Taylor Rogers was the choice for Twins Daily Pitcher of the Month in both May and June, and Kenta Maeda ‘received’ the award in August. Who will take home the prestigious award in their minds (because we haven’t come up with any sort of physical trophy or plaque or piece of paper).
Now, before we get too far into this, I will debunk a rumor that was going around the Twitter-sphere on Wednesday afternoon.
Sure, he had a 0.00 ERA and just a 1.00 WHIP, and opponents didn’t get a single hit off of him all month, but here are some candidates that finished ahead of La Tortuga in voting.
Before even getting to the Honorable Mentions and the Winner, there were several strong pitching performances by the Twins in August, particularly out of the bullpen. Unfortunately, the starting pitching was not as good.
- First, Andrew Albers posted a 0.96 ERA and a 0.75 WHIP in his two appearances and 9 1/3 innings.
- Jorge Alcala had a 1.50 ERA and a 0.83 WHIP in August, but he pitched in just five games and spent half of the month on the Injured List.
- Tyler Duffey had a 2.25 ERA and 12 strikeouts but had just eight innings and a 1.75 WHIP.
- Caleb Thielbar became one of the most reliable arms out of the team’s bullpen. He had 14 strikeouts in 12 2/3 innings. His WHIP was just 0.95.
Without further ado, here are three honorable mentions, followed by the big winner!
Honorable Mention #3: RHP Ralph Garza, Jr.
The Twins claimed the 27-year-old right-hander after the Astros DFA’d him on August 1st. He was called up to the Twins on August 14th and has been impressive since. In eight games and 10 1/3 innings, he posted a 1.74 ERA and a 0.77 WHIP. He gave up just two earned runs on six hits. He walked two and struck out nine batters. Opponents hit just .167 against him.
The Twins have claimed several players off waivers over the past couple of months and signed a few others to minor league deals. Several have already been DFAd and weren’t claimed by another team, hence, they remain in St. Paul (Beau Burrows, Edgar Garcia, Nick Vincent). However, Garza, with his multiple side-winding arm angles and pitch movement, has made a good first impression.
Honorable Mention #2: RHP Alexander Colome
Colome hasn’t been good in 2021. It would be tough to argue that he has been. However, he was solid in August. Following the trade of Hansel Robles at the July 30th trade deadline and the season-ending injury to Taylor Rogers, Colome has returned to the closer’s role and generally been good. Of his 13 appearances in August, ten of them provided him with a save opportunity. He converted eight of them. And he had a solid month in Alexander Colome fashion. In his 12 2/3 innings, he had a 1.22 WHIP. He gave up some hits, and he issued five walks to go with just five strikeouts.
Honorable Mention #1: Bailey Ober
Ober made his big-league debut in May. He had some ups and downs along the way, but overall, the Twins have to be thrilled with his performance. In his five August starts, he went 1-1 with a 2.30 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP. In 27 1/3 innings, he gave up 27 hits, walked just three and struck out 26 batters.
As important, Ober has been very consistent and reliable over the past month. He pitched at least five innings in all five starts. His ERA dropped from 4.94 to 3.98 over the course of the month. He hasn’t given up more than three earned runs since July 10. The Twins are now 10-6 in games started by Ober in 2021. The only rookie starters whose teams have a better winning percentage in their games started are Alek Manoak of the Blue Jays and Shane McClanahan of the Rays.
Twins Starting Pitcher of the Month: Juan Minaya
Minaya has been with the Twins since the beginning of the 2020 season. Before that, he had spent much of the previous four seasons in the White Sox bullpen. He had recorded 142 strikeouts over 128 1/3 innings with Chicago. He signed a minor league signed a minor league deal with the Twins and went to spring training 2020. He then participated at the Twins alternate site in St. Paul. In fact, he was called up to the Twins once last year, but a day or two later, he was DFAd without pitching in a game. He went unclaimed and stayed in the organization.
He signed back with the Twins in 2021 and began the season in St. Paul. He was called up to the Twins at the end of May and pitched in four games before being DFAd on June 5th to make room for Griffin Jax. He was again unclaimed and returned to St. Paul. However, in mid-July, he was called up one more time, and after sporadic appearances, he got thrown into more proverbial fires following the trade deadline, and he has been very good.
In August, Minaya worked in ten games. He went 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP. Opponents hit just .180 off of him. He walked eight, but struck out 16 batters in his 14 innings.
Still just 30-years-old, Minaya has a chance to keep himself on the 40-man roster throughout the offseason and in the plans for the team’s 2022 bullpen. August was a good month for that endeavor.
Congratulations to Juan Minaya on a great month, as well as the other Honorable Mentions. Do you agree that Minaya is the choice? Should Bailey Ober have been the recipient?