Minnesota Twins: Time for the Phil Hughes era to end

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MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MAY 16: Phil Hughes
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MAY 16: Phil Hughes /
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The Minnesota Twins welcomed Phil Hughes back from injury during their weekend series against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Phil Hughes start on Sunday marked the first time the Minnesota Twins starting pitcher has taken the mound since July 14, 2017. However, after a less than inspiring start, that should be his last start in a Twins uniform.

Hughes is not the same pitcher he was when he signed with the Twins before the 2014 season. He went 16-10 With a 3.52 ERA during his first season with Minnesota. However, injuries and ineffectiveness have plagued him during the last three seasons.

Although Hughes pitched 209 2/3 innings during the 2014 season, he tallied only 268 innings pitched between 2015-2017. Unfortunately, his best days are behind him and he should embrace a role in the bullpen. Who should step in and fill Hughes role in the rotation? Puckett’s Pond has the answers for you.

Adalberto Meija

The Minnesota Twins have numerous options currently starting in the Minor Leagues. Adalberto Mejia should be the first to get a chance based off of his performance a season ago.

Meija started 21 games during the 2017 season with a 4-7 record and a 4.50 ERA across 98 innings pitched. He has pitched only eight innings with 10 strikeouts and five walks during his first three appearances for the Rochester Red Wings to start this season.

Fernando Romero

The Twins top pitching prospect has all the makings of a future star in Major League Baseball. Fernando Romero throws hard and controls the strike zone well. He has the brightest future of any of the Twins pitching prospects.

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Romero was 11-9 with a 3.53 ERA in 125 innings pitched during the 2017 season. He had an 8.6 strikeout rate to go along with a stellar 3.2 walk rate. Romero has picked up right where he left off to begin the 2018 season. He has a 1.69 ERA through his first three appearances and looks ready for the next level.

Stephen Gonsalves

Stephen Gonsalves is the wild card in this discussion for the Minnesota Twins. He is right up there with Romero as far as potential goes and being left-handed gives him a leg up as a pitcher. However, he still needs more seasoning in the Minors before having an MLB opportunity.

He was 9-5 with a 3.27 ERA across two levels of the Minors for the Twins during the 2017 season. However, he struggled to a 1-2 record with a 5.56 ERA during his 22 2/3 innings pitched at Triple-A Rochester. This season he is back with Double-A Chattanooga and is 2-0 With a 1.76 ERA to start the year.

Even if it’s not one of these three pitchers, the Minnesota Twins have to make a change. I know, Hughes has made only one start and it may be too soon to give up on him. However, he has proven time and again that he cannot stay healthy. Minnesota has a playoff caliber roster and cannot afford to keep running Hughes out there every fifth day.

Next: A glimpse of the great Twins career for Joe Mauer

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