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Bill

Starting Pitching: 2015-16 Twins and Recent AL Pennant Winners

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What do the Twins need to win the pennant in 2015 or 2016?

Well, several things. But the biggest deficiency of the current 2013 Twins team is starting pitching. The starters' ERA of 5.35 ranks last in the AL and last in the majors. The Twins have just 2 of the 45 pitchers in the AL with enough innings to qualify for the ERA leader board. One of the two is Scott Diamond, who is ranked 45th among the 45 with an ERA of 5.52 (and who just snuck in with 88 innings over the Twins' 87 games as of today). The other is Kevin Correia, who is ranked 29th with an ERA of 4.19. The overall ERA among AL starters is 4.30.

2013. AL Overall Starting Pitcher ERA: 4.30
Twins Starter ERA: 5.35, AL rank: 15
Qualified Starters (Twins have 2 of 45 current AL ERA qualifiers): Correia 4.19 (AL ERA rank 29), Diamond 5.52 (45)

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What sort of starting pitching do AL pennant winners have? To answer this question, I looked at all the AL pennant winners going back to 2001. On average, AL champs' starters ranked about 3rd (average rank of 3.16) in the AL in ERA over the 12 years of 2001-12, and on average they had 3.67 starters that were good (and healthy) enough to pitch enough innings to qualify for the AL ERA leaderboard. An average of 3.25 of those starters had ERAs better than the league average for starters. The pennant winners usually had at least one starter in the AL top 10 in ERA. The details for 2001 through 2012 are below.

What can we project for Twins starters in 2015/16?

An optimistic scenario is that two of Meyer, May, Diamond, Hendriks, Gibson, Worley, and Berrios can post ERAs better than league average as starters. A very optimistic scenario is that three will. A pessimistic scenario is that none will. If things turn out badly for all of Meyer, May, Diamond, Hendriks, Gibson, Worley, and Berrios in 2015/16 then I think there is really little that can be done for the Twins in those years and we can start thinking about 2017 or later. So I am not even going to worry about the pessimistic scenario. If we are somewhat optimistic and suppose that 2 of those 7 are successful starters in 2015/16 (better than league average ERA) then I think we still need two more high quality starters that are not with the organization now. One of those two should be a guy who can produce a top ten ERA.

Will the Twins fork over the money and/or make the trades to do it?

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2012. AL Overall Starting Pitcher ERA: 4.39
AL Champ: Detroit, Starter ERA: 3.76, AL rank: 2
Qualified Starters (Detroit had 3 of 36 AL ERA qualifiers): Verlander 2.64 (AL ERA rank 2), Scherzer 3.74 (14), Porcello 4.59 (26)

2011. AL Overall Starting Pitcher ERA: 4.23
AL Champ: Texas, Starter ERA: 3.65, AL rank: 3
Qualified Starters (5 of 42): Wilson 2.94 (7), Harrison 3.39 (15), Ogando 3.51 (19), Holland 3.95 (24), Lewis 4.40 (33)

2010. AL Overall Starting Pitcher ERA: 4.27
AL Champ: Texas, Starter ERA: 4.23, AL rank: 7
Qualified Starters (3 of 43): Lee 3.18 (5), Wilson 3.35 (10), Lewis 3.72 (16),

2009. AL Overall Starting Pitcher ERA: 4.63
AL Champ: New York, Starter ERA: 4.48, AL rank: 5
Qualified Starters (3 of 30): Sabathia 3.37 (4), Burnett 4.04 (19), Pettitte 4.16 (24)

2008. AL Overall Starting Pitcher ERA: 4.50
AL Champ: Tampa Bay, Starter ERA: 3.95, AL rank: 2
Qualified Starters (4 of 40): Shields 3.56 (12), Garza 3.70 (15), Sonnanstine 4.38 (28), Jackson 4.42 (29)

2007. AL Overall Starting Pitcher ERA: 4.63
AL Champ: Boston, Starter ERA: 4.21, AL rank: 2
Qualified Starters (3 of 37): Beckett 3.27 (6), Matsuzaka 4.40 (28), Wakefield 4.76 (32)

2006. AL Overall Starting Pitcher ERA: 4.75
AL Champ: Detroit, Starter ERA: 4.00, AL rank: 1
Qualified Starters (4 of 39): Verlander 3.63 (7), Rogers 3.84 (11), Robertson 3.84 (12), Bonderman 4.08 (14)

2005. AL Overall Starting Pitcher ERA: 4.56
AL Champ: Chicago, Starter ERA: 3.75, AL rank: 2
Qualified Starters (4 of 44): Buehrle 3.12 (3), Garland 3.50 (9), Contreras 3.61 (11), Garcia 3.87 (21)

2004. AL Overall Starting Pitcher ERA: 4.85
AL Champ: Boston, Starter ERA: 4.31, AL rank: 3
Qualified Starters (5 of 43): Schilling 3.26 (2), Martinez 3.90 (9), Arroyo 4.03 (12), Wakefield 4.87 (27), Lowe 5.42 (38)

2003. AL Overall Starting Pitcher ERA: 4.70
AL Champ: New York, Starter ERA: 4.02, AL rank: 3
Qualified Starters (4 of 39): Mussina 3.40 (8), Clemens 3.91 (15), Pettitte 4.02 (16), Wells 4.14 (18)

2002. AL Overall Starting Pitcher ERA: 4.59
AL Champ: Anaheim, Starter ERA: 4.00, AL rank: 4
Qualified Starters (3 of 37): Washburn 3.15 (7), Ortiz 3.77 (15), Appier 3.92 (19)

2001. AL Overall Starting Pitcher ERA: 4.68
AL Champ: New York, Starter ERA: 4.34, AL rank: 4
Qualified Starters (3 of 34): Mussina 3.15 (2), Clemens 3.15 (9), Pettitte 3.99 (15)

Updated 07-10-2013 at 01:53 PM by Bill

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Comments

  1. howieramone's Avatar
    I agree with you to the point that we do not know the names of 2 of our 2015 starters. Ryan has been here 18 months, which IMHO is a very short time to completely retool a starting pitching staff. My hope is to get one for Perkins, no idea where we find the other. I won't look past 2015.
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