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Found 20 results

  1. John Bonnes and Nick Nelson focus on the 2004 Minnesota Twins' most valuable players; as the Twins pursued their third consecutive division title, a trio of pitchers led the charge, accumulating a combined Wins Above Replacement of nearly 15.
  2. John Bonnes and Nick Nelson focus on the 2004 Minnesota Twins' most valuable players; as the Twins pursued their third consecutive division title, a trio of pitchers led the charge, accumulating a combined Wins Above Replacement of nearly 15. View full video
  3. John Bonnes and Nick Nelson discuss the MVP candidates from the Twins' breakout 2000 season, including long-term Twin Brad Radke, outfielder Matt Lawton, and the on-base machine, third baseman Corey Koskie.
  4. John Bonnes and Nick Nelson discuss the MVP candidates from the Twins' breakout 2000 season, including long-term Twin Brad Radke, outfielder Matt Lawton, and the on-base machine, third baseman Corey Koskie. View full video
  5. Last week, MLB.com tried its best to identify the best draft pick in each club’s history. There’s no question this can be debatable, so here are the top-5 draft picks in Twins history. When it comes to the rankings below, there are many factors to consider. Should the rankings be based on the team’s best players of all time? Should the rankings be associated with players found later in the draft that provided tremendous value? In the end, it’s likely a combination of multiple ranking methods. 5. Kent Hrbek, 1B Twins WAR: 38.6 There were 431 players taken ahead of Hrbek in the 1978 MLB Draft, but he made a life-long impact on the Twins franchise. His hometown team drafted him in the 17th round, and he went on to be a fixture on the team’s 1987 and 1991 World Series titles. His 293 home runs rank second in team history behind only Harmon Killebrew. At 34-years old, he retired earlier than some, so his career numbers may have looked even better if he continued playing. 4. Brad Radke, RHP Twins WAR: 45.3 Fans might not realize how good Radke was during his 12-year career because he was part of some terrible Twins teams. Only one pitcher in team history has accumulated a higher WAR (see below). The Twins selected Radke with their 8th round pick (206th overall) in 1991. He averaged over 200 innings pitched during his career with a 1.26 WHIP and a 113 ERA+. Some of his other numbers aren’t as impressive because he was one of the team’s original pitch-to-contact arms. He provided durability and consistency for the Twins rotation as the team came back to prominence in the early 2000s. 3. Bert Blyleven, RHP Twins WAR: 48.9 Blyleven was MLB.com’s pick for the best draft pick in team history, and he has an argument for the top spot. Both of the players listed below were taken in the first round of their drafts, which can come with high expectations. Blyleven was a third-round pick, and 54 other players were taken ahead of him in 1969. His 22-year career saw him play for five franchises, but he accumulated more WAR during his Twins tenure than any other pitcher in team history. He was a great pitcher and a steal in the third round, but the players below should be ranked higher than him. 2. Joe Mauer, C Twins WAR: 55.2 It’s hard to fathom the amount of pressure Joe Mauer had to feel when he was taken with the first overall pick by his hometown team. Not only did he live up to the hype, but he also went on to have a career that has him in the Hall of Fame conversation. According to Baseball-Reference, only two players in Twins history have accumulated more WAR in a Twins uniform, Rod Carew and Harmon Killebrew. Both of these players are in Cooperstown, and Mauer hopes to join them in the years ahead. 1. Kirby Puckett, CF Twins WAR: 51.2 Puckett’s path to the Twins was a unique one as the team drafted him third overall in the 1982 MLB January Draft. This now-defunct draft is different from the regular draft used to select all the other players on this list. That being said, it’s hard to ignore what Puckett did in a Twins uniform. Minnesota’s assistant farm director Jim Rantz stumbled across Puckett while watching his son play, and the rest is history. Puckett was a critical piece to both of the franchise’s World Series titles, and he was a first-ballot Hall of Fame player. How would you rank these players? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  6. When it comes to the rankings below, there are many factors to consider. Should the rankings be based on the team’s best players of all time? Should the rankings be associated with players found later in the draft that provided tremendous value? In the end, it’s likely a combination of multiple ranking methods. 5. Kent Hrbek, 1B Twins WAR: 38.6 There were 431 players taken ahead of Hrbek in the 1978 MLB Draft, but he made a life-long impact on the Twins franchise. His hometown team drafted him in the 17th round, and he went on to be a fixture on the team’s 1987 and 1991 World Series titles. His 293 home runs rank second in team history behind only Harmon Killebrew. At 34-years old, he retired earlier than some, so his career numbers may have looked even better if he continued playing. 4. Brad Radke, RHP Twins WAR: 45.3 Fans might not realize how good Radke was during his 12-year career because he was part of some terrible Twins teams. Only one pitcher in team history has accumulated a higher WAR (see below). The Twins selected Radke with their 8th round pick (206th overall) in 1991. He averaged over 200 innings pitched during his career with a 1.26 WHIP and a 113 ERA+. Some of his other numbers aren’t as impressive because he was one of the team’s original pitch-to-contact arms. He provided durability and consistency for the Twins rotation as the team came back to prominence in the early 2000s. 3. Bert Blyleven, RHP Twins WAR: 48.9 Blyleven was MLB.com’s pick for the best draft pick in team history, and he has an argument for the top spot. Both of the players listed below were taken in the first round of their drafts, which can come with high expectations. Blyleven was a third-round pick, and 54 other players were taken ahead of him in 1969. His 22-year career saw him play for five franchises, but he accumulated more WAR during his Twins tenure than any other pitcher in team history. He was a great pitcher and a steal in the third round, but the players below should be ranked higher than him. 2. Joe Mauer, C Twins WAR: 55.2 It’s hard to fathom the amount of pressure Joe Mauer had to feel when he was taken with the first overall pick by his hometown team. Not only did he live up to the hype, but he also went on to have a career that has him in the Hall of Fame conversation. According to Baseball-Reference, only two players in Twins history have accumulated more WAR in a Twins uniform, Rod Carew and Harmon Killebrew. Both of these players are in Cooperstown, and Mauer hopes to join them in the years ahead. 1. Kirby Puckett, CF Twins WAR: 51.2 Puckett’s path to the Twins was a unique one as the team drafted him third overall in the 1982 MLB January Draft. This now-defunct draft is different from the regular draft used to select all the other players on this list. That being said, it’s hard to ignore what Puckett did in a Twins uniform. Minnesota’s assistant farm director Jim Rantz stumbled across Puckett while watching his son play, and the rest is history. Puckett was a critical piece to both of the franchise’s World Series titles, and he was a first-ballot Hall of Fame player. How would you rank these players? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  7. On Tuesday night, Twins fans that stayed up late to watch a West Coast game were treated with a real clunker. Minnesota faced off against a bad Seattle team and it escalated into an embarrassing loss. J.A. Happ allowed six earned runs in four innings to an anemic Mariners offense. Happ is only one issue with a pitching staff that might be the worst in franchise history. Out of the 15 American League teams, Minnesota ranks 13th or lower in ERA, hits, R, HR, and strikeouts, but it goes even further than that. While all those numbers show how bad the Twins have been this season, there are ways to compare the current team to former seasons. ERA- and FIP- are all statistics that allow fans to compare pitchers across different eras because it adjusts for the league and the park. For each area, 100 is league average and each point above or below 100 represents a percent above or below league average. If a team has a 90 ERA- that means they were 10 percentage points better than the league average. When it comes to ERA-, there is only one Minnesota team with a worse total than the 2021 Twins. The 1995 Twins finished the year with a 56-88 record and their starting staff was composed of a 22-year-old Brad Radke, Kevin Tapani, Mike Trombley, Frankie Rodriguez, Scott Erickson, and Jose Para. As a club, they had the ranked last or second to last in the American League when it came to ERA, HR, R, W, IP, and H. Entering play on Wednesday, the 2021 Twins (119 ERA-) were only one point behind the 1995 team (120 ERA-), so they certainly can end up in the bottom spot by season’s end. FIP is used to estimate a pitcher’s run prevention independent of the defensive performance behind the player. The 2021 Twins also have the second worse FIP- in team history, but this time the 1982 squad has the worst total. That squad finished 60-102, which was last place in the AL West. Starters on the team included Bobby Castillo, Brad Havens, Albert Williams, Frank Viola, and Jack O’Connor. Like the 1995 team, they ranked at or near the bottom of the AL in ERA, HR, ER, R, and BB. What makes it even more frustrating is how good last year’s staff was in comparison to the current team. Kenta Maeda was the runner-up for the Cy Young and he wasn’t the only one to find success. All four of Minnesota’s top four starters were above league average when it comes to ERA-. Minnesota’s bullpen also had many reliable arms whereas the 2021 team’s bullpen has been a train wreck. In the not-so-distant future, it seems likely for the 2021 Twins to cut ties to some of their veteran pitching options and start seeing what the team has for younger arms. Bailey Ober and Griffin Jax have been added to the staff and other prospects will be following closely behind. Minnesota’s top two pitching prospects, Jhoan Duran and Jordan Balazovic, have both showcased dominant stuff in the upper levels of the minors this season and their big-league debuts made come sooner rather than later. Do you think this is the worst pitching staff in team history? Leave a COMMENT and join the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  8. Derek Falvey was brought over from Cleveland to help the Twins build a pitching pipeline. Those dreams have yet to come to fruition as the 2021 Twins might be the worst pitching staff in team history. On Tuesday night, Twins fans that stayed up late to watch a West Coast game were treated with a real clunker. Minnesota faced off against a