Berrios, Odorizzi, Maeda: Best Minnesota Twins Starting Pitching Trio Since … ?
Image courtesy of © Kim Klement-USA TODAY SportsThe last time the Minnesota Twins won a World Series. the year was 1991 and they had a pretty good trio of starting pitchers in Kevin Tapani, Scott Erickson, and Jack Morris. With the World Series in their sights for 2020, the Twins have assembled what looks to be another pretty good trio of pitchers in Jose Berrios, Jake Odorizzi, and Kenta Maeda.
In his coverage of spring training for The Athletic, Aaron Gleeman in addressing the Twins excellent depth, correctly calls this season’s trio potentially the best the Twins have had in some time. What seems to be the next logical question to that assessment is, just when was the last time the Twins had a trio of starting pitchers this good?
That 1991 group is a natural place to look first. Tapani (6.8 WAR), Erickson (4.4 WAR), and Morris (4.3) combined for a total 15.5 WAR. Tapani pitched his way to a 2.99 ERA, 143 ERA+, and finished seventh in Cy-Young voting. Erickson upped Tapani by finishing second in Cy Young voting with a 3.18 ERA and a 135 ERA+. Morris came in 4th for Cy Young voting a 3.43 ERA and 125 ERA+.
The pure depth of that 1991 group is impressive. Although that group pitched almost three decades ago. The most recent trio that likely rivals the hopeful output of the 2020 version has to be one of the staffs led by Twins great Johan Santana.
In 2004, Santana put together a season which according to WAR is only topped by Bert Blyleven’s 1973 performance in Twins history. Santana (8.7 WAR), was joined by Brad Radke (5.9 WAR), and Carlos Silva (2.6 WAR) which totals 17.2 WAR and made that trio worth more than the ‘91 trio.
That season Santana won the Cy Young (but wasn’t an All-Star), had a 2.61 ERA, and 182 ERA+. Radke added a 3.48 ERA and 136 ERA+ over 219.2 innings pitched. Then Silva also topped 200 innings (203.0 IP), had a 4.21 ERA, and a 112 ERA+. It is those Johan Santana led and specifically 2004 rotation that Berrios, Odorizzi, and Maeda will be trying to make us forget.
In order for the 2020 trio to in actuality place themselves among the performance level of the ‘04 and ‘91 group they will need to up their career best performances. If we pull each pitcher’s best season according to WAR it only totals up to 10.4 WAR. The easiest way to for this group to improve would be to see Berrios take the step to become the leader of this rotation closer to the level Johan was.
Of course one of the X-factors of this rotation is they have a fourth starting pitcher in Michael Pineda and possible fifth in Rich Hill which makes the rotation have incredible depth as the season winds on. Both of those guys could also realistically challenge to be in that top trio as well.
Can Berrios, Odorizzi, and Maeda challenge 2004 Johan, Radke, and Silva as a great Twins trio of starting pitchers? Is there a different more recent group I should have named in this “greatest since” conversation?
Please share your thoughts in the comments below. Not registered? Click here to create an account. To stay up to date, follow Twins Daily on Twitter and Facebook.
MORE FROM TWINS DAILY
— Latest Twins coverage from our writers
— Recent Twins discussion in our forums
— Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
- Mike Frasier Law and DannySD like this