Examining the Minnesota Twins upcoming rotation conundrum

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ANAHEIM, CA - MAY 11: Manager Paul Molitor #4 of the Minnesota Twins looks on as starting pitcher Lance Lynn #31 is checked by medical staff during the third inning of the game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium on May 11, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - MAY 11: Manager Paul Molitor #4 of the Minnesota Twins looks on as starting pitcher Lance Lynn #31 is checked by medical staff during the third inning of the game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium on May 11, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /
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Trevor May

It has been 740 days since Trevor May has appeared in an MLB game. Back then, he was pitching out of the bullpen before suffering an elbow injury. However, it seems the Minnesota Twins want to see what he can do in the rotation again.

May struggled early in his career as a starting pitcher, forcing Minnesota to shift him to the bullpen during the 2015 season. The right-hander pitched in 10 games, nine starts, during his debut season in 2014. He amassed 45 2/3 innings pitched with a 7.88 ERA and a 2.00 K/BB ratio.

He made 15 starts to begin the 2016 season and the results weren’t much better. May pitched 80 1/3 innings with a 4.47 ERA while striking out 71 and walking 82 batters. Following his July 15th start against Cincinnati, May has pitched strictly out of the bullpen for the Twins.

The results were a lot better for May while coming out of the bullpen during the ’15 season. He appeared in 33 games out of the pen, striking out 39 and walking only eight batters with a 3.15 ERA. May followed that up with 42 2/3 innings pitched with a 5.27 ERA and a 3.53 K/BB ratio before his injury.

That was then, and this now. More than two years after his initial injury, May is just now working himself back into form. He has pitched 11 innings with a 1.273 WHIP and a 1.73 K/BB ratio during his first three starts.

Although he has been starting games during his rehab assignment, May’s best role is probably in the bullpen. As promising as his “stuff” has always been, he hasn’t shown enough to push anybody out of the rotation discussion. That brings us to a potential game changer working his way back to rejoin the Minnesota Twins rotation.

Ervin Santana

We’ve recently covered Ervin Santana‘s first start during his rehab assignment here, so we won’t look into that very much. Instead, we’ll focus more on what makes Santana so important for the Twins success.

Santana has always been an innings eater, topping 200 innings pitched six times during his career. The Minnesota Twins haven’t received a lot of production from some members of the rotation and Santana coming back will push this group to another level.

Santana had arguably the best season of his career while pitching for the Minnesota Twins during the 2017 season. He had a league-best five complete games, to go along with three shutouts while pitching 211 innings. Santana was named to the All-Star team for only the second time of his career during the ’17 season. He also finished the season seventh in the Cy Young Award voting last year.

Santana’s presence has been missed to begin this season. Jake Odorizzi has proven worth the cost to acquire him and is firmly part of this rotation. However, the front office spent $12 million to sign Lance Lynn and that hasn’t worked out to this point of the season.

Minnesota needs Santana pitching to his capabilities every fifth day if they’re going to stay in the AL Central race. Jose Berrios has emerged as a frontline starting pitcher and Fernando Romero has shown flashes of the same potential.

With a healthy Santana, this rotation will be the strength of this team. This could be Santana’s final season in the Twin Cities. If that’s the case, these next three pitchers are definitely worth keeping an eye on.

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