bad Seattle team and it escalated into an embarrassing loss. J.A. Happ allowed six earned runs in four innings to an anemic Mariners offense. Happ is only one issue with a pitching staff that might be the worst in franchise history. Out of the 15 American League teams, Minnesota ranks 13th or lower in ERA, hits, R, HR, and strikeouts, but it goes even further than that. While all those numbers show how bad the Twins have been this season, there are ways to compare the current team to former seasons. ERA- and FIP- are all statistics that allow fans to compare pitchers across different eras because it adjusts for the league and the park. For each area, 100 is league average and each point above or below 100 represents a percent above or below league average. If a team has a 90 ERA- that means they were 10 percentage points better than the league average. When it comes to ERA-, there is only one Minnesota team with a worse total than the 2021 Twins. The 1995 Twins finished the year with a 56-88 record and their starting staff was composed of a 22-year-old Brad Radke, Kevin Tapani, Mike Trombley, Frankie Rodriguez, Scott Erickson, and Jose Para. As a club, they had the ranked last or second to last in the American League when it came to ERA, HR, R, W, IP, and H. Entering play on Wednesday, the 2021 Twins (119 ERA-) were only one point behind the 1995 team (120 ERA-), so they certainly can end up in the bottom spot by season’s end. FIP is used to estimate a pitcher’s run prevention independent of the defensive performance behind the player. The 2021 Twins also have the second worse FIP- in team history, but this time the 1982 squad has the worst total. That squad finished 60-102, which was last place in the AL West. Starters on the team included Bobby Castillo, Brad Havens, Albert Williams, Frank Viola, and Jack O’Connor. Like the 1995 team, they ranked at or near the bottom of the AL in ERA, HR, ER, R, and BB. What makes it even more frustrating is how good last year’s staff was in comparison to the current team. Kenta Maeda was the runner-up for the Cy Young and he wasn’t the only one to find success. All four of Minnesota’s top four starters were above league average when it comes to ERA-. Minnesota’s bullpen also had many reliable arms whereas the 2021 team’s bullpen has been a train wreck. In the not-so-distant future, it seems likely for the 2021 Twins to cut ties to some of their veteran pitching options and start seeing what the team has for younger arms. Bailey Ober and Griffin Jax have been added to the staff and other prospects will be following closely behind. Minnesota’s top two pitching prospects, Jhoan Duran and Jordan Balazovic, have both showcased dominant stuff in the upper levels of the minors this season and their big-league debuts made come sooner rather than later. Do you think this is the worst pitching staff in team history? Leave a COMMENT and join the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  9. 6th Round: Pat Neshek (10.7 Career WAR, 3.0 Twins WAR) Neshek has gone on to have a 13-year big league career as he appeared in 20 games last season for the Phillies. He’s been selected to four All-Star teams, but they have all come after he turned 33-years old. His time in Minnesota (129 2/3 innings) saw him compile a 3.05 ERA with a 1.01 WHIP and a 151 to 45 strikeout to walk ratio. 7th Round: Latroy Hawkins (18.0 Career WAR, 8.1 Twins WAR) Hawkins pitched nine seasons in a Twins uniform, but the more amazing feat might be the fact he pitched in the big leagues until his age-42 season. Minnesota used him as a starting pitcher through the 1999 season, but he led the league in earned runs that year and would transition to the bullpen for the rest of his career. Because most of his Twins tenure was as a starter, his 5.05 ERA 1.523 WHIP are high. However, no one pitches 21 years in the big leagues without providing some value. 8th Round: Brad Radke (45.4 Career/Twins WAR), Brian Dozier (23.6 Career WAR, 22.7 Twins WAR) Radke and Dozier are a strong duo to pull out of the draft’s same round. Since the Twins moved to Minnesota, only five players have compiled more WAR in a Twins uniform and four of them are in the Hall of Fame (Carew, Killebrew, Puckett and Blyleven) and the fifth, Mauer, likely could be there someday. Dozier was a late bloomer as he didn’t debut with the Twins until age-25 and he was a first-time All-Star at age-28. His last three full seasons in Minnesota he hit .258/.335/.496 while averaging 35 home runs per season. 9th Round: Mitch Garver (5.1 Career/Twins WAR) Like Dozier, Garver was a bit of a late bloomer, but he’s revamped his offensive and defensive approach since leaving college. He has 218 games played at the big-league level and last season he was masterful at the plate with a .995 OPS and 31 home runs while only appearing in 93 games. Many fans were looking forward to what he was going to be able to do for an encore performance during the 2020 campaign. 10th Round: Steve Braun (17.4 Career WAR, 15.0 Twins WAR), Jeff Reboulet (10.0 Career WAR, 5.8 Twins WAR) For younger fans, Braun might be a name that is a little less familiar. He played the bulk of his career during the 1970s and early 1980s when the Twins were between their strong 1960’s teams and their future World Series squads. In over 750 Twins games, he hit .284/.376/.381 while playing all over the infield. Reboulet joined the Twins in 1992 as a 28-year old that spent six seasons working his way through the minors. He posted a .335 OPS and played decent enough defense at shortstop and third base to help his value. 11th Round: Taylor Rogers (6.4 Career/Twins WAR) As the team hurdled toward 100-wins last season, Rogers anchored a bullpen that saw some trepidatious moments through the middle of the season. Over the last two seasons (137 1/3 innings), he has posted a 2.62 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP with a 165 to 27 strikeout to walk ratio. That includes a season where the baseball was flying out of the park at a record pace. Other Late Round Picks: Kent Hrbek (17th Round: 38.4 WAR), Eddie Guardado (21st Round: 13.3 WAR), Corey Koskie (26th Round: 24.6 WAR), Matt Lawton (13th Round: 15.0 WAR) Some important figures in Twins history fell even deeper than the 12th round of the draft. Hrbek has his number retired by his hometown team and he was a vital part of the two World Series runs. Guardado and Koskie both played pivotal roles on the Twins as the team rebuilt itself in the 2000s. Lawton played on some bad Twins teams in the late 1990’s but he was one of the best players on those squads. Who gets your vote for the best late round pick in Twins history? Leave a COMMENT and join the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  10. The 2000s Twins were again quite successful, winning six AL Central division titles. As has been the case in other decades, it was largely due to the hitters. But there were some really strong pitching performances as well from some very recognizable names.While the player names from the 1960s have a certain lore about them, the pitchers from the decade of 2000 were really good too. The staff was led by Brad Radke, a Twins Hall of Famer who was part of the Twins 1990s staff. Johan Santana came to the organization and immediately was good. Very soon after, he became the best pitcher in baseball for a dozen years. In addition, the bullpen you will see is very strong, led by a couple of Twins Hall of Famers. What you will see if a lot of strike throwers... which won't surprise you at all. So today, enjoy looking back at the top Twins pitchers from the first decade of the 21st century. SP - Johan Santana (2000-2007) 251 games, 175 starts, 93-44 with 1 save and a 3.22 ERA in 1,308 2/3 innings. 1,381 K. 364 BB. Santana was the left unprotected by the Houston Astros in the December 1999 Rule 5 draft. The Twins had arranged a trade with the Marlins to acquire Santana. They kept him around, working primarily out of the bullpen in 2000. He posted a 2.99 ERA in 108 1/3 innings in 2002. He went 12-3 with a 3.07 ERA in 158 1/3 innings in 2003. He increased his workload and made 18 starts. Finally in 2004 he became a full-time starter. He responded by going 20-6 with a 2.61 ERA and won his first Cy Young Award. He finished third in 2005 despite going 16-7 with a 2.87 ERA. He won his second Cy Young Award in 2006 when he went 19-6 with a 2.77 ERA. He led the league in ERA in 2004 and 2006. He led the league in WHIP, FIP, strikeouts and K/9 each year between 2004 and 2006. He won another 15 games in 2007. He received Cy Young votes each season between 2003 and 2007. He was traded to the Mets before the 2008 season. SP - Brad Radke (2000-2006) 214 games, 214 starts, 82-71 with 0 saves and a 4.16 ERA in 1,366 innings. 803 K. 206 BB. The Twins eighth-round pick in 1991, he was the Twins top pitcher of the previous decade and still was a top starter in this century’s first decade. He fought some shoulder issues, but in five of his seven seasons this decade, he worked at least 200 innings. Even with his shoulder tendons barely hanging on in 2006, he pitched 162 innings. Blessed with impeccable control, Radke was consistent. In all but his injured seasons, he posted better-than-average ERA. SP - Scott Baker (2005-2009) 111 games, 109 starts, 43-33 with 0 saves and a 4.27 ERA in 653 innings. 499 K. 149 BB. Baker was the Twins second-round draft pick in 2003 out of Oklahoma State. He moved quickly and made his debut in May of 2005. He was a slightly better than average pitcher for the Twins through his seven seasons with the team. He went 11-4 with a 3.45 ERA in 172 1/3 innings in 2008. In 2009, he worked a career-high 200 innings and was 15-9 with a 4.37 ERA. After missing the 2012 season due to Tommy John surgery, he pitched for the Cubs, Rangers and Dodgers over the next three seasons. SP - Carlos Silva (2004-2007) 129 games, 124 starts, 47-45 with 0 saves and a 4.42 ERA in 773 2/3 innings. 306 K. 112 BB. In 2001 and 2002, Silva pitched in 130 games out of the bullpen for the Phillies. After that season, he was part of the trade that sent Eric Milton to Philadelphia. The Twins moved him into their starting rotation. He went 14-8 with a 4.21 ERA over 33 starts and a career-high 203 innings in 2004. In 2005, he went 9-8 in 27 starts, with a 3.44 ERA. As impressive, he had the same number of walks as Wins that season, over 188 1/3 innings. He struggled in 2006, but in 2007, he went 13-14 with a solid 4.19 ERA in 202 innings. Over his four seasons with the Twins, he struck out just 3.6 batters per nine innings. He survived by working fast, getting a lot of sink and throwing a ton of strikes. He left after the 2007 season for a four-year, $48 million deal with the Mariners. SP - Eric Milton (2000-2003) 100 games, 99 starts, 42-26 with 0 saves and a 4.60 ERA in 608 2/3 innings. 