The Minnesota Twins have a pitching rotation that is not typically viewed as being too solid compared to other teams, including their division rival Indians. In reality when you look at the Twins, they have four above average starters and then the fifth spot has also has some potential upside.
The first four will likely be 1.) Jose Berrios 2.) Kyle Gibson 3.) Jake Odorizzi 4.) Michael Pineda. All four of those pitchers are above average with great upside for an exciting season. The fifth guy will likely be Martin Perez but there will be competition with a few other guys like Adalberto Mejia and Fernando Romero.
Starting with the first spot, everyone knows Jose Berrios. He is entering his fourth season at age 25,making him the youngest pitcher in the rotation. The former first round draft pick would like to build on his all star campaign in 2017 but he has said he would like to make the playoffs more than anything. His work ethic is outstanding and I believe it will translate to the field in 2019.
Looking at the stats for Berrios it’s actually hard to find something that hasn’t consistently improved since 2016. Notably his opponent BABIP dropped 19 points to .270 and his WHIP dropped to 1.14 from 1.23 in 2017. The only thing I did find that got worse was batted ball percentages. The number of hard hit balls increased by 7% and soft hits also took a minimal drop.
The second spot will most likely go to Twins veteran Kyle Gibson. Kyle will start the spring slowly after dealing with E.coli but he should be good to go by opening day. Gibson pitched his best season last year and is now a key piece in leading this twins team to the next level. He is an above average pitcher with the upside to be a very solid number 2.
I wrote about how Kyle Gibson has figured it out and will consistently be able to be a better pitcher for a few years. His ERA, WHIP and K/9 are all looking good and should improve even further this season.
Jake Odorizzi will be the third pitcher and I think he’s actually a really solid player to have there. The Twins traded for him about 366 days ago but he had arguably his worst season in 2018. Before coming to Minnesota he was able to consistently have an ERA below 4.15, WHIP around 1.200 and FIP around four.
I think Jake Odorizzi will be able to turn it around especially with the defensive Jason Castro back behind the plate. He will be a big part of a twins rotation trying to find a playoff spot.
The fourth player who is almost guaranteed a spot is RHP Michael Pineda. Pineda missed all of 2018 because of an injury resulting in TJ surgery. He is going into his age 30 season and he formerly pitched with the Yankees from 2014-2017.
Pineda could consistently hold an ERA around 4.50, WHIP around 1.250 and K/9 around 8.0 so he’s basically the most average pitcher you’ll ever find. If the Twins get a season like that or even if he can find some magic he will have a successful season the twins can rely on.
Finally, the fifth spot. The Twins actually won’t need a fifth starter until around mid April due to scheduling. This means the Twins will probably start with a four man rotation. When the time does come that there is a need for a fifth starter it’s will most likely be Martin Perez. Perez has shown flashes but over the last three years he has been largely unreliable.
New twins pitching coach Wes Johnson along with assistant pitching coach Jeremy Hefner noticed some things with his mechanics they could change with Perez to make him more reliable. That were the ones who pushed for the Perez signing. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.
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