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Twins Daily Awards 2016: Pitcher Of The Year

It's no secret that Minnesota's pitching was bad this season. They tied with Arizona for the worst ERA in baseball. Since the Twins last made the playoffs in 2010, every pitching staff has posted an ERA of 4.07 or higher. The only year the staff managed an ERA below 4.55 was the 2015 club. Pitching continues to be a giant hole for the Twins.

The Twins Daily writers including minor league writers, voted for their top three pitcher of the year candidates. Three points were given for first place votes, two points for second place votes, and one point for third place votes. All seven ballots and point totals can be found below. In the end, Ervin Santana was the unanimous choice for the Twins Pitcher of the Year.

Here is a quick reminder of our previous 2016 Twins Daily award winners:
Most Improved- Brian Dozier
Rookie of the Year- Max Kepler
Image courtesy of Brad Rempel, USA Today Sports
Ervin Santana had something to prove during the 2016 season. This came a year after being suspended for 80 games for PED use, on the heels of a big off-season free agent deal. When he returned from suspension, he allowed four runs or more in six of his first ten games (6.05 ERA) including 11 home runs. He settled in from there, posting a 1.62 ERA and a 5-2 record over his last seven starts.

Santana was able to build off of this strong finish in 2015 as the 2016 season began. Through his first seven starts, he had an ERA under 3.15 and a 32 to 14 strikeout to walk ratio. Even with these strong numbers, the Twins compiled a 1-6 record (Santana was 1-2). Over his next five starts, he allowed five runs or more in all but one of those games. His season ERA topped out at 5.10 and he had a rough 1-7 record.

From June 19 through August 21 (11 starts), Santana saw his best stretch of the year and it's likely one of the main reasons he won this award. Across 75.1 innings pitched he limited opponents to 15 earned runs (1.79 ERA). Batters hit .202/.241/.285 against him. This stretch also included two complete games and one complete game shutout against Oakland.

"I haven't had many decisions in a year-and-a-half of letting a guy go out there to get a shutout," Twins manager Paul Molitor said about his late-inning decision to keep Santana rolling. "But, he was dominant."

Santana's dominance cooled down as the season wound to a close. In September, he averaged less than six innings per appearance while opponents got on base over 32% of the time against him. He struck out more than a batter an inning (36 SO in 34 IP) and posted a solid 2.65 ERA. However, there was only one start where he was given more than three runs of support and that was his final win of the year.

While Santana was a lone bright spot in a struggling rotation, there were some other bullpen arms that compiled solid numbers. Minnesota went into the season thinking a back-end trio of Glen Perkins, Trevor May and Kevin Jepsen would be the key to winning games. Perkins missed almost the entire season, May tried to play through an injury, and Jepsen pitched terribly. This allowed other players to claim a role.

Brandon Kintzler signed with the Twins in December from the Brewers organization. With the trio mentioned above, he likely was uncertain of his role in Minnesota. He wouldn't earn his first save until the beginning of June but he went on quite a stretch after taking over the job. Over his next 19 appearances, he allowed three earned runs (1.50 ERA) as opponents got on base less than 28% of the time. There were some rough appearances over the last month but he set career highs in saves and games finished.

Other bullpen arms like Ryan Pressly and Fernando Abad were offered opportunities to prove they belonged at the big league level. Pressly set a career high in SO/9 and tossed over 75 innings for only the second time in his career. Abad signed on a minor league deal before the season. He posted a 2.65 ERA with a 1.21 WHIP before being dealt to the Red Sox at the trade deadline for RHP Pat Light.

In a bad year that included plenty of poor pitching, Santana and part of the bullpen put together strong stretches. There was plenty of talk of trading Santana around this year's trade deadline. It will be interesting to see if the new regime keeps Santana around or uses him as a trade chip to build for the future.

THE BALLOTS
In an attempt to be transparent, here are the votes from our Twins Daily writers:
  • Seth Stohs – 1.) Ervin Santana, 2.) Brandon Kintzler, 3.) Ryan Pressly/Taylor Rogers
  • Parker Hageman – 1.) Ervin Santana, 2.) Brandon Kintzler, 3.) Fernando Abad
  • Nick Nelson – 1.) Ervin Santana, 2.) Brandon Kintzler, 3.) Ryan Pressly
  • Jeremy Nygaard – 1.) Ervin Santana, 2.) Brandon Kintzler, 3.) Ryan Pressly
  • Cody Christie – 1.) Ervin Santana, 2.) Brandon Kintzler, 3.) Fernando Abad
  • Steve Lien – 1.) Ervin Santana, 2.) Brandon Kintzler, 3.) Ryan Pressly
  • Eric Pleiss – 1.) Ervin Santana, 2.) Ricky Nolasco, 3.) Buddy Boshers
POINTS
Ervin Santana- 21
Brandon Kintzler- 12
Ryan Pressly- 3.5
Ricky Nolasco- 2
Fernando Abad- 2
Buddy Boshers- 1
Taylor Rogers- 0.5

Feel free to discuss. How would your ballot look?


