Throughout the first decade of the 2000s, the Minnesota Twins won AL Championships. Six of them to be exact.
While there were many factors that led to these championships, one constant throughout was the steadying hand of their starting rotation. Whether the pitcher was Brad Radke or Carl Pavano, their staff had a very specific makeup. Twins’ pitchers wouldn’t walk anyone, they’d pitch to contact and, most importantly, they’d win games.
Now obviously, there were exceptions. Johan Santana had a habit of striking out about 10 guys per nine innings pitched, but the majority of their starters over the years were closer to Carlos Silva than Francisco Liriano. While this type of pitching wasn’t always fun to watch, it produced a lot of wins over the last decade.
Although the current Twins’ rotation isn’t anything to be too excited about, it’s officially time for Twins fans to be excited about the plethora of young, talented arms at this year’s spring training.
Off-season acquisition Alex Meyer is a tall, hard-throwing righty with a plus slider. Meyer uses his 6’-foot-9 frame to pump his fastball up to the mid 90s. While he embraces the Twins’ philosophy of avoiding walks, he has the propensity to strike a lot of guys out. In his one-year minor league career, Meyer has struck out 139 in 129 innings.
Kyle Gibsonis a long time Twins prospect who looks like he is very close to being a Major League starter. The 6-foot-6 righty is a presence on the mound. Currently, he is recovering from Tommy John surgery, but has been known to rely on the strikeout to get batters out. While he usually sits around 90-91 miles per hour, his fastball has a lot of late movement. In 2010, his best year in the minors, he averaged 7.5 strikeouts per nine innings.
It may be a few years before these two are anchoring the Twins starting rotation, but when they do, it will be a fun change of pace for Twins fans who are used to seeing soft-throwing control pitchers toe the rubber at Target Field.