Minnesota Twins: 5 most important players in the second half

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CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - JUNE 28: Miguel Sano #22 of the Minnesota Twins watches his two run home run against the Chicago White Sox during the second inning at Guaranteed Rate Field on June 28, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - JUNE 28: Miguel Sano #22 of the Minnesota Twins watches his two run home run against the Chicago White Sox during the second inning at Guaranteed Rate Field on June 28, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) /
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OAKLAND, CA – JULY 02: Jake Odorizzi #12 of the Minnesota Twins pitches against the Oakland Athletics in the bottom of the first inning of a Major League Baseball game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on July 2, 2019 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA – JULY 02: Jake Odorizzi #12 of the Minnesota Twins pitches against the Oakland Athletics in the bottom of the first inning of a Major League Baseball game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on July 2, 2019 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

Jake Odorizzi

Wes Johnson has done a tremendous job getting the most out of his staff throughout the first half of the season and perhaps his best work has been with Jake Odorizzi. The right-hander struggled in his first season with the Twins posting a 7-10 record with a 4.49 ERA in 164 1/3 innings, but those numbers have come down to 10-4 with a 3.15 ERA in 88 2/3 innings this season.

Perhaps the biggest improvement for Odorizzi has been his control as he’s issued 30 free passes on the year. That would be on pace to break his career-low when he issued 59 walks in his rookie season of 2014. That improvement helped lead the 30-year old to his first All-Star selection but the bigger question is whether his breakout season can continue.

While the Twins are looking for bullpen help, Odorizzi needs to continue to be a strong second starter. With Jose Berrios at the top of the rotation, the combination of Kyle Gibson, Michael Pineda and Martin Perez have been solid, but none of them inspire confidence in a big pennant race game.

If the Twins can add a starter and Odorizzi can continue pitching well, Minnesota will have a rotation that can match up with anybody in the American League.

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