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26 Comments

It must have been really hard to pick out three names...

    • Jerr, Mike Sixel, clutterheart and 1 other like this
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Cody Christie
Oct 05 2016 07:44 PM

 

It must have been really hard to pick out three names...

 

It certainly wasn't easy.

    • SQUIRREL and big dog like this

I wanna know who voted Buddy Boshers! 

 

Ah, Pleiss eh? You have any loose change lying around that needs, ya know, special attention? I specialize in such, shall we say, transactions....

Aka, the tallest midget award.
    • alarp33 and TheLeviathan like this
Ricky Nolasco got a 2nd place vote? Really?
I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

If this category had credibility--there would be No Winner.

    • TheLeviathan and jimmer like this
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Halsey Hall
Oct 05 2016 09:45 PM

Couldn't hardly give it to Dozier.

    • big dog and HitInAPinch like this

Just because the team was bad doesn't mean every player was bad. If you can't find the positives, even in the bad... I'm sorry!

 

Ervin Santana had a very good year. After that, not a lot, but Kintzler was good. It was some terrible overall pitching, but it's still OK to recognize a guy who was pretty good despite it.

    • SQUIRREL, USAFChief, glunn and 3 others like this
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theBOMisthebomb
Oct 06 2016 06:40 AM
It would have been more fun and interesting to list the top three worst Twins pitchers. That would be a barn burner.

 

It would have been more fun and interesting to list the top three worst Twins pitchers. That would be a barn burner.

SO many choices...

You could have voted for Eduardo Escobar. He had the best ERA and WHIP. :)

    • ashbury, Seth Stohs, Steve Lein and 5 others like this

I wanted to stop my voting after Ervin Santana...haha

    • Vanimal46 likes this
This had to be the shortest conference call of the year for the Twins Daily team...

Seth: "Thanks for jumping on the call guys. We need to get our votes together for best pitcher of the year. Thoughts?"

Everyone simultaneously: "Ervin."

Seth: "Great! I'll get on it. Thanks guys."
    • HitInAPinch likes this
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Pardon My Dinger
Oct 06 2016 08:06 AM

I would like to know if it's too late to nominate one more candidate. 

 

Capture

 

    • USAFChief, glunn, Mike Sixel and 4 others like this

Easiest vote ever. Alas.

 

Santana had a good year, I agree.

    • big dog and HitInAPinch like this

Nolasco got a vote? Yikes.

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HitInAPinch
Oct 06 2016 09:09 AM

Well, Santana and Kinzler were pretty obvious picks for #'s 1 and 2. 

 

Except for someone tumblr_inline_nf743rkUAX1rd4gk8.gif

 

This year, I'm just keeping my eye on the real prize:Development.There was the expected mix of good results, some not so good, some with a SSS/trending good and some 'why are you here??' 

 

 

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diehardtwinsfan
Oct 06 2016 09:59 AM

I was going to say... Santana and then no one?I'd have left my 2 and 3 spots blank out of spite... though to be fair Kintzler deserved some nod...

 

But seriously, Nolasco? 

    • glunn likes this

Maybe the Twins should only have pitchers with the last name Santana?  They seem to be the only ones who pan out.  

 

Off-season Blue Print Item #1:  Convert Danny Santana to Pitcher

Off-season Blue Print Item #2:  Have Gibson, Berrios and May legally change Last names to Santana

Off-season Blue Print Item #3: Print 2017 World Series tickets in advance

 

    • Mike Sixel and Hosken Bombo Disco like this
Some one voted Ricky nolasco are you kidding me lol we traded him for another version and gave away Meyer who funny looks like a pitcher now and so does nolasco hmmm weird funny how so many pitchers leave and look like the next coming of curt schilling I don't think anybody deserves pitcher of the year period that's what I would of wrote is sorry no award this year because are pitching looked like 5th graders out there.
Santana couldn't pitch 200 innings that's not good

 

Santana couldn't pitch 200 innings that's not good

Sarcasm?

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TheLeviathan
Oct 06 2016 08:04 PM

We could've just posted "Ervin" and locked this sucker.

Maybe the Twins should only have pitchers with the last name Santana?  They seem to be the only ones who pan out.  
 
Off-season Blue Print Item #1:  Convert Danny Santana to Pitcher
Off-season Blue Print Item #2:  Have Gibson, Berrios and May legally change Last names to Santana
Off-season Blue Print Item #3: Print 2017 World Series tickets in advance


"Sign FA Carlos Santana" has to be in there somewhere.
    • ashbury likes this

 

"Sign FA Carlos Santana" has to be in there somewhere.

The Musician or the Baseball Player?

    • Mike Sixel likes this

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