445 K. 136 BB. Milton came to the Twins from the Yankees before the 1998 season in the Chuck Knoblauch trade. He had been a first-round pick by the pinstripers. He debuted in 1998. In 2000, he won 13 games. In 2001, he made the All-Star team and won 15 games with a 4.32 ERA in 220 innings. He won 13 more games in 2002. He missed most of the 2003 season with injury but returned late in the season for three starts. It was enough to impress the Phillies who acquired him after that season. RP - Joe Nathan (2004-2009) 412 games, 0 starts, 22-12 with 246 saves and a 1.87 ERA in 418 2/3 innings. 518 K. 120 BB. Nathan came up with the Giants in 1999 and remained with them through the 2003 season. That final season, he was a very good set-up man. That offseason, the Twins acquired Nathan and two other pitchers in exchange for AJ Pierzynski. Nathan wasn’t handed the closer job, but he quickly earned it and he absolutely took off. That first year, he posted a 1.62 ERA and 44 saves. Over his first six seasons with the Twins, he posted an ERA over 2.10 just once (2.70). He had at least 36 saves each season and a career-high 47 saves in 2009. He never had a WHIP over 1.02. He pitched in four All-Star Games. The Twins all-time saves leader became a Twins Hall of Famer. RP - LaTroy Hawkins (2000-2003) 267 games, 0 starts, 18-13 with 44 saves and a 3.09 ERA in 296 2/3 innings. 233 K. 101 BB. Hawkins was the Twins seventh-round pick in 1991. He debuted with the Twins in 1995. He was tried as a starting pitcher through the 1999 season. He moved to the bullpen in 2000. He recorded 42 saves between 2000 and 2001 but he struggled in that role. When Eddie Guardado took over as the team’s closer, Hawk moved into the set up role and became a force. He went 6-0 with a 2.13 ERA in 80 1/3 innings in 2002. In 2003, he went 9-3 with a 1.86 ERA in 77 1/3 innings. He had struggled with control to that point, but he walked just 15 batters each season. He left after the season as a free agent… and then he kept pitching through the 2015 season. Pitching very well. RP - Eddie Guardado (2000-2003) 280 games, 0 starts, 19-14 with 107 saves and a 3.42 ERA in 268 1/3 innings. 254 K. 82 BB. Guardado was the Twins 21st-round pick in 1990 and was in the big leagues by 1993. By 1996, he earned the moniker “Everyday Eddie” because the southpaw was used so much. By the turn of the century, he had become very reliable. He saw his ERA drop from near-5, to mid-4s, to high-3s. Between 2000 and 2001, he won 14 games. By the end of the 2001 season, he took over the closer role. In 2002, he went 1-3 with a 2.93 ERA. He led the league with 45 saves and pitched in his first All-Star Game. He returned to the mid-summer classic in 2003. That season, he went 3-5 with a 2.89 ERA and 41 saves. After the season, he left for the Mariners via free agency. He returned to the Twins in September of 2008 and pitched in nine games. RP - Matt Guerrier (2004-2009) 319 games, 3 starts, 14-18 with 4 saves and a 3.41 ERA in 401 innings. 268 K. 125 BB. Following the 2003 season, the Twins claimed Guerrier after he had been DFAd by the White Sox. He pitched in nine games for the Twins in 2004, but he then became a mainstay in the Twins bullpen, eventually moving in to a high-leverage role. He led the AL in appearances in both 2008 and 2009. In 2009, he went 5-1 with a 2.36 ERA, which was 86% better than league average. He posted an ERA well above league average in four of his five full seasons with the Twins in the decade. He left via free agency after the 2010 season. Spent two years there, then one with the Cubs before returning to the Twins for about a half season in 2014. RP - Juan Rincon (2001-2008) 386 games, 3 starts, 30-26 with 3 saves and a 3.69 ERA in 441 innings. 412 K. 182 BB. Rincon signed with the Twins in 1996 out of Venezuela. He made his debut in 2001 and spent most of the next eight seasons in a Twins uniform. He became a regular in 2003, but 2004 was likely his best season. He went 11-6 with a 2.63 ERA. In 82 innings, he struck out 106 batters. The following year, he posted a 2.45 ERA with more than a strikeout per inning. In 2006, he was 3-1 with a 2.91 ERA in 74 games. He wasn’t the same pitcher after his PED suspension in 2007 and was let go midway through the 2008 season. He continued to pitch into the 2010 season. What are your thoughts? Agree with the choices? Previous Installments Twins All-Decade Team, the '60s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team, the '60s (The Pitchers) Episode 15: Get t o Know the 1960s Twins (with Dave Mona) Twins All-Decade Team, the '70s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team, the '70s (The Pitchers) Episode 16: Get to Know the 1970s Twins (with Patrick Reusse) Twins All-Decade Team: the '80s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team: the '80s (The Pitchers) Episode 17: Get to know the 1980s Twins (with Howard Sinker) Twins All-Decade Team: the '90s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team: the '90s (The Pitchers) Twins All-Decade Team: the '00s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team: the '00s (The Pitchers) Click here to view the article
  11. While the player names from the 1960s have a certain lore about them, the pitchers from the decade of 2000 were really good too. The staff was led by Brad Radke, a Twins Hall of Famer who was part of the Twins 1990s staff. Johan Santana came to the organization and immediately was good. Very soon after, he became the best pitcher in baseball for a dozen years. In addition, the bullpen you will see is very strong, led by a couple of Twins Hall of Famers. What you will see if a lot of strike throwers... which won't surprise you at all. So today, enjoy looking back at the top Twins pitchers from the first decade of the 21st century. SP - Johan Santana (2000-2007) 251 games, 175 starts, 93-44 with 1 save and a 3.22 ERA in 1,308 2/3 innings. 1,381 K. 364 BB. Santana was the left unprotected by the Houston Astros in the December 1999 Rule 5 draft. The Twins had arranged a trade with the Marlins to acquire Santana. They kept him around, working primarily out of the bullpen in 2000. He posted a 2.99 ERA in 108 1/3 innings in 2002. He went 12-3 with a 3.07 ERA in 158 1/3 innings in 2003. He increased his workload and made 18 starts. Finally in 2004 he became a full-time starter. He responded by going 20-6 with a 2.61 ERA and won his first Cy Young Award. He finished third in 2005 despite going 16-7 with a 2.87 ERA. He won his second Cy Young Award in 2006 when he went 19-6 with a 2.77 ERA. He led the league in ERA in 2004 and 2006. He led the league in WHIP, FIP, strikeouts and K/9 each year between 2004 and 2006. He won another 15 games in 2007. He received Cy Young votes each season between 2003 and 2007. He was traded to the Mets before the 2008 season. SP - Brad Radke (2000-2006) 214 games, 214 starts, 82-71 with 0 saves and a 4.16 ERA in 1,366 innings. 803 K. 206 BB. The Twins eighth-round pick in 1991, he was the Twins top pitcher of the previous decade and still was a top starter in this century’s first decade. He fought some shoulder issues, but in five of his seven seasons this decade, he worked at least 200 innings. Even with his shoulder tendons barely hanging on in 2006, he pitched 162 innings. Blessed with impeccable control, Radke was consistent. In all but his injured seasons, he posted better-than-average ERA. SP - Scott Baker (2005-2009) 111 games, 109 starts, 43-33 with 0 saves and a 4.27 ERA in 653 innings. 499 K. 149 BB. Baker was the Twins second-round draft pick in 2003 out of Oklahoma State. He moved quickly and made his debut in May of 2005. He was a slightly better than average pitcher for the Twins through his seven seasons with the team. He went 11-4 with a 3.45 ERA in 172 1/3 innings in 2008. In 2009, he worked a career-high 200 innings and was 15-9 with a 4.37 ERA. After missing the 2012 season due to Tommy John surgery, he pitched for the Cubs, Rangers and Dodgers over the next three seasons. SP - Carlos Silva (2004-2007) 129 games, 124 starts, 47-45 with 0 saves and a 4.42 ERA in 773 2/3 innings. 306 K. 112 BB. In 2001 and 2002, Silva pitched in 130 games out of the bullpen for the Phillies. After that season, he was part of the trade that sent Eric Milton to Philadelphia. The Twins moved him into their starting rotation. He went 14-8 with a 4.21 ERA over 33 starts and a career-high 203 innings in 2004. In 2005, he went 9-8 in 27 starts, with a 3.44 ERA. As impressive, he had the same number of walks as Wins that season, over 188 1/3 innings. He struggled in 2006, but in 2007, he went 13-14 with a solid 4.19 ERA in 202 innings. Over his four seasons with the Twins, he struck out just 3.6 batters per nine innings. He survived by working fast, getting a lot of sink and throwing a ton of strikes. He left after the 2007 season for a four-year, $48 million deal with the Mariners. SP - Eric Milton (2000-2003) 100 games, 99 starts, 42-26 with 0 saves and a 4.60 ERA in 608 2/3 innings. 445 K. 136 BB. Milton came to the Twins from the Yankees before the 1998 season in the Chuck Knoblauch trade. He had been a first-round pick by the pinstripers. He debuted in 1998. In 2000, he won 13 games. In 2001, he made the All-Star team and won 15 games with a 4.32 ERA in 220 innings. He won 13 more games in 2002. He missed most of the 2003 season with injury but returned late in the season for three starts. It was enough to impress the Phillies who acquired him after that season. RP - Joe Nathan (2004-2009) 412 games, 0 starts, 22-12 with 246 saves and a 1.87 ERA in 418 2/3 innings. 518 K. 120 BB. Nathan came up with the Giants in 1999 and remained with them through the 2003 season. That final season, he was a very good set-up man. That offseason, the Twins acquired Nathan and two other pitchers in exchange for AJ Pierzynski. Nathan wasn’t handed the closer job, but he quickly earned it and he absolutely took off. That first year, he posted a 1.62 ERA and 44 saves. Over his first six seasons with the Twins, he posted an ERA over 2.10 just once (2.70). He had at least 36 saves each season and a career-high 47 saves in 2009. He never had a WHIP over 1.02. He pitched in four All-Star Games. The Twins all-time saves leader became a Twins Hall of Famer. RP - LaTroy Hawkins (2000-2003) 267 games, 0 starts, 18-13 with 44 saves and a 3.09 ERA in 296 2/3 innings. 233 K. 101 BB. Hawkins was the Twins seventh-round pick in 1991. He debuted with the Twins in 1995. He was tried as a starting pitcher through the 1999 season. He moved to the bullpen in 2000. He recorded 42 saves between 2000 and 2001 but he struggled in that role. When Eddie Guardado took over as the team’s closer, Hawk moved into the set up role and became a force. He went 6-0 with a 2.13 ERA in 80 1/3 innings in 2002. In 2003, he went 9-3 with a 1.86 ERA in 77 1/3 innings. He had struggled with control to that point, but he walked just 15 batters each season. He left after the season as a free agent… and then he kept pitching through the 2015 season. Pitching very well. RP - Eddie Guardado (2000-2003) 280 games, 0 starts, 19-14 with 107 saves and a 3.42 ERA in 268 1/3 innings. 