Minnesota Twins: Is the Pitching Good Enough for 2023 Right Now?

Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Sonny Gray delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Kansas City Royals. (Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY Sports)
Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Sonny Gray delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Kansas City Royals. (Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY Sports) /

The wheels of time turn eternally. With the Minnesota Twins’ early moves now underway, we can begin to craft guesses as to what 2023 could bring. Any team’s long term success relies on their pitching, and that’s especially the case for the Twins.

Health was a big issue for the team in 2022, and with an offseason to get put back to together, the team seems to have a pretty full group for next season before any further moves.. This begs the question: If the Twins were forced to start 2023 next week, would they have enough pitching to compete for playoff contention?

Could the Minnesota Twins arms be good enough for 2023 right now?

2023 Current Minnesota Twins Rotation

  1. Sonny Gray
  2. Tyler Mahle
  3. Joe Ryan
  4. Kenta Maeda
  5. Bailey Ober

Extra Arms: Louie Varland, Simeon Woods Richardson, Josh Winder, Randy Dobnak, Jodan Balazovic

On paper, this 2023 group would be a solid rotation based on past success. Sonny Gray, Tyler Mahle, and Kenta Maeda have put up near ace numbers at different points over the past three years. Bailey Ober looked stellar when healthy in 2022. Varland, Woods Richardson, Winder and potentially Dobnak and Balazovic offer valuable depth.

Unfortunately with this group, there is a big if, with that if of course being the durability of the veterans. Gray, Mahle, Ober and Maeda have dealt with injury in the past couple seasons, so there’s reason to wonder how they will fare going forward.

With that being said, there’s some depth in the young arms. Winder has good experience and solid skills. Simeon Woods Richardson and Louie Varland have potential. Dobnak and Balazovic could have decent bounce back seasons. There’s hope for this rotation if…IF they stay relatively healthy.

I wouldn’t be surprised if a free agent, maybe left handed, is invited in to compete for a spot, and while he Twins could pleasantly surprise us with a top end free agent signing of a starter, history makes this seem unlikely. Even if nothing else is added, this is a good group if healthy.

2023 Current Minnesota Twins Bullpen

  1. Jhoan Duran
  2. Jorge Lopez
  3. Jorge Alcala
  4. Jovani Moran
  5. Griffin Jax
  6. Caleb Thielbar
  7. Cole Sands
  8. Cody Stashak

Extra Arms: Trevor Megill, Emillo Pagan

One of the above starters not making the rotation would/could certainly slot in here as a long reliever, so this group is hardly perfect. The bullpen is definitely an area the Twins could and should target in the off season. Another reliable reliever or two in the middle innings could be a boon for the Twins.

As of right now, I wouldn’t love the bullpen going into the year. Moran, Jax and Lopez would have to prove last years successes were not flukes, which is no sure thing. Megill, Sands and Pagan (if back) would have to earn some innings by showing out in spring training.

Alcala (elbow) and Stashak (shoulder labrum) are coming off arm surgeries so their status will have to be determined as spring training approaches. Both have talent, but those injuries remain a big concern for pitchers.

Final Conclusion: 

If I were to grade the group overall, I would give the team’s pitching a grade of B (B+ for the Starters, B- for the Bullpen) with upward potential. If health remains and the young bullpen arms improve, that grade could sneak into the A- range, as there’s a lot of potential in the youth.

I would say the team would have a “chance” to compete in 2023 with this staff as is as there’s a good structure in place, but if they want to be serious about playoff contention upgrades will be needed at the front of the rotation and back of the bullpen.

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