Minnesota Twins: 5 moves that led the Twins to the AL Central title
By Chris Schad
Hiring Wes Johnson as pitching coach
Much like the Twins needed a new voice in the dugout, the Twins needed a new voice on the mound as well entering the 2019 season. After watching their pitching staff record a 4.50 ERA in 2018, Minnesota’s biggest move was to bring in pitching coach Wes johnson from the University of Arkansas.
The move was met with plenty of skepticism as no coach had made the leap from the college ranks to the major leagues since Dick Howser left Florida State to manage the New York Yankees in 1980. Once the season began, however, Johnson’s work began to speak for itself.
Johnson was at the helm of several reclamation projects in the Twins rotation and as Michael Pineda, Martin Perez and Kyle Gibson all found success in the early part of the year, his biggest influence came on Jake Odorizzi and Jose Berrios, who both represented the Twins in the All-Star Game.
Johnson’s impact didn’t only affect the rotation, but he was able to make an impact on the Twins’ bullpen with Tyler Duffey, Taylor Rogers, Trevor May and a slew of young relievers had career seasons with Minnesota in 2018.
While the staff has had its share of hiccups along the way (and plenty of questions heading into the postseason), they’ve been able to cut their ERA down to 4.22 and win several games that fell out of their grasp a year ago.