There have been plenty of great players in the history of the Twins franchise and there have also been plenty of duds. In my on-going offseason series, I have been taking a look at some of the worst players to ever wear a Twins uniform. In previous posts, the series covered Butch Huskey and Terry Felton.
Next on the list of all-time worst, Mr. Scott Klingenbeck...
The Baltimore Orioles drafted Scott Klingenbeck in the fifth round of the 1992 amateur draft. His college experience helped him travel quickly through their farm system. He pitched well in the low minor leagues and made his debut during the 1994 season, throwing seven innings and allowing three earned runs to earn the victory.
Klingenbeck had a strong start the next year for the Orioles Triple-A team. He posted a 2.72 ERA and a 3-1 record. This left the club little choice but to call him up during the middle months of the season. There were a few bumps in the road on his return to the big leagues. His ERA jumped to 4.88 and he posted a 1.596 WHIP over five starts. This would only be the beginning of the bad.
The Twins traded for Klingenbeck at the beginning of July in the deal that sent Scott Erickson to the Orioles. Erickson hadn't been able to regain his form from the first couple of years in the big leagues. He was only 27 years old, but the Twins wanted to get some younger prospects for him. Klingenbeck's minor league track record looked good, things quickly went south in Minnesota.
He would make 18 appearances with the Twins in 1995 including four starts for the club. His ERA was a hefty 8.57 with an ugly 1.924 WHIP. He walked 24 batters, hit four batters, and had five wild pitches over 48.1 innings. It was beginning to look like the Twins had given up a king’s ransom to acquire a wild pitcher.
For the start of the 1996 season, the Twins sent Klingenbeck back to the minor leagues to try and find himself. He improved by posting a 3.11 ERA and a 9-3 record over 22 starts. By the middle of the season, the Twins needed some help at the big league level and Klingenbeck was chosen. He struggled again, posting a 7.85 ERA and a 1.814 WHIP. This would be his last trip to the big leagues with the Twins.
At the start of the next season, Klingenbeck was sent back to Triple-A. The Twins would dumped on Cincinnati, his hometown team, as part of a conditional deal. He had one more brief taste of the majors in 1998 and looked a little better with an ERA close to 6.00 and a 1.456 WHIP. The next year was his last in professional baseball before retiring in 1999.
Klingenbeck's numbers in the minor leagues made it seem that he would be able to transition into at least a back of the rotation starter. That was one of the reasons the Twins traded for him, but this would never happen. His time in the Twins organization translated to a 1-3 record, an 8.30 ERA, and a 1.883 WHIP. He also put together a -1.7 WAR in his Twins tenure.
Following his professional baseball career, Klingenbeck opened a sports bar and grill in Cincinnati. That venue is no longer open but it sounds like it was a decent place to eat.
In the end, Klingenbeck will be more remembered as the man the Twins got back for Scott Erickson because his time in a Twins uniform was very unmemorable...
What other players should be featured in this series? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.