The Minnesota Twins failed to make the playoffs in 2022, despite spending much of it atop the AL Central. Minnesota’s rotation did have some bright spots last year, but also saw rough campaigns from the likes of Dylan Bundy and Chris Archer. Even though the full collection of Twins starters won’t be fully healthy this season, the Twins are set to roll out a formidable group of five starting pitchers. Here’s a look at how it could shake out in 2023.
A Look at the Twins Rotation Options
- RHP Joe Ryan (13-8, 3.55 ERA, 9.2 K/9 in 2022)
- RHP Pablo López (10-10, 3.75 ERA, 8.7 K/9)
- RHP Sonny Gray (8.5, 3.08, 8.8 K/9)
- RHP Tyler Mahle (6-8, 4.40 ERA, 9.4 K/9)
- RHP Kenta Maeda (Did not pitch in 2022)
We start off with RHP Joe Ryan, who led all Twins pitchers in innings pitched (147) last season. Ryan, acquired by the Twins from Tampa for Nelson Cruz in 2021, proved to be Minnesota’s most reliable arm last season. While the 26-year-old doesn’t boast elite velocity on his fastball, it proved to be a very difficult pitch to square up last year thanks to good extension in command. And when needed, the Twins pitcher can change the pace with a solid change and a good slider.
Ryan will be joined by new Twins pitcher Pablo López, acquired from the Marlins in January for Luis Arraez. We documented earlier in the year how good López has been over the past three seasons, thanks to strong control and one of the league’s best changeups.
33-year-old Sonny Gray pitched well in his first season in Minnesota when on the mound. Gray went 8-5 with a 3.08 ERA over 119.2 innings last season. The righty did have multiple stints on the IL last year, something to watch heading into the 2023 campaign.
Tyler Mahle is set to be a free agent after the 2023 campaign, which will be his first full one in Minnesota. Mahle proved to be a bright spot for the Reds last season, before being dealt to the Twins at the Trade Deadline. However, the 28-year-old didn’t make much of an impact with the Twins. Mahle made just four starts over the final two months, thanks to shoulder problems.
Then, there’s Kenta Maeda. The former Dodger dominated in his first season in Minnesota in 2020, a season that saw Maeda go 6-1 with a 2.70 ERA and 80 strikeouts over 66.2 innings. The veteran righty 2021’s season didn’t go as planned, and missed all of 2022 due to UCL reconstruction surgery. Twins fans became well accustomed to what the 34-year-old can do when firing on all cylinders. If Maeda can return to form, the righty can be a pivotal piece for the Twins in 2023.
This should be the five starters entering 2023, provided no injuries occur between now and Opening Day, Should any of those five sustain an injury, it could open up the door for either Bailey Ober or Josh Winder — both of whom saw time in the Twins rotation in 2022 — to step in to start the year. Ober would be the most logical option, as the 27-year-old posted a solid 3.21 ERA over 56 innings.