While the Minnesota Twins have may or may not be finished making additions to their pitching staff, their latest is a name who was once considered ace-caliber but now is an unknown. Two-time Tampa Bay Rays All-Star Chris Archer joined Minnesota on a one-year, low-cost deal that suggests he will claim a spot in the rotation as the season begins.
Minnesota’s need for quality starting pitching has been frequently discussed, and Archer, while not considered the solution, is a player who can be a valuable contributor, particularly as young pitchers such as Josh Winder continue to develop and grow.
The Minnesota Twins added starting pitcher Chris Archer. How does he fit into the nw rotation?
With a new addition to the staff, how might the rotation look to start the season? We took a look at the team’s roster earlier today, but here are the five names I expect to begin the year on the mound in the first inning.
Minnesota Twins Starting Rotation Prediction
Starter No. 1: Sonny Gray
Sonny Gray is coming off an okay 2021 by his standards, posting a 4.19 ERA and 3.99 FIP, but the Twins evidently expect him to be their 2022 ace as they sent Cincinnati last year’s first round pick, Chase Petty, to acquire the veteran.
Gray’s biggest boon to the rotation is his high strikeout rate, the righty posting a K/9 over 10 in each of the past three seasons. Barring a trade, his role at the top of the rotation to start the year is a lock.
Starter No. 2: Dylan Bundy
I don’t know if Dylan Bundy will be the Minnesota Twins’ No. 2 starter, but as the first veteran starter acquired by Minnesota this offseason, the team has to expect him to have a role in the rotation early on. The reliance on Bundy is somewhat surprising as, aside from the shortened 2020, Bundy has never put up a sub-4.00 ERA or a K/BB ratio better than 3.5 in any of his seasons.
I do not think he belongs in the No. 2 slot, but (again, barring a trade) I currently cannot see a scenario where Bundy does not start the year in the Twins’ rotation. Given his past production, again, 2020 excluded, I have little faith in him to produce results. I hope he proves me wrong.
Starter No. 3: Chris Archer
Now we get to the (for now) last veteran in the room, a signing that Puckett’s Pond expert Otto Johnson graded poorly. Where might Archer start in the rotation? As Archer did not pitch in 2020 and only threw in six games in 2021, he is somewhat of an unknown as an addition to the rotation.
Since his second All-Star season in 2017, Archer put up a decent 2018 (4.31 ERA, 3.75 FIP) before a poor 2019 (5.19 ERA, 5.02 FIP) led to his departure from Pittsburgh. But Archer too has always been a pitcher who strikes batters out, his 10.8 K/9 rate in his last full season sitting exactly one higher than his career K/9 of 9.8. I suspect that is why the Twins’ brass targeted Archer: they want to see opponents whiff.
Starter 4: Joe Ryan
I am not sure if it is his pitching or his hair that has Twins fans more excited for Joe Ryan. Though he only made five starts in 2021, he struck out 30 across 26.1 innings and allowed just 12 earned runs. Like the veterans listed above, he has caused batters to miss the ball throughout his minor league career, putting up a 13.0 K/9 rate in MiLB.
As the prize return of the Nelson Cruz trade, Ryan’s expectations are high, but is he ready to take on the No. 2 or 3 role in the rotation, or will the Twins bring him on slowly? Across two starts in the spring, Ryan has struck out more men (six) than he has pitched innings (five). I think they might give him early prominence.
Starter No. 5: Bailey Ober
One beneficiary of the Twins’ 2021 reliance on young arms wearing jerseys in the 80s was Bailey Ober, who made 20 starts before the season mercifully ended. Ober’s 4.19 ERA and 4.56 FIP, while not extraordinary, was more than respectable giving his situation, and with a new season and a more significant role for Ober is expected as well.
Another spring training talent (three starts, eight innings, two runs), Ober has been named by Foolish Baseball’s Bailey as a pitcher who could potentially break out in 2022. With an early opportunity in the rotation, we should see if that prediction comes to pass.
The order may not be set, but with other potential starters like Winder and Griffin Jax expected to move temporarily or permanently to the bullpen, the five men above are expected to be those on the mound at the start of games once April 7 rolls around. Some bring veteran expertise, some youthful promise;we hope those can come together to produce a strong season from the hill in Minnesota.