The Twins have a bunch of talent waiting in the wings, ready to take outfield spots in the eventuality that Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, Eddie Rosario or Jake Cave succumb to an injury. There is pitching that is major league ready, but it doesn’t have the major league ready top end that the offense has.
As you might suspect, this means that befitting Twins history, injuries have beset the pitching staff, both afflicting new members of the organization. The first was a minor injury to Addison Reed (who, as a reminder, signed a minor league deal with the team in April) which given his last round with the team, is a surprisingly tough blow. The Twins replaced him with Cody Stashak, which means the drop off won’t be as significant as it could have been.
The more significant problem was with the starting rotation, where the offseason’s crown jewel went down with shoulder tendinitis. Kenta Maeda will miss most of the remainder of the season, if not the entirety of it. Earlier this month, the Twins made a confusing decision to send Randy Dobnak to Rochester, despite a strong start, but now both he and Mike Pineda, who made a strong first start of the year, are both in the rotation. Matt Wisler, who took Dobnak’s spot earlier, will rightfully stay in Minnesota’s bullpen.
Maeda wasn’t the ace that the Twins were hoping for to start the season In fact, the best starter of the season was a different newcomer, Homer Bailey, who has a sub 2.00 ERA. Dobnak, until he got sent down, was the second best starter and Michael Pineda has looked good as well. One has to believe that Jose Berrios and Jake Odorizzi have better days ahead.
It is never good to lose a starting pitcher, especially one that you gave up such a large premium for. The Twins are particularly sensitive to pitching depth after such a difficult recent history of substandard pitchers, but the way things have played out so far this year, they are uniquely positioned to absorb this blow. Hopefully there aren’t many more.