With some maneuvering over the past couple of weeks, the Twins have a completely revamped rotation. Let’s check in with the starting 5.
- Ervin Santana – Santana has pitched much better than I ever expected, and with the rest of the team backing up his performances, has established himself as the ace of the staff, and as a key piece to the team. Initially, it looked for all the world like Santana would be a good candidate to be traded at the deadline, but now, there is now way Santana won’t finish out his contract with the Twins.
- Jose Berrios – After a rough first campaign, the young Puerto Rican has had a breakout year. His ERA in the 3s doesn’t quite reflect how dominant he seems early in his outings. He has a 9-3 record, and has had better numbers than Santana since he came up.
- Jaime Garcia – The most recently acquired Twin, Garcia has never pitched for an American League squad, so for one thing, it stands to reason that he will see a dip in his numbers, as most pitchers do if they switch to the AL, but Garcia is also negatively affected by his luck stats. A move to the Twins and that defense might mitigate the drop, rendering Garcia an effective addition.
- Bartolo Colon – Colon has made two starts, collapsing in the 5th inning both times, but making a couple of effective passes through the first couple of trips through the lineup.
- Adalbeto Mejia – Would you be surprised to hear that Mejia has a 4.10 ERA so far this season, the third best mark among starters? It might not seem quite that good, because he also walks 4 batters per 9, and has an astronomical pitch count every time he takes the mound. He is the right choice to start, if the question is whether it should be him or Kyle Gibson, but that doesn’t mean that Mejia has been exceptional.
The problem with the Twins has been the back of their rotation. After Santana and Berrios, the rotation was not trustworthy, which meant the bullpen was overworked, and even when the Twins had leads late in games, relievers have been largely unreliable thanks to fatigue. Adding Garcia, who has averaged 6 1/3 per start will help with that issue. Colon hasn’t proven that he can work deep into games, and while Mejia has managed to be effective, he can’t see the 6th inning of most games. This ineffectiveness has led to the slow games and far to many pitcher changes mid inning, which have made games tough to watch, especially in the last week or so.
Given how Colon’s season has gone, I wouldn’t be surprised if he is replaced by Kyle Gibson, who seems to have turned some sort of corner in the past few weeks. Expect that change within a few starts. Unless there is a major surprise in the next couple of days, that is likely to be the only change (barring injury) in the rotation. There might be a reliever added, but the biggest difference maker will be a rotation that can, as a unit, work deeper into games. The best chance at that will be a Mejia more in control, and a Garcia that is as reliable as hoped.