254 K. 82 BB. Guardado was the Twins 21st-round pick in 1990 and was in the big leagues by 1993. By 1996, he earned the moniker “Everyday Eddie” because the southpaw was used so much. By the turn of the century, he had become very reliable. He saw his ERA drop from near-5, to mid-4s, to high-3s. Between 2000 and 2001, he won 14 games. By the end of the 2001 season, he took over the closer role. In 2002, he went 1-3 with a 2.93 ERA. He led the league with 45 saves and pitched in his first All-Star Game. He returned to the mid-summer classic in 2003. That season, he went 3-5 with a 2.89 ERA and 41 saves. After the season, he left for the Mariners via free agency. He returned to the Twins in September of 2008 and pitched in nine games. RP - Matt Guerrier (2004-2009) 319 games, 3 starts, 14-18 with 4 saves and a 3.41 ERA in 401 innings. 268 K. 125 BB. Following the 2003 season, the Twins claimed Guerrier after he had been DFAd by the White Sox. He pitched in nine games for the Twins in 2004, but he then became a mainstay in the Twins bullpen, eventually moving in to a high-leverage role. He led the AL in appearances in both 2008 and 2009. In 2009, he went 5-1 with a 2.36 ERA, which was 86% better than league average. He posted an ERA well above league average in four of his five full seasons with the Twins in the decade. He left via free agency after the 2010 season. Spent two years there, then one with the Cubs before returning to the Twins for about a half season in 2014. RP - Juan Rincon (2001-2008) 386 games, 3 starts, 30-26 with 3 saves and a 3.69 ERA in 441 innings. 412 K. 182 BB. Rincon signed with the Twins in 1996 out of Venezuela. He made his debut in 2001 and spent most of the next eight seasons in a Twins uniform. He became a regular in 2003, but 2004 was likely his best season. He went 11-6 with a 2.63 ERA. In 82 innings, he struck out 106 batters. The following year, he posted a 2.45 ERA with more than a strikeout per inning. In 2006, he was 3-1 with a 2.91 ERA in 74 games. He wasn’t the same pitcher after his PED suspension in 2007 and was let go midway through the 2008 season. He continued to pitch into the 2010 season. What are your thoughts? Agree with the choices? Previous Installments Twins All-Decade Team, the '60s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team, the '60s (The Pitchers) Episode 15: Get t o Know the 1960s Twins (with Dave Mona) Twins All-Decade Team, the '70s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team, the '70s (The Pitchers) Episode 16: Get to Know the 1970s Twins (with Patrick Reusse) Twins All-Decade Team: the '80s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team: the '80s (The Pitchers) Episode 17: Get to know the 1980s Twins (with Howard Sinker) Twins All-Decade Team: the '90s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team: the '90s (The Pitchers) Twins All-Decade Team: the '00s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team: the '00s (The Pitchers)
  12. Today we continue our stroll down Twins memory lane by looking at the pitchers in the All-Decade Team for the Twins. There are a couple of Twins Hall of Famers on this list. The decade began in last place, then jumped to a title, and after that, there were some lean years, but even those teams had some very nice players.The 1990 Twins finished in last place in the American League, but some young pitchers, both starters and in the bullpen, were working some valuable innings and then took off in that magical 1991 season. And even during the years that the Twins were really struggling, some pitchers were getting some quality innings that they carried into the new century. While a couple of one-season Twins could have made this list and given it more clout, the other names make for more conversation. So, enjoy this list and then discuss in the comments below. SP - Brad Radke (1995-1999) 164 games, 163 starts, 66-68 with 4.30 ERA in 1,085 innings. 664 K. 239 BB. Radke was the team’s eighth-round draft pick out of high school in 1991. He made his debut early in the 1995 season and pitched 181 innings. The next six seasons, he topped 213 innings each season. The first two years, he led the league in home runs allowed (“Real as Radke”). But in 1997, he broke out and went 20-10 for a Twins team that won just 68 games. In June, July and into August that year, he had a stretch in which he won 12 straight starts. He finished third in Cy Young voting that year. While his 4.30 ERA over this time frame doesn’t sound great, it was 14% better than average during that era. SP - Kevin Tapani (1990-1995) 176 games, 175 starts, 73-61 with 4.06 ERA in 1,138 2/3 innings. 703 K. 247 BB. Tapani came to the Twins late in the 1989 season in the Frank Viola trade and became a mainstay in the Twins rotation through the first half of the 1990s. In 1990, he went 12-8 and finished fifth in the Rookie of the Year voting. He went 16-9 with a 2.99 ERA in 244 innings in helping the Twins to their 1991 World Series championship. He won 16 more games in 1992 despite an ERA of 3.97. He was traded to the Dodgers late in the 1995 season and pitched in the big leagues through the 2001 season. SP - Scott Erickson (1990-1995) 155 games, 153 starts, 61-60 with 4.22 ERA in 979 1/3 innings. 527 K. 367 BB. Erickson was the Twins fourth-round pick in 1989 out of the University of Arizona. He made his MLB debut just a year later and went 8-4 with a 2.87 ERA in 113 innings for the 1990 Twins. He led the league with 20 wins and posted a 3.18 ERA in 204 innings for the 1991 Twins, finishing second in Cy Young voting. He was a solid 13-12 in 1992. But as the Twins went down hill, Erickson’s performance went downhill (or vice versa). He lost a league-leading 19 games with a 5.19 ERA in 1993, got worse in 1994 and was traded midway through the 1995 season. He fought injuries the rest of his career, but he certainly always showed the kind of stuff to keep getting opportunities. SP - Bob Tewksbury (1997-98) 52 games, 51 starts, 15-26 with 4.49 ERA in 317 innings. 152 K. 51 BB. When Tewksbury joined the Twins before the 1997 season, he already was a veteran of 11 MLB seasons. He had been an All-Star with the Cardinals in 1992. He provided the Twins with some consistency and veteran presence. Simply, he didn’t walk many, struck out very few and took the ball. His ERA over those two seasons was 5% better than average. SP - Eric Milton (1998-1999) 66 games, 66 starts, 15-25 with 5.01 ERA in 378 2/3 innings. 270 K. 133 BB. Milton came to the Twins from the Yankees before the 1998 season in the Chuck Knoblauch trade. He had been a first-round pick by the pinstripes. He surprised many when he made the Twins Opening Day roster right away in 1998. After going 8-14 with a 5.64 ERA as a rookie, Milton went 7-11 with a 4.49 ERA in 206 1/3 innings his sophomore season. That ERA was 13% better than league average. While he wasn’t great, Milton provided some glimpses at what he could be. In late July, he threw a complete game, three-hit shutout against the Angels. And, you may remember his September start against the Angels on a Saturday morning in which he no-hit the Angels with 13 strikeouts. In keeping consistent with previous decades, I did not include any players who were only with the team for one season in the decade. In the 1970s, that meant that Jerry Koosman didn’t make the list. In the 1990s, Jack Morris’s 1991 and John Smiley’s 1992 seasons certainly warrant mention. RP - Rick Aguilera (1990-1999) 479 games, 19 starts, 37-42 with 254 saves and a 3.54 ERA in 618 1/3 innings. 529 K. 162 BB. “Aggy” spent parts of five seasons with the New York Mets, even winning a World Series title in 1986. He was traded to the Twins in the 1989 Frank Viola deal. While he was very clear about wanting to be a starter, his work as a closer was terrific and led to being inducted into the Twins Hall of Fame. He posted sub-3.00 ERAs each season from 1990 through 1992. He was an All-Star in 1991, 1992 and 1993 for the Twins. He was a huge part of the 1991 championship. Late in 1995, he was traded to the Red Sox, but he chose to come back to the Twins for the 1996 season, again as a starter. In 1997, he was back in the closer role which he kept until a trade to the Cubs late in the 1999 season. He had over 30 saves in six seasons for the Twins. His 254 Twins saves was a franchise high until it was surpassed by Joe Nathan. RP - Mike Trombley (1992-1999) 360 games, 36 starts, 30-33 with 34 saves and a 4.46 ERA in 641 2/3 innings. 525 K. 243 BB. Trombley was the Twins 14th-round pick in 1989 out of Duke. He made his debut in August of 1992. He had some opportunities to start, but his best work came out of the Twins bullpen. His best season came in 1996 when he went 5-1 with a 3.01 ERA and six saves in 68 2/3 innings. He also recorded 24 of his Twins saves during the 1999 season. Once he shifted full-time to the bullpen in 1996, he became very good, very consistent. Over those four seasons, his 3.87 ERA was 26% better than the league average ERA. RP - Greg Swindell (1997-1998) 117 games, 1 start, 10-7 with 3 saves and a 3.61 ERA in 182 innings. 120 K. 43 BB. Like Tewksbury, Swindell had a lot of big-league service time when the Twins signed him before the 1997 season. He had been an All-Star as a starter in Cleveland, and pitched for several teams. He had recently shifted to the bullpen. In 1997, he worked 115 2/3 innings over 65 games for the Twins, all but one out of the bullpen. He went 7-5 with a 3.58 ERA. He then pitched another 52 games (and 66 1/3 innings) for the Twins before being traded to the Red Sox late in the 1998 season. While it was only about 1.7 seasons with the Twins, his 3.61 ERA was 30% better than league average at that time. RP - Mark Guthrie (1990-1995) 227 games, 35 starts, 27-23 with 8 saves and a 4.14 ERA in 432 1/3 innings. 350 K. 153 BB. Guthrie had been the Twins seventh-ound pick in 1987 out of LSU. He made his debut with the Twins in 1989. In 1990, he was still used primarily as a starter. But it wasn’t too long into the 1991 season that Guthrie was moved to the Twins bullpen and he did a really nice job the rest of the season and he was important for the 1991 World Series championship team. 1992 was his best season. In 54 games and 75 innings, he went 2-3 with five saves and a 2.88 ERA. He missed time in 1993 and struggled in 1994 and 1995 when he was traded to the Dodgers where he became very good again. Fun Fact: The Twins used their 40th-round pick in the 2014 draft on high school shortstop Dalton Guthrie. He went unsigned, went to Florida and became the Phillies sixth-round pick in 2017. He spent 2019 with High-A Clearwater. RP - Carl Willis (1991-1995) 204 games, 0 starts, 20-10 with 11 saves and a 3.65 ERA in 286 1/3 innings. 179 K. 64 BB. Carl Willis, aka The Big Train, had quite the circuitous route to the Twins, but once he got there, he played a large role in some terrific Twins teams. He made his MLB debut in 1984 with the Tigers and then spent parts of 1984 through 1986 with the Reds. He pitched six games and 12 innings for the White Sox in 1988. Then he didn’t see the big leagues until 1991. The Twins signed him as a 30-year-old before the 1991 season. By late April, the Twins called him up for long relief. By May 8th, he was back in the big leagues for good. Maybe it was his ticks, touching his cap a bunch and other idiosyncrasies, but whatever, it worked. He gained Tom Kelly’s confidence and was used a lot. He went 8-3 with a 2.64 ERA for the 1991 Twins and then pitched in seven games during the postseason, helping the team to the World Series championship. In 1992, he went 7-3 with a 2.72 ERA. He was 3-0 with a 3.10 ERA and five saves in 1993. He struggled after that for a couple of seasons, but his work in the early-90s was quite impressive. He’s also become a well-respected pitching coach since then. So there you have it, some memorable names, some great moments, many ups and downs, but a fun decade to sift through and remember. What are your thoughts? Previous Installments Twins All-Decade Team, the '60s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team, the '60s (The Pitchers) Episode 15: Get t o Know the 1960s Twins (with Dave Mona) Twins All-Decade Team, the '70s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team, the '70s (The Pitchers) Episode 16: Get to Know the 1970s Twins (with Patrick Reusse) Twins All-Decade Team: the '80s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team: the '80s (The Pitchers) Episode 17: Get to know the 1980s Twins (with Howard Sinker) Twins All-Decade Team: the '90s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team: the '90s (The Pitchers) Click here to view the article
