5 Twins that need to have a big season in 2023
Joe Ryan showed he has the potential to be the top pitcher for the Twins in the future but he has had one issue that has held him back. He struggled under the bright lights. Ryan crushed it against AL Central opponents, but in his six starts against non-divisional teams that made the postseason he allowed a combined 26 runs.
So Ryan will need to get used to playing in tough environments under bright lights. However it was also his first full year pitching in the Majors, and while there were those struggles he also had some big moments. In his start against the Kansas City Royals on September 13th, Ryan pitched seven no-hit innings.
With the Twins adding Pablo Lopez to the roster along with Kenta Maeda making his return off of the IL. Ryan will most likely start the season in the back end of the rotation.
The top of the rotation is filled with veteran talent but there are questions when it comes to the health of some of the Twins top guys, mainly Tyler Mahle and Kenta Maeda. Ryan will need to come up big this year and provide depth in the rotation. Ryan will be tested with the new MLB schedule, as well, with the Twins not playing as many games against the AL Central than years past -- a test for Ryan to prove he can be a big-game pitcher for Minnesota and not another regular season star who is a letdown when it counts.
After spending nearly a full year and a half on the IL due to an elbow injury suffered in August 2021, Kenta Maeda will finally return to the Twins rotation but there will be a lot of questions when he does. The biggest one is how will he be able to pitch this season coming off of the injury and having so much time off. In 2021 before the elbow injury, Maeda still struggled. In his 21 starts that season he posted a 4.55 ERA, whereas a year prior he was a Cy Young finalist.
So he was already off before the injury, can he bounce back and be that Cy Young version of himself for the Twins?
This season Maeda will most likely not be pushed like he was in 2020 and '21. With the uncertainty of his arm, he will not be the "ace" of this staff to start the year. His time in Spring Training will decide where he'll be in the rotation but all he really will need to do is put up solid innings and keep the Twins in games in 2023.