 2017. There is also plenty of room for young pitchers to step into MLB roles in 2018.
One thing is certain, there will be an important piece missing from the rotation to start the season. With Ervin Santana out with injury, the Twins will be missing the leader of their rotation in many ways. Santana has been the veteran to help mentor and bring Jose Berrios along on his journey to hopeful ace. Santana also led the Twins in innings pitched (211.1) and was tops in the American League with five complete games and three shutouts.
Let us see what the Santana-less Twins starting rotation may look like come Opening Day.