Minnesota Twins: The Top 5 Relief Pitchers in Franchise History
By Otto Johnson
No. 1: Minnesota Twins’ Joe Nathan
Years with the Minnesota Twins: 2004-2009, 2011 (7 Seasons)
Key Stats with the Minnesota Twins: 460 G, 463.1 IP, 24-13 W-L, 2.16 ERA, 260 SV, 561-134 K-BB, 18.4 WAR, Four Time All-Star, Two Top-25 MVP Finishes, Two Top-10 Cy Young Finishes
Far and away the best reliever in Minnesota Twins is Joe Nathan. He was one of the team’s best overall pitchers during his time with the team and was the undisputed closer from his first season once he got traded to Minnesota till 2009.
In his first season with the team, Nathan saved 44 games and set himself up as the closer for the team for good. He proceeded to save over thirty-five games six times, and over forty games three times, totaling 260 saves with the team (most in team history) and 377 saves over his career, eighth-most all-time.
Joe Nathan pitched in 460 games with the team (sixth-most in team history) and worked to an ERA of 2.16. That ERA would have finished first in team history had he pitched in the number of required innings, and it helped him build up a WAR with the team of 18.4.
Nathan collected several individual awards including four All-Star appearances, Two Top-25 MVP finishes, Two Top-10 Cy Young finishes, and the 2009 Rolaids Relief Man Award winner, but he also helped the team win.
Over Joe Nathan’s time with the team, the Minnesota Twins won 588 games and Nathan was a huge part of that. The Twins won the division three times over Nathan’s career, helping solidifying his case as the top reliever. No reliever has a stat line as good as Joe Nathan in team history, and that lands him in the top spot.