Minnesota Twins Opening Day Roster: Starting Pitchers
- Pablo Lopez
- Sonny Gray
- Joe Ryan
- Tyler Mahle
- Kenta Maeda
There aren’t too many surprises here, as the biggest question about the Twins starters was whether or not six of them would be carried into the season. With the decision made to make it a five-man starting rotation, Bailey Ober was sent down to Triple-A and left off the Opening Day roster.
Kenta Maeda is the weakest link entering the season. He’s coming back from Tommy John surgery, but also struggled to settle in during Spring Training. There’s enough history with him to have earned the right to begin the season in the starting rotation, and to believe that he can log solid innings of work. He’s the one to watch, though, when it comes to someone Ober could get called up to relieve.
Tyler Mahle is the dark horse to be the best pitcher of the Twins staff this year. Minnesota gave up three really good prospects to acquire him last season, but he ran into some injury trouble. Now that he’s fully healthy, the belief is that he will finally turn into the high-end starter the Twins traded for.
It’s obvious, though, who the biggest name to watch is. Pablo Lopez is getting the start on Opening Day and Twins fans will be particularly interested to see how his career with the team begins. Lopez was acquired from the Miami Marlins back in January, but the price paid to get him was fan-favorite Luis Arráez.
Arráez was also an All-Star, the AL Batting Champion, and a solid piece of the Twins offense. Some could argue that he was main engine of the offense, but Minnesota dealt him away to bolster the starting rotation. It was the right move, as Arráez is already being mismanaged in Miami (they’re considering playing him at second which…I mean, good luck with that) and his absence could be a blessing in disguise in terms of other guys stepping up.
Lopez is already being pegged as a dark horse Cy Young candidate, but he’ll be relied on to dig deep into his bag of tricks to get close to the 180 IP he turned in last year — which would go a long way in smoothing over some serious concerns about the starters.