While Opening Day 2014 didn’t go as planned, the Minnesota Twins have an opportunity to bounce back and even their series with the Chicago White Sox Wednesday afternoon, when Kevin Correia takes the mound. Correia was arguably the most productive, and easily the most consistent, starting pitcher in Minnesota’s rotation last season. After three consecutive seasons of less than 67 wins, Correia will be a vital piece to the Twins’ turnaround hopeful 2014 campaign.
In 2002, Correia was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the fourth round of the MLB amateur draft. He thrived in 2006 and 2007 as a relief pitcher, carrying a 3.47 ERA over 171.1 innings with the Giants. The accurate righty struggled, however, when transitioning to a full-time starter, and was eventually signed through free agency by the San Diego Padres in 2009.
In 2009, Correia put up a career best 3.91 ERA and 198 innings through 31 starts, but followed it up with arguably his worst season in 2010. Since then, however, Correia’s numbers have trended back in the right direction, and led to an extremely solid 2013 with the Twins.
Last year, Correia tossed 185.1 innings over 31 starts to the tune of a 4.18 ERA and a career-best 2.2 BB/9. The 33 year old is commanding all of his pitches as well as he ever as, and while he won’t blow hitters away, he can consistently keep them grounded and off balanced. A pitch-to-contact specialist, Correia also looked extremely comfortable in the friendly confines of Target Field. In 16 home starts in 2013, he rocked a 3.35 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and 1.5 BB/9 over 104.2 innings pitched.
Correia has expressed an increased confidence this offseason, and seems poised to continue his improving career. He’s in line to be Minnesota’s No. 2 starter, and could represent their first win of 2014 on Wednesday. If the Twins get back to their winning ways this season, expect Correia’s quiet numbers to play a major role.