The 2022 season has two full weeks left before the playoffs begin, but first, let's look back at the month of August. Yesterday, we announced the August Hitter of the Month. Today, we write about the top starting pitchers.
- RHP Orlando Rodriguez - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 5 G, 4 GS, 19.2 IP, 0-0, 2.75 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 16 H, 4 BB, 31 K
- RHP David Festa - Cedar Rapids Kernels - 4 GS, 15.2 IP, 1-1, 1.15 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 15 H, 8 BB, 14 K.
- LHP Brent Headrick - Wichita Wind Surge - 5 G, 4 GS, 24.0 IP, 2-1, 3.00 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 20 H, 6 BB, 35 K.
THE TOP FOUR STARTING PITCHERS
#4 - RHP Cody Laweryson - Wichita Wind Surge - 7 G, 4 GS, 1-0, 1.57 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 23.0 IP, 18 H, 6 BB, 29 K
Laweryson (pronounced Lor-ih-sun) was the Twins 14th round pick in 2019 out of the University of Maine. That summer, he was named the Twins Daily short-season Minor League Pitcher of the Year. After the missed 2020 season, he reported to Cedar Rapids for the 2021 season. He went 2-5 with a 4.91 ERA in 15 games (14 starts). In 58 2/3 innings, he walked 19 and struck out 73 batters. After the season, he went to the Arizona Fall League where he struck out 18 batters in 14 innings.
He began the 2022 season with the Kernels again, this time working primarily out of the bullpen. He posted a 2.57 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP in 16 games. In 35 innings, he walked 12 and struck out 42 batters. At that point he was promoted to Double-A Wichita. In 16 games, he is 4-0 with a 1.03 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP.
In August, he made four starts out of his seven appearances. As you can see, he was dominant. He continued to rack up strikeouts while not handing out free passes. The right-hander has a unique delivery and hides the ball well. (For more Twins Daily content on Cody Laweryson, click here.)
#3 - RHP Pierson Ohl - Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels - 4 G, 3 GS, 2-1, 1.33 ERA, 0.81 WHIP, 27.0 IP, 21 H, 1 BB, 26 K
Ohl continued his strong professional debut. Not only did he not give up runs, but he also kept runners off of the base paths. Nearly a strikeout per inning, but just one walk in 27 innings is remarkable.
He was the Twins 14th round pick a year ago from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix. After the draft, he pitched in just one game in the FCL. This season, he has pitched in 20 games and made 18 starts. With the Mighty Mussels, he is 6-7 with a 3.53 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP. In 91 2/3 innings, he has walked just 13 batters and struck out 101 batters.
For more Pierson Ohl content on Twins Daily, click here.
#2- LHP Jaylen Nowlin - Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels/Cedar Rapids Kernels - 4 GS, 2-1, 2.14 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 21.0 IP, 13 H, 7 BB, 33 K
The Twins selected Nowlin with their 19th-round pick in the 2021 draft out of Chipola College in Florida. Following the draft, he pitched in just one game for the FCL Twins. In 2022, the southpaw began the season with the Mighty Mussels, pitching primarily out of their bullpen. As the season progressed, and Nowlin began putting up strong numbers, he began making starts. In 19 games (11 starts) with the Mussels, he went 4-3 with a 3.97 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP. In 56 2/3 innings, he walked 29 (too many) but also struck out 89 batters (14.1 K/9). After two August starts, he was promoted to the Kernels where he made two more starts.
As you can see above, he really improved his control in August and became even more dominant. In his final two Mighty Mussel starts, he walked three and struck out 16 batters in 10 innings. In his first start at High-A Cedar Rapids, he struck out 11 batters in six innings. He struck out six batters in five innings in his second start with the Kernels.
Nowlin is young and still developing into what he can become. However, he currently can hit 96-97 mph with his fastball and is able to mix a couple of breaking balls in as well. (Click here to read more Twins Daily content on Jaylen Nowlin.)
And the Twins Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month is:
Wichita Wind Surge - RHP Louie Varland - 5 GS, 1-1, 1.32 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 27.2 IP, 22 H, 5 BB, 30 K
While Varland is certainly a candidate the repeat as the Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year, it is almost surprising that he has not won a Starting Pitcher of the Month award this season… until now.
The Saints Paul native was the Twins 14th round pick in 2019 out of Concordia University in St. Paul. He was the Twins Pitcher of the Year in 2021 and began 2022 at Double-A Wichita. In 20 games (19 starts), he went 7-4 with a 3.34 ERA and 1.34 WHIP. In 105 innings, he walked 39 and struck out 119 batters.
He made one August start in Wichita, but earned his promotion to his hometown St. Paul Saints, one step away from Target Field and the big leagues. In his four starts for the Saints, he went 1-1 with a 1.69 ERA and a 0.88 WHIP. In 21 1/3 innings, he walked just three and struck out 27 batters. In his Triple-A debut against the Columbus Clippers, he started with five no-hit innings. In his third start, he tossed six innings with nine strikeouts.
His 146 strikeouts ranks 8th among all minor league pitchers this season. His 126 1/3 innings ranks #18.
Varland continues to sit 94-96 with his fastball and touches 97 at times. He has a slider that can be devastating at times. And, he has made strides with his changeup and its consistency. He will be added to the 40-man roster after the season and could compete for an Opening Day roster spot during spring training.
Congratulations to our Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month of August, St. Paul native and Saints starter Louie Varland.
There has been a lot of Louie Varland content on Twins Daily since he was drafted. Click here to read more on him.
Previous 2022 Starting Pitchers of the Month
April: RHP John Stankiewicz, Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels
May: LHP Steve Hajjar, Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels
June: LHP Aaron Rozek, Cedar Rapids Kernels
July: RHP Mike Paredes, Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels
Feel free to agree or disagree with the order, if you like. It wasn’t as easy a decision as you might think. There were several solid starters in August.