  13. The 1990 Twins finished in last place in the American League, but some young pitchers, both starters and in the bullpen, were working some valuable innings and then took off in that magical 1991 season. And even during the years that the Twins were really struggling, some pitchers were getting some quality innings that they carried into the new century. While a couple of one-season Twins could have made this list and given it more clout, the other names make for more conversation. So, enjoy this list and then discuss in the comments below. SP - Brad Radke (1995-1999) 164 games, 163 starts, 66-68 with 4.30 ERA in 1,085 innings. 664 K. 239 BB. Radke was the team’s eighth-round draft pick out of high school in 1991. He made his debut early in the 1995 season and pitched 181 innings. The next six seasons, he topped 213 innings each season. The first two years, he led the league in home runs allowed (“Real as Radke”). But in 1997, he broke out and went 20-10 for a Twins team that won just 68 games. In June, July and into August that year, he had a stretch in which he won 12 straight starts. He finished third in Cy Young voting that year. While his 4.30 ERA over this time frame doesn’t sound great, it was 14% better than average during that era. SP - Kevin Tapani (1990-1995) 176 games, 175 starts, 73-61 with 4.06 ERA in 1,138 2/3 innings. 703 K. 247 BB. Tapani came to the Twins late in the 1989 season in the Frank Viola trade and became a mainstay in the Twins rotation through the first half of the 1990s. In 1990, he went 12-8 and finished fifth in the Rookie of the Year voting. He went 16-9 with a 2.99 ERA in 244 innings in helping the Twins to their 1991 World Series championship. He won 16 more games in 1992 despite an ERA of 3.97. He was traded to the Dodgers late in the 1995 season and pitched in the big leagues through the 2001 season. SP - Scott Erickson (1990-1995) 155 games, 153 starts, 61-60 with 4.22 ERA in 979 1/3 innings. 527 K. 367 BB. Erickson was the Twins fourth-round pick in 1989 out of the University of Arizona. He made his MLB debut just a year later and went 8-4 with a 2.87 ERA in 113 innings for the 1990 Twins. He led the league with 20 wins and posted a 3.18 ERA in 204 innings for the 1991 Twins, finishing second in Cy Young voting. He was a solid 13-12 in 1992. But as the Twins went down hill, Erickson’s performance went downhill (or vice versa). He lost a league-leading 19 games with a 5.19 ERA in 1993, got worse in 1994 and was traded midway through the 1995 season. He fought injuries the rest of his career, but he certainly always showed the kind of stuff to keep getting opportunities. SP - Bob Tewksbury (1997-98) 52 games, 51 starts, 15-26 with 4.49 ERA in 317 innings. 152 K. 51 BB. When Tewksbury joined the Twins before the 1997 season, he already was a veteran of 11 MLB seasons. He had been an All-Star with the Cardinals in 1992. He provided the Twins with some consistency and veteran presence. Simply, he didn’t walk many, struck out very few and took the ball. His ERA over those two seasons was 5% better than average. SP - Eric Milton (1998-1999) 66 games, 66 starts, 15-25 with 5.01 ERA in 378 2/3 innings. 270 K. 133 BB. Milton came to the Twins from the Yankees before the 1998 season in the Chuck Knoblauch trade. He had been a first-round pick by the pinstripes. He surprised many when he made the Twins Opening Day roster right away in 1998. After going 8-14 with a 5.64 ERA as a rookie, Milton went 7-11 with a 4.49 ERA in 206 1/3 innings his sophomore season. That ERA was 13% better than league average. While he wasn’t great, Milton provided some glimpses at what he could be. In late July, he threw a complete game, three-hit shutout against the Angels. And, you may remember his September start against the Angels on a Saturday morning in which he no-hit the Angels with 13 strikeouts. In keeping consistent with previous decades, I did not include any players who were only with the team for one season in the decade. In the 1970s, that meant that Jerry Koosman didn’t make the list. In the 1990s, Jack Morris’s 1991 and John Smiley’s 1992 seasons certainly warrant mention. RP - Rick Aguilera (1990-1999) 479 games, 19 starts, 37-42 with 254 saves and a 3.54 ERA in 618 1/3 innings. 529 K. 162 BB. “Aggy” spent parts of five seasons with the New York Mets, even winning a World Series title in 1986. He was traded to the Twins in the 1989 Frank Viola deal. While he was very clear about wanting to be a starter, his work as a closer was terrific and led to being inducted into the Twins Hall of Fame. He posted sub-3.00 ERAs each season from 1990 through 1992. He was an All-Star in 1991, 1992 and 1993 for the Twins. He was a huge part of the 1991 championship. Late in 1995, he was traded to the Red Sox, but he chose to come back to the Twins for the 1996 season, again as a starter. In 1997, he was back in the closer role which he kept until a trade to the Cubs late in the 1999 season. He had over 30 saves in six seasons for the Twins. His 254 Twins saves was a franchise high until it was surpassed by Joe Nathan. RP - Mike Trombley (1992-1999) 360 games, 36 starts, 30-33 with 34 saves and a 4.46 ERA in 641 2/3 innings. 525 K. 243 BB. Trombley was the Twins 14th-round pick in 1989 out of Duke. He made his debut in August of 1992. He had some opportunities to start, but his best work came out of the Twins bullpen. His best season came in 1996 when he went 5-1 with a 3.01 ERA and six saves in 68 2/3 innings. He also recorded 24 of his Twins saves during the 1999 season. Once he shifted full-time to the bullpen in 1996, he became very good, very consistent. Over those four seasons, his 3.87 ERA was 26% better than the league average ERA. RP - Greg Swindell (1997-1998) 117 games, 1 start, 10-7 with 3 saves and a 3.61 ERA in 182 innings. 120 K. 43 BB. Like Tewksbury, Swindell had a lot of big-league service time when the Twins signed him before the 1997 season. He had been an All-Star as a starter in Cleveland, and pitched for several teams. He had recently shifted to the bullpen. In 1997, he worked 115 2/3 innings over 65 games for the Twins, all but one out of the bullpen. He went 7-5 with a 3.58 ERA. He then pitched another 52 games (and 66 1/3 innings) for the Twins before being traded to the Red Sox late in the 1998 season. While it was only about 1.7 seasons with the Twins, his 3.61 ERA was 30% better than league average at that time. RP - Mark Guthrie (1990-1995) 227 games, 35 starts, 27-23 with 8 saves and a 4.14 ERA in 432 1/3 innings. 350 K. 153 BB. Guthrie had been the Twins seventh-ound pick in 1987 out of LSU. He made his debut with the Twins in 1989. In 1990, he was still used primarily as a starter. But it wasn’t too long into the 1991 season that Guthrie was moved to the Twins bullpen and he did a really nice job the rest of the season and he was important for the 1991 World Series championship team. 1992 was his best season. In 54 games and 75 innings, he went 2-3 with five saves and a 2.88 ERA. He missed time in 1993 and struggled in 1994 and 1995 when he was traded to the Dodgers where he became very good again. Fun Fact: The Twins used their 40th-round pick in the 2014 draft on high school shortstop Dalton Guthrie. He went unsigned, went to Florida and became the Phillies sixth-round pick in 2017. He spent 2019 with High-A Clearwater. RP - Carl Willis (1991-1995) 204 games, 0 starts, 20-10 with 11 saves and a 3.65 ERA in 286 1/3 innings. 179 K. 64 BB. Carl Willis, aka The Big Train, had quite the circuitous route to the Twins, but once he got there, he played a large role in some terrific Twins teams. He made his MLB debut in 1984 with the Tigers and then spent parts of 1984 through 1986 with the Reds. He pitched six games and 12 innings for the White Sox in 1988. Then he didn’t see the big leagues until 1991. The Twins signed him as a 30-year-old before the 1991 season. By late April, the Twins called him up for long relief. By May 8th, he was back in the big leagues for good. Maybe it was his ticks, touching his cap a bunch and other idiosyncrasies, but whatever, it worked. He gained Tom Kelly’s confidence and was used a lot. He went 8-3 with a 2.64 ERA for the 1991 Twins and then pitched in seven games during the postseason, helping the team to the World Series championship. In 1992, he went 7-3 with a 2.72 ERA. He was 3-0 with a 3.10 ERA and five saves in 1993. He struggled after that for a couple of seasons, but his work in the early-90s was quite impressive. He’s also become a well-respected pitching coach since then. So there you have it, some memorable names, some great moments, many ups and downs, but a fun decade to sift through and remember. What are your thoughts? Previous Installments Twins All-Decade Team, the '60s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team, the '60s (The Pitchers) Episode 15: Get t o Know the 1960s Twins (with Dave Mona) Twins All-Decade Team, the '70s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team, the '70s (The Pitchers) Episode 16: Get to Know the 1970s Twins (with Patrick Reusse) Twins All-Decade Team: the '80s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team: the '80s (The Pitchers) Episode 17: Get to know the 1980s Twins (with Howard Sinker) Twins All-Decade Team: the '90s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team: the '90s (The Pitchers)
