Minnesota Twins: The future of the pitching staff looks bright
By Nate Palmer
The Minnesota Twins have often been the laughing stock of the league in regards to pitching, but that area of the club now has a very bright future.
The Minnesota Twins for years have been trying to capture the magic that the pitching staff had when it included the likes of recently inducted Twins Hall of Fame member Johan Santana and Brad Radke among others. Ever since the trade of Santana, it has seemed that the Twins have been way behind the rest of the league when it comes to their pitching staff. That tide seems to be changing.
The change to the culture of the Twins pitching throughout the organization has been in process for some time now. It started in the Terry Ryan era where the Twins started to draft pitchers that resembled power pitchers much more than the pitch-to-contact variety Twins fans had grown accustomed to.
While 2018 has been like a big dark cloud over the Twins hopes and dreams. Looking towards the future there is a lot to be excited about for what the rotation and staff could look like even in 2019. This season Jose Berrios, even off a rough start, has turned into a pitcher that looks ready to lead the Twins pitching staff. With an All-Star selection already in his pocket, Berrios has made 25 starts, has tossed 153.2 innings, a 3.75 ERA (3.80 FIP), a 9.2 K/9, two complete games and shutout.
Kyle Gibson has been similarly impressive as he has made 24 starts, has thrown 147.0 innings, holds a 3.49 ERA, and a much improved 8.5 K/9 from his career average. It seems that Jake Odorizzi will also return in 2019. While he hasn’t been as good as Gibson and Berrios he is generally a solid arm to have in the rotation as he has added his own 25 starts, a 4.44 ERA, and 9.2 K/9 into the mix in 2018.
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Those are the guys that will fairly certainly be returning in 2019 to the starting rotation. Added to the mix will be Michael Pineda who is in the middle of his rehab assignment as he returns from Tommy John surgery. In two appearances and five innings, Pineda has a 0.00 ERA, six hits allowed, six strikeouts, and one walk. The rotation could further be filled out by the likes of Fernando Romero and Stephen Gonsalves with even the likes of Kohl Stewart, Lewis Thorpe, Zack Littell and Aaron Slegers also getting a look.
The bullpen has a few more question marks than the starting rotation but still has a promising core to add to and build around. Even with some hiccups, Trevor Hildenberger certainly deserves a spot in the bullpen and is recently has gotten a taste of what it is like to close games. Taylor Rogers has maybe been a bit underrated as he hasn’t given up a run since July 28th, a span of 10 appearances. Gabriel Moya seems to be settling into his major league role and veteran Addison Reed is still around even though this season hasn’t been good to him.
There is still a whole group of releivers in the minors who deserve a shot to compete in the majors but the Twins only have so many bullpen spots to go around. The Twins will likely still look to add at least one or two bullpen arms in the offseason via free agency or trade, but this is a good group to build from.
The good news is that when and where the Twins see a place to upgrade the pitching staff. The Twins have plenty in the way of cash and player assets to make those additions happen, whether they be bullpen help or even a run at another front line starter. While 2018 has been very depressing, it is hard to not acknowledge and be excited about what is to come regarding the Twins pitching staff.