Do the Minnesota Twins have enough starting pitching?

cschad
ST. PETERSBURG, FL - MAY 31: Jose Berrios #17 of the Minnesota Twins acknowledges the crowd after being removed in the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on May 31, 2019 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images)
ST. PETERSBURG, FL - MAY 31: Jose Berrios #17 of the Minnesota Twins acknowledges the crowd after being removed in the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on May 31, 2019 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
6 of 8
Next
SAN DIEGO, CA – SEPTEMBER 24: Rich Hill #44 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches during the the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park September 24, 2019 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA – SEPTEMBER 24: Rich Hill #44 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches during the the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park September 24, 2019 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images) /

Rich Hill

Why he’ll succeed in 2020: While not the biggest name on the market thanks to his age (he’ll turn 40 in March) and recent injury history (which we’ll get to in a minute), Hill has been one of the best starters in all of baseball when healthy. Since becoming a full-time starter during the 2015 season, Hill has gone 39-19 on the mound with a 3.00 ERA — numbers that Twins fans would have killed for from a starting pitching acquisition last season.

At the source of this is Hill’s ability to win with location and a deadly curveball. Baseball Savant is a big fan of HIll’s recording him in elite company in fastball spin (91st percentile), curveball spin (95th), exit velocity (98th) despite having a fastball that ranks in the 15th percentile in terms of velocity.

All of these are things that can translate under an analytics-driven front office like the Twins and if the Twins can get him healthy by his reported timetable of June, they could have a steal on their hands even if he reaches the full $12.5 million on his deal after incentives.

Why that’s not a given: Notice how I said: “if he’s healthy.” This has been a big issue with Hill since becoming a starter. While the numbers have been great, the assurance that he’ll be on the mound to make his next start has been a roller coaster ride.

In each of the past three seasons, Hill has thrown a maximum of 135 2/3 innings (2017) and after several injuries last season, threw 58 2/3 in 13 starts for the Los Angeles Dodgers. With everything stacking up, the left-hander underwent elbow revision surgery this offseason, which is an alternative to Tommy John surgery.

Waiting on Hill is certainly a risk for the Twins, who may be rolling with a couple of depth players until the rotation gets sorted out. But with his effectiveness when he’s on the mound, he should have a role even if the Twins need to limit his innings by using him out of the bullpen late in the season.

facebooktwitterreddit