3 pitchers who can replace Anthony DeSclafani as Twins fifth starter

With Anthony DeSclafani potentially out for the season, who will step up and replace him?

St. Louis Cardinals v Minnesota Twins
St. Louis Cardinals v Minnesota Twins / Brace Hemmelgarn/GettyImages
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David Festa

Another internal candidate is David Festa, who is Minnesota's top pitching prospect heading into the season. We didn't see a ton from him during Spring Training, but he was on the mound to start the team's Spring Breakout Game and showed the sort of stability that could soon bring him to the majors.

Festa's fastball sat in the 94-96 mph range, something that was on display during the Spring Breakout appearance. He pitched under two innings of work, giving up a run on a walk and two hits, but his stuff looked really solid. That velocity showed itself too, as he had a pitch hit 97 MPH in the first inning.

Back in 2022 David Festa went 9-4 with a 2.43 ERA and 108 strikeouts in 103 2/3 innings and turned things up even more the following season. Between the end of July and beginning of September, Festa posted a 2.40 ERA and a 35 percent strikeout rate across 30 innings of work, which is something that boosted his stock as a top prospect in the Twins' system this year.

The question is whether or not he's shown enough to leap Varland, which doesn't seem to be the case. Rather, Festa could be what Varland was last season where he's the next guy up from the minors if things get shaky at the back of the rotation. It seems Varland has earned a shot to fill that fifth starter role, but if he struggles -- or more bad injury strikes the Twins -- it might be that we see Festa make his debut and begin making the impact it seems he's capable of.