  14. When teasing this piece on Twitter recently I found myself inundated with names that all fill this bill. From Kevin Tapani to Jason Kubel, there were dozens of replies reflective of compelling cases. Many of them I found myself nodding in agreement. While this is obviously opinion, I tried to create some objective parameters. https://twitter.com/tlschwerz/status/1242221195770159112 To truly be underrated there was a need for a sustained level of greatness. No player below a career fWAR mark of 20.0 would be included. That’s a modest bar to clear for the established veteran, but one that generally comes with some substantial highlights along the way (for the sake of comparison, Justin Morneau produced exactly 20.0 fWAR as a Twin). That numerator was the only hard and fast rule. If I was going to blueprint another, it was that the player needed to be given a higher level of appreciation than I felt they’d been shown. There’s nothing more subjective than that, but again, opinion. Honorable Mention: Shane Mack 17.9 fWAR He doesn’t meet the numerical parameters and therefore could never have been fully under consideration. However, for a guy that played in just north of 600 games for the Twins after being out of the big leagues the year prior to joining the club, he made his presence felt. After two seasons with the Padres, Mack showed up and posted an .854 OPS across parts of five seasons. He batted .309, had some pop, and played all three outfield positions. A 130 OPS+ is nothing to make light of. 4. Cesar Tovar 21.6 fWAR Of all players in Minnesota history, Tovar owns the 13th highest fWAR. Despite playing in fewer games, he’s ahead of guys like Roy Smalley, Justin Morneau, and Greg Gagne. Often brought up during the yearly debate regarding the Twins Hall of Fame inductions, Tovar gave the Twins eight seasons of a good average and great plate discipline. He played all over the diamond and earned MVP votes in five straight seasons. Not often considered among the best in franchise history, this is a guy too often forgotten in those discussions. 3. Corey Koskie 23.2 fWAR Maybe the most impressive on this list given the games played, Koskie compiled the 10th best fWAR in franchise history despite playing in the 25th most games. He tallied better totals than both Torii Hunter and Brian Dozier, all while being a relative footnote on those early 2000’s teams. He earned MVP votes one time, but never drew any other accolades. His .836 OPS with the Twins matches Eddie Rosario’s best year, and is nearly 50 points above Rosario's career average. 2. Brad Radke 38.7 fWAR Arguably the most overlooked member on this list, Radke was the reliable anchor on some clubs that faced significant uphill battles. His contributions trump those of Frank Viola and Jim Perry while getting only a smaller amount of runway. An All- Star just once in his career, Radke earned a top-3 Cy Young finish in 1997, starting 35 games. He pitched 200 innings in nine of his twelve major league seasons, and it was because of his efforts that Tom Kelly and Ron Gardenhire had a go-to arm they could count on. Nothing was flashy about Brad, but he never was going to beat himself, and he gave Minnesota that luxury for 377 career starts. 1. Joe Mauer 52.5 fWAR We can argue all day long about whether Joe was better than Kirby Puckett, Rod Carew, or Harmon Killebrew but I don’t see any questions around which one struggles to get his due. Minnesota’s top trio are all enshrined in Cooperstown while the generational catcher is often questioned about his inclusion by a hometown fan base. One-third of Mauer’s career was dragged through a period in which injury altered his trajectory (though he became one of the best defensive first basemen in the game). Poor press releases and an out-of-position contract further complicated his narrative. There’s no reason for a future Hall of Fame catcher to have a questioned legacy. Because of the subjective nature here, let’s see your list. Who do you agree with and what would you change? MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  15. It is hard to believe that it has been fifteen years since the most tragic day in American history. The events of that day and the recovery following it have been well documented over the last decade and a half. The anniversary will always be a time of remembrance but it will also be a time to reflect on how far America has come since the events of September 11th. It seemed that all of America came to a standstill as the events unfolded in New York, Washington DC, and Pennsylvania. The professional sports world took a time-out as people realized that there were more important things in life than the sports that can consume people's lives. MLB stopped all of their games for over a week in the middle of the pennant races. At the time, it was the right thing to do as the nation tried to piece itself back together. The Twins were in Detroit on September 10th and they found themselves in second place and only six games out of first place. It would be the last year Tom Kelly would manage the team. It was also the first year the team would finish higher than fourth in the division since 1992. For eight days, the Twins waited to get on the field again and all of America waited for relief that might not appear. "The only two things that got my mind off of [9/11] were baseball and my son's football games"- New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani The nation needed to get back to some semblance of a normal life and for many that meant the return of America's Pastime. The Twins took the field on September 18th for the first time since the tragic events of September 11th. There was a pre-game ceremony in the Metrodome where two hot air balloons were inflated. One bore the image of the American Flag and the other was black and white to honor prisoners of war and others still missing in action. Donnele Burlingame, the cousin of the pilot of the hijacked plane that crashed into the Pentagon, held an eagle at home plate during the pre-game ceremony. Brad Radke was masterful for the Twins after the long layoff. In front of a small crowd of 10,878 fans, Radke took a no-hitter into the eighth inning and he had a perfect game through six innings. At the end of the night, he would finish with a 7.2 IP, 2 H, 2 ER. The Twins offense pounded out 18 hits including three hits from Corey Koskie and Luis Rivas. The team also got home runs from Koskie and Christian Guzman and three RBI from Torii Hunter. The final score was 8-3 and many of the players expressed their emotions after returning to the field: "I don't know how I did it. I don't think anybody's mind was on baseball."- Brad Radke "I was hoping he'd get [the no hitter]. It would've meant a lot with all that's been going on."- A.J. Pierzynski Radke was not perfect during this game but in a way that was a fitting tribute to the heroes of September 11th. There was much that still needed to be accomplished at Ground Zero and a perfect game from Radke might have taken some of the light off of the things that were left to accomplish. The focus of the nation was on recovery from the events of that day and rebuilding the crumbling parts of our lives. Baseball offered fans a glimmer of hope at the end of a dark tunnel. After being the team to watch in the first half of the season, the Twins struggled through some rough patches in the second half to finish in second place in the AL Central. On this night, it was not about playoff races, multi-million dollar contracts, or winning and losing. Baseball's return brought hope back to nation struggling to find it's identity. It brought groups of people together to celebrate something that is truly American and it allowed players and fans to pay homage to those that gave the ultimate sacrifice. View full article
  16. It seemed that all of America came to a standstill as the events unfolded in New York, Washington DC, and Pennsylvania. The professional sports world took a time-out as people realized that there were more important things in life than the sports that can consume people's lives. MLB stopped all of their games for over a week in the middle of the pennant races. At the time, it was the right thing to do as the nation tried to piece itself back together. The Twins were in Detroit on September 10th and they found themselves in second place and only six games out of first place. It would be the last year Tom Kelly would manage the team. It was also the first year the team would finish higher than fourth in the division since 1992. For eight days, the Twins waited to get on the field again and all of America waited for relief that might not appear. "The only two things that got my mind off of [9/11] were baseball and my son's football games"- New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani The nation needed to get back to some semblance of a normal life and for many that meant the return of America's Pastime. The Twins took the field on September 18th for the first time since the tragic events of September 11th. There was a pre-game ceremony in the Metrodome where two hot air balloons were inflated. One bore the image of the American Flag and the other was black and white to honor prisoners of war and others still missing in action. Donnele Burlingame, the cousin of the pilot of the hijacked plane that crashed into the Pentagon, held an eagle at home plate during the pre-game ceremony. Brad Radke was masterful for the Twins after the long layoff. In front of a small crowd of 10,878 fans, Radke took a no-hitter into the eighth inning and he had a perfect game through six innings. At the end of the night, he would finish with a 7.2 IP, 2 H, 2 ER. The Twins offense pounded out 18 hits including three hits from Corey Koskie and Luis Rivas. The team also got home runs from Koskie and Christian Guzman and three RBI from Torii Hunter. The final score was 8-3 and many of the players expressed their emotions after returning to the field: "I don't know how I did it. I don't think anybody's mind was on baseball."- Brad Radke "I was hoping he'd get [the no hitter]. It would've meant a lot with all that's been going on."- A.J. Pierzynski Radke was not perfect during this game but in a way that was a fitting tribute to the heroes of September 11th. There was much that still needed to be accomplished at Ground Zero and a perfect game from Radke might have taken some of the light off of the things that were left to accomplish. The focus of the nation was on recovery from the events of that day and rebuilding the crumbling parts of our lives. Baseball offered fans a glimmer of hope at the end of a dark tunnel. After being the team to watch in the first half of the season, the Twins struggled through some rough patches in the second half to finish in second place in the AL Central. On this night, it was not about playoff races, multi-million dollar contracts, or winning and losing. Baseball's return brought hope back to nation struggling to find it's identity. It brought groups of people together to celebrate something that is truly American and it allowed players and fans to pay homage to those that gave the ultimate sacrifice.
  17. As you might expect, this is largely a modern phenomenon, made much more doable by the explosion of home runs in the mid-1990s. Indeed, a qualifying starting pitcher had allowed more home runs than walks just three times in all of history prior to 1998 (Tommy Bond in 1874, Robin Roberts in 1956, Gary Nolan in 1976), then happened three times in 1998, and it's happened 13 more times since. A bit like a hitter's 50-homer season, it's still very rare, just a lot less rare than it once was. It's also, though, largely a Twins thing, and specifically a last-decade Twins thing. In the decade running from 2000 through 2009, pitchers accomplished the feat (if that's what it is) 10 times. The Twins had three different pitchers do it, a total of five times, all between 2002 and 2006. No other team has seen more than two pitcher seasons like this in its entire history; the Twins had five in five seasons. I don't know if that's a point of pride, necessarily, but it's a reminder that "pitch to contact" really used to be a thing, and a thing that worked. Former pitching coach Rick Anderson's whole philosophy was to pound the strike zone and limit walks. It was an against-the-grain tactic that required exactly the right kind of pitcher to work, and in the mid-00s, the Twins were able to develop or acquire a large number of exactly the right kind of pitcher. "Pitch to contact" got to be kind of a joke a few years ago, as it appeared to many of us that Anderson was trying to force a number of square pegs through that round hole -- particularly Francisco Liriano, whose many talents did not include pounding the strike zone or regularly inducing soft contact. It's also possible that strikeouts have become such a vital part of every pitcher's game in just the past few years that this would no longer be a viable strategy with any sort of pitching staff. In the middle of last decade, though, with the three guys below, and to a lesser degree the likes of Joe Mays, Kyle Lohse and Kenny Rogers, they had just the sorts of talents they needed to make it work, and that was a big part of their success--behind Johan Santana, of course, for whom I imagine the coaching strategy exclusively involved saying "you go do your thing, Johan" once every five days or so. Here's the full list of the 14 pitchers who have allowed more homers than walks, in a total of 19 seasons (along with each of the three guys below, David Wells and Jon Lieber also did it twice). Here are the three Twins pitchers who've done it, in order of their first time doing it: Rick Reed: we probably can't give Anderson too much credit (or blame) for this one, as Reed did it in 2002, Anderson's first year as pitching coach for the big club, and had also done it in 1998, with the Mets. Reed always had great control, but posted a league-best 1.2 BB/9 in 2002, walking 26 while allowing a career-high 32 homers. He managed a solid 3.78 ERA (118 ERA+) in 188 innings, thanks to that control and, probably, more than a bit of good luck. Brad Radke: probably my all-time favorite Twin (I wrote a chapter on him in this e-book), and deservedly the poster boy for the Twins' pitch-to-contact reputation. One of the several things that made Radke (nearly) great was that after his nightmarish first two seasons, in both of which he led the league in homers allowed (and was a great sport about it, appearing in poking fun at his issues with the long ball) he actually got to be pretty good at keeping the ball in the ballpark, so while he never walked many (finishing in the top 10 in fewest BB/9 all 11 times he pitched enough innings to qualify), he allowed homers to even fewer. He had upward ticks in 2003 (33 HR, to 28 BB), however, and 2005 (32 HR, 23 BB), and was probably consequently just a bit better than average in those seasons, in contrast to 2004, when he gave up just 23 homers against 26 walks and his 5.8 WAR made him, by that measure, the third-best pitcher and sixth-best player in the AL.Carlos Silva: you might remember Silva's 2005, in which he walked a ridiculous 9 batters in 188 innings, for an MLB record 0.43 walks per nine innings. Not giving up more home runs than walks under those circumstances would've been pretty astounding, but he gave up an average-ish 25, and posted a nice 3.44 ERA (130 ERA+) in 188 1/3 innings. He did it again in 2006, perfectly illustrating how this particular achievement is neither a good nor a bad thing: everything got worse from 2005 to 2006, and Silva gave up a league-high 38 home runs (interestingly, five of the 19 seasons on the list led the league in home runs allowed, but Silva is the only Twin to have done so) against a far more human 32 walks, and put up a 5.94 ERA (75 ERA+) in 180 1/3 innings. He'd have a nice bounceback-to-the-middle season in 2007, which convinced the Bill Bavasi-led Mariners to sign him to a bafflingly huge contract, under which he'd throw a total of 183 2/3 innings in two years, with a 6.81 ERA (62 ERA+). I don't know what any of this means, or that it means anything, but the fact that the Twins did something five times in five years that's only been done 19 times by anyone ever is really interesting to me. I don't think Anderson's pitch-to-contact approach is workable these days, with the league strikeouts per 9 innings hovering near 8 and only two pitchers in the MLB top 10 in WAR posting K/9s under 8 (and most of them well over a strikeout an inning). Strikeouts are to a large extent driving the league (and especially pitching) right now, they're a thing you just have to have to be successful (as a pitcher or as a team), which is something the team's current administration appears to understand at least a bit better than the last one did. But 2002-06 was a different time, where league-wide strikeouts were down about 1.5 from today, and the Twins appear to have found an undervalued set of skills in pitchers--a set that helped make them division champions four times in those five years. Mostly, though, I think handing out more homers than walks over the course of a full season is just a fun, quirky thing, and it'll be fun to see if Hughes finally joins their ranks this season.
  18. If Phil Hughes had managed to throw 6 2/3 more innings than he did in 2015, he would almost certainly have joined Bartolo Colon as just the 15th and 16th pitchers in baseball history on a strange -- not necessarily good or bad, but certainly strange -- list: pitchers who pitched enough innings to qualify for the ERA title while allowing more home runs than they did walks. For Hughes, that's more or less the kind of pitcher he's become since joining the Twins--world-class control, possibly the best in the league, coupled with a bit of a problem with the gopher ball. Hughes nearly did it in his excellent 2014--his historically low 16 walks matched exactly his homers-allowed total, in 209 2/3 innings--before leading the league in homers allowed with 29 despite throwing just 155 1/3 innings in 2015 (again with just 16 walks), and it's not at all hard to see his homers allowed topping the walks again this year. Colon was a bit more of a surprise; he's had great control for years, but his 25 homers allowed (against 24 walks) was his highest total since stealing a Cy Young Award from Johan in 2005.As you might expect, this is largely a modern phenomenon, made much more doable by the explosion of home runs in the mid-1990s. Indeed, a qualifying starting pitcher had allowed more home runs than walks just three times in all of history prior to 1998 (Tommy Bond in 1874, Robin Roberts in 1956, Gary Nolan in 1976), then happened three times in 1998, and it's happened 13 more times since. A bit like a hitter's 50-homer season, it's still very rare, just a lot less rare than it once was. It's also, though, largely a Twins thing, and specifically a last-decade Twins thing. In the decade running from 2000 through 2009, pitchers accomplished the feat (if that's what it is) 10 times. The Twins had three different pitchers do it, a total of five times, all between 2002 and 2006. No other team has seen more than two pitcher seasons like this in its entire history; the Twins had five in five seasons. I don't know if that's a point of pride, necessarily, but it's a reminder that "pitch to contact" really used to be a thing, and a thing that worked. Former pitching coach Rick Anderson's whole philosophy was to pound the strike zone and limit walks. It was an against-the-grain tactic that required exactly the right kind of pitcher to work, and in the mid-00s, the Twins were able to develop or acquire a large number of exactly the right kind of pitcher. "Pitch to contact" got to be kind of a joke a few years ago, as it appeared to many of us that Anderson was trying to force a number of square pegs through that round hole -- particularly Francisco Liriano, whose many talents did not include pounding the strike zone or regularly inducing soft contact. It's also possible that strikeouts have become such a vital part of every pitcher's game in just the past few years that this would no longer be a viable strategy with any sort of pitching staff. In the middle of last decade, though, with the three guys below, and to a lesser degree the likes of Joe Mays, Kyle Lohse and Kenny Rogers, they had just the sorts of talents they needed to make it work, and that was a big part of their success--behind Johan Santana, of course, for whom I imagine the coaching strategy exclusively involved saying "you go do your thing, Johan" once every five days or so. Here's the full list of the 14 pitchers who have allowed more homers than walks, in a total of 19 seasons (along with each of the three guys below, David Wells and Jon Lieber also did it twice). Here are the three Twins pitchers who've done it, in order of their first time doing it: Rick Reed: we probably can't give Anderson too much credit (or blame) for this one, as Reed did it in 2002, Anderson's first year as pitching coach for the big club, and had also done it in 1998, with the Mets. Reed always had great control, but posted a league-best 1.2 BB/9 in 2002, walking 26 while allowing a career-high 32 homers. He managed a solid 3.78 ERA (118 ERA+) in 188 innings, thanks to that control and, probably, more than a bit of good luck. Brad Radke: probably my all-time favorite Twin (I wrote a chapter on him in this e-book), and deservedly the poster boy for the Twins' pitch-to-contact reputation. One of the several things that made Radke (nearly) great was that after his nightmarish first two seasons, in both of which he led the league in homers allowed (and was a great sport about it, appearing in poking fun at his issues with the long ball) he actually got to be pretty good at keeping the ball in the ballpark, so while he never walked many (finishing in the top 10 in fewest BB/9 all 11 times he pitched enough innings to qualify), he allowed homers to even fewer. He had upward ticks in 2003 (33 HR, to 28 BB), however, and 2005 (32 HR, 23 BB), and was probably consequently just a bit better than average in those seasons, in contrast to 2004, when he gave up just 23 homers against 26 walks and his 5.8 WAR made him, by that measure, the third-best pitcher and sixth-best player in the AL. Carlos Silva: you might remember Silva's 2005, in which he walked a ridiculous 9 batters in 188 innings, for an MLB record 0.43 walks per nine innings. Not giving up more home runs than walks under those circumstances would've been pretty astounding, but he gave up an average-ish 25, and posted a nice 3.44 ERA (130 ERA+) in 188 1/3 innings. He did it again in 2006, perfectly illustrating how this particular achievement is neither a good nor a bad thing: everything got worse from 2005 to 2006, and Silva gave up a league-high 38 home runs (interestingly, five of the 19 seasons on the list led the league in home runs allowed, but Silva is the only Twin to have done so) against a far more human 32 walks, and put up a 5.94 ERA (75 ERA+) in 180 1/3 innings. He'd have a nice bounceback-to-the-middle season in 2007, which convinced the Bill Bavasi-led Mariners to sign him to a bafflingly huge contract, under which he'd throw a total of 183 2/3 innings in two years, with a 6.81 ERA (62 ERA+). I don't know what any of this means, or that it means anything, but the fact that the Twins did something five times in five years that's only been done 19 times by anyone ever is really interesting to me. I don't think Anderson's pitch-to-contact approach is workable these days, with the league strikeouts per 9 innings hovering near 8 and only two pitchers in the MLB top 10 in WAR posting K/9s under 8 (and most of them well over a strikeout an inning). Strikeouts are to a large extent driving the league (and especially pitching) right now, they're a thing you just have to have to be successful (as a pitcher or as a team), which is something the team's current administration appears to understand at least a bit better than the last one did. But 2002-06 was a different time, where league-wide strikeouts were down about 1.5 from today, and the Twins appear to have found an undervalued set of skills in pitchers--a set that helped make them division champions four times in those five years. Mostly, though, I think handing out more homers than walks over the course of a full season is just a fun, quirky thing, and it'll be fun to see if Hughes finally joins their ranks this season. Click here to view the article
  19. Who will be the next Brian Dozier? Bert Blyleven? Justin Morneau? LaTroy Hawkins or Brad Radke? 2nd Round 1981 – Frank Viola – LHP – St. John’s University – WAR 47.4 Viola was up with the Twins by 1982 and went on to win 176 games in his long career. He was the World Series MVP in 1987 for the Twins. He also won the 1988 American League Cy Young. Honorable Mention: Butch Wynegar (1974 - WAR 26.3), Scott Baker (2003), Tim Teufel (1980), Jesse Crain (2002), Jacque Jones (1996). Bill Swift (1983), Del Unser (1965), Allan Anderson (1982). Current: Ryan Eades (2013), Mason Melotakis (2012), JT Chargois (2012), Madison Boer (2011), Niko Goodrum (2010). Last year: Nick Burdi 3rd Round 1969 – Bert Blyleven – RHP – High School in California – WAR 95.3 Blyleven was drafted by the Twins and debuted as a 19-year-old in 1970. He went on to win 287 games with a 3.31 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP. After years of falling short, Blyleven went into the Baseball Hall of Fame. That is going to make you an organization’s top selection for a round most times. Honorable Mention: Steve Garvey (1966-Did Not Sign), Justin Morneau (1999), AJ Pierzynski (1994), Denny Neagle (1989), John Castino (1976) Current: Stuart Turner (2013), Adam Brett Walker (2012), Corey Williams (2011), Pat Dean (2010), Brian Duensing (2005) Last Year: Michael Cederoth 4th Round 1965 – Graig Nettles – 3B – San Diego State University – WAR 68.0 Of his 68 WAR, just one WAR came with the Twins. Following the 1969 season, he was traded with Dean Chance and others to Cleveland for Luis Tiant. He went on to become one of the best third baseman of his era. Honorable Mention: Scott Erickson (1989) Current: Danny Ortiz (2008), Eddie Rosario (2010), Matt Summers (2011), Zack Jones (2012), Stephen Gonsalves (2013) Last Year: Sam Clay 5th Round 1967 – Dave Goltz – RHP – Rothsay (MN) High School – WAR – 23.2 A local product, Dave Goltz signed and spent five years in the minor leagues before debuting in 1972. He was with the Twins through the 1979 before going to California to play for the Dodgers and then the Angels. He had double-digit wins each season from 1974 through 1979 including a 20-win season in 1977. Honorable Mention: Doug Mientkiewicz (1995) Current: Aaron Slegers (2013), Tyler Duffey (2012) Last Year: Jake Reed 6th Round 2002 – Pat Neshek – RHP – Butler University – WAR 7.3 The Minnesota native debuted with his hometown team in 2006 and was in the final vote for an All-Star pick in 2007, though he lost out. He was a dominant force in the bullpen until he had some elbow problems and eventually missed time due to Tommy John surgery. Upon his return, the Twins let him go and he spent time with San Diego before doing well in Oakland and then becoming an All-Star in 2014 with the Cardinals. He turned that into a big contract with the Astros this year. Honorable Mention: Darrell Jackson (1973) Current: BJ Hermsen (2008), Chris Herrmann (2009), Logan Darnell (2010), Dereck Rodriguez (2011), Brain Navarreto (2013) Last Year: John Curtiss 7th Round 1991 – LaTroy Hawkins – RHP – High School in Gary, Indiana – WAR 17.2 “The Hawk” came up as a starter way back when and struggled. Then he became the closer. And he struggled. Then Rick Anderson moved him to the set up man job and his career took off. In fact, at age 42, he is still playing. Only 13 pitchers in big league history have pitched in more games than Hawkins. There is a chance that he could end the year (and his career) in the Top 10 all-time. Honorable Mention: Mark Guthrie (1987) Current: Steven Gruver (2011), Jorge Fernandez (2012), Brian Gilbert (2013), Last Year: Andro Cutura 8th Round 1991 – Brad Radke – RHP – High School in Tampa, FL – WAR 45.5 One round after drafting Hawkins, the Twins selected Radke out of high school. He flew through the Twins minor league system and debuted as a 22-year-old in 1995. He was “Real-As-Radke” early in his career, but he got into the national spotlight in 1997 when he won 20 games. He was a stalwart in the Twins rotation from 1995 through 2006 and won 148 major league games. Following his career, he was named to the Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame. Honorable Mention: Rick Burleson (1969), Brian Dozier (2009), Adam Lind (2002) Current: Jason Wheeler (2011) Last Year: Keaton Steele 9th Round 1981 – Steve Lombardozzi – SS – University of Florida – WAR 4.4 “Lombo” was a surprise contributor as the second baseman for the Twins during their World Series championship in 1987. He didn’t hit for average, but he and Greg Gagne combined to play very good defense up the middle. Before the 1989 season, he was traded to Houston but only played another 19 games before retiring. His son has spent a lot of time in the big leagues the last three years. Honorable Mention: Darrell Jackson (1977), Tony Fossas (1978) Current: Mitch Garver (2013) Last Year: Max Murphy 10th Round 1966 – Steve Braun – SS – High School in New Jersey – WAR 17.6 Braun spent six seasons (1971-1976) with the Twins, playing in at least 115 games each year. He played mostly third base, though he spent time in the outfield as well. He played for four other organizations through the 1985 season, though he was primarily a part-time player and pinch hitter much of the remainder of his career. Honorable Mention: Jeff Reboulet (1986), Marty Cordova (1989) Current: Brett Lee (2011), DJ Baxendale (2012), CK Irby (2013) Last Year: Randy LeBlanc So, as you can see, there aren’t a ton of success stories as the rounds go on, but you just never know which players are going to take off and become valuable regulars in the big leagues. Today, the Twins will draft their third round pick through their 10th round picks. Who will be the next Bert Blyleven, Frank Viola or Brad Radke? Who will be the next Brian Dozier or Craig Nettles?
  20. On day two, the Minnesota Twins will select eight more players in the MLB Draft. Rounds 3 through 10 will take place on Tuesday afternoon. We will detail each of those picks here at Twins Daily. The first-round picks get a lot of the publicity, but teams can find great talents in the later rounds as well. Today, I’ll take a look at the best Twins picks from rounds two through ten in their draft history.Who will be the next Brian Dozier? Bert Blyleven? Justin Morneau? LaTroy Hawkins or Brad Radke? 2nd Round 1981 – Frank Viola – LHP – St. John’s University – WAR 47.4 Viola was up with the Twins by 1982 and went on to win 176 games in his long career. He was the World Series MVP in 1987 for the Twins. He also won the 1988 American League Cy Young. Honorable Mention: Butch Wynegar (1974 - WAR 26.3), Scott Baker (2003), Tim Teufel (1980), Jesse Crain (2002), Jacque Jones (1996). Bill Swift (1983), Del Unser (1965), Allan Anderson (1982). Current: Ryan Eades (2013), Mason Melotakis (2012), JT Chargois (2012), Madison Boer (2011), Niko Goodrum (2010). Last year: Nick Burdi 3rd Round 1969 – Bert Blyleven – RHP – High School in California – WAR 95.3 Blyleven was drafted by the Twins and debuted as a 19-year-old in 1970. He went on to win 287 games with a 3.31 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP. After years of falling short, Blyleven went into the Baseball Hall of Fame. That is going to make you an organization’s top selection for a round most times. Honorable Mention: Steve Garvey (1966-Did Not Sign), Justin Morneau (1999), AJ Pierzynski (1994), Denny Neagle (1989), John Castino (1976) Current: Stuart Turner (2013), Adam Brett Walker (2012), Corey Williams (2011), Pat Dean (2010), Brian Duensing (2005) Last Year: Michael Cederoth 4th Round 1965 – Graig Nettles – 3B – San Diego State University – WAR 68.0 Of his 68 WAR, just one WAR came with the Twins. Following the 1969 season, he was traded with Dean Chance and others to Cleveland for Luis Tiant. He went on to become one of the best third baseman of his era. Honorable Mention: Scott Erickson (1989) Current: Danny Ortiz (2008), Eddie Rosario (2010), Matt Summers (2011), Zack Jones (2012), Stephen Gonsalves (2013) Last Year: Sam Clay 5th Round 1967 – Dave Goltz – RHP – Rothsay (MN) High School – WAR – 23.2 A local product, Dave Goltz signed and spent five years in the minor leagues before debuting in 1972. He was with the Twins through the 1979 before going to California to play for the Dodgers and then the Angels. He had double-digit wins each season from 1974 through 1979 including a 20-win season in 1977. Honorable Mention: Doug Mientkiewicz (1995) Current: Aaron Slegers (2013), Tyler Duffey (2012) Last Year: Jake Reed 6th Round 2002 – Pat Neshek – RHP – Butler University – WAR 7.3 The Minnesota native debuted with his hometown team in 2006 and was in the final vote for an All-Star pick in 2007, though he lost out. He was a dominant force in the bullpen until he had some elbow problems and eventually missed time due to Tommy John surgery. Upon his return, the Twins let him go and he spent time with San Diego before doing well in Oakland and then becoming an All-Star in 2014 with the Cardinals. He turned that into a big contract with the Astros this year. Honorable Mention: Darrell Jackson (1973) Current: BJ Hermsen (2008), Chris Herrmann (2009), Logan Darnell (2010), Dereck Rodriguez (2011), Brain Navarreto (2013) Last Year: John Curtiss 7th Round 1991 – LaTroy Hawkins – RHP – High School in Gary, Indiana – WAR 17.2 “The Hawk” came up as a starter way back when and struggled. Then he became the closer. And he struggled. Then Rick Anderson moved him to the set up man job and his career took off. In fact, at age 42, he is still playing. Only 13 pitchers in big league history have pitched in more games than Hawkins. There is a chance that he could end the year (and his career) in the Top 10 all-time. Honorable Mention: Mark Guthrie (1987) Current: Steven Gruver (2011), Jorge Fernandez (2012), Brian Gilbert (2013), Last Year: Andro Cutura 8th Round 1991 – Brad Radke – RHP – High School in Tampa, FL – WAR 45.5 One round after drafting Hawkins, the Twins selected Radke out of high school. He flew through the Twins minor league system and debuted as a 22-year-old in 1995. He was “Real-As-Radke” early in his career, but he got into the national spotlight in 1997 when he won 20 games. He was a stalwart in the Twins rotation from 1995 through 2006 and won 148 major league games. Following his career, he was named to the Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame. Honorable Mention: Rick Burleson (1969), Brian Dozier (2009), Adam Lind (2002) Current: Jason Wheeler (2011) Last Year: Keaton Steele 9th Round 1981 – Steve Lombardozzi – SS – University of Florida – WAR 4.4 “Lombo” was a surprise contributor as the second baseman for the Twins during their World Series championship in 1987. He didn’t hit for average, but he and Greg Gagne combined to play very good defense up the middle. Before the 1989 season, he was traded to Houston but only played another 19 games before retiring. His son has spent a lot of time in the big leagues the last three years. Honorable Mention: Darrell Jackson (1977), Tony Fossas (1978) Current: Mitch Garver (2013) Last Year: Max Murphy 10th Round 1966 – Steve Braun – SS – High School in New Jersey – WAR 17.6 Braun spent six seasons (1971-1976) with the Twins, playing in at least 115 games each year. He played mostly third base, though he spent time in the outfield as well. He played for four other organizations through the 1985 season, though he was primarily a part-time player and pinch hitter much of the remainder of his career. Honorable Mention: Jeff Reboulet (1986), Marty Cordova (1989) Current: Brett Lee (2011), DJ Baxendale (2012), CK Irby (2013) Last Year: Randy LeBlanc So, as you can see, there aren’t a ton of success stories as the rounds go on, but you just never know which players are going to take off and become valuable regulars in the big leagues. Today, the Twins will draft their third round pick through their 10th round picks. Who will be the next Bert Blyleven, Frank Viola or Brad Radke? Who will be the next Brian Dozier or Craig Nettles? Click here to view the article
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