All-Decade Team: Pitchers

All-Decade.pngThe infielders and outfielders are wrapped up, and now is the final group, the pitchers. Over the past ten years there have been many pitchers who have gone through the bullpen and rotation, but there were definitely a few who stuck out as potential pitchers of the decade for the Minnesota Twins.
In this final section of the All-Decade Team, the best three starters, the best bullpen arm, and the best closer of the last ten years is unveiled. 
Starters
Who pitched: Brad Radke, Joe Mays, Mark Redman, Eric Milton, Sean Bergman, Kyle Lohse, Rick Reed, Johan Santana, Kenny Rogers, Carlos Silva, Francisco Liriano, Boof Bonser, Scott Baker, Matt Garza, Kevin Slowey, Nick Blackburn, Glen Perkins, Ramon Ortiz, Livan Hernandez, Carl Pavano
Seth
Stohs
John
Bonnes
Nick
Nelson
Michael
Rand
Alex
Starter
#1
Johan
Santana
Johan
Santana
Johan
Santana
Johan
Santana
Johan
Santana

Johan Santana is an obvious unanimous selection as one of the three best starters of the decade. Santana pitched for the Twins in eight seasons during the decade, and started at least 14 games in six of them.

In his time with the Twins, Santana posted a record of 93-44 to go along with a 3.22 ERA and a total of 1,381 strikeouts. Santana appeared on five Cy Young ballots in his tenure with the Twins, winning the award in 2004 and 2006. The lefty made three All-Star Games, won the pitcher’s Triple Crown in 2006, won the Warren Spahn award twice, and won the Gold Glove award in 2007.

Seth
Stohs
John
Bonnes
Nick
Nelson
Michael
Rand
Alex
Starter
#2
Brad
Radke
Brad
Radke
Brad
Radke
Brad
Radke
Brad
Radke

Brad Radke was also a unanimous selection after pitching for the Minnesota Twins for his entire career. Radke began with the team in Minneapolis in 1995, and played for the Twins through 2006.
In his tenure with the Twins, Radke went 148-139 with a 4.22 ERA and 1,467 strikeouts. Radke pitched for the team for seven seasons during the decade, and pitched in the postseason during four of those years. The decade ended on a strong note for the retiree as the team inducted him into their Hall of Fame during the 2009 season.

Seth
Stohs
John
Bonnes
Nick
Nelson
Michael
Rand
Alex
Starter
#3
Scott
Baker
Scott
Baker
Francisco
Liriano
Scott
Baker
Scott
Baker

Scott Baker began his career with the Minnesota Twins during the 2005 season, and pitched for five seasons during the decade.
In the past five seasons, Baker has posted a 43-33 record to go along with a 4.27 ERA and 499 strikeouts. His greatest feat of the decade was his near no-hitter against the Kansas City Royals in 2007 when he came two outs from completing the feat.
BullpenWho pitched: Juan Rincon, Eddie Guardado, LaTroy Hawkins, Pat Neshek, Joe Nathan, Matt Guerrier, Jesse Crain, J.C. Romero, Grant Balfour, Jose Mijares, Jon Rauch, Tony Fiore, J.D. Durbin, Willie Eyre, Dennys Reyes, Craig Breslow, Boof Bonser

Seth
Stohs
John
Bonnes
Nick
Nelson
Michael
Rand
Alex
Reliever
Jesse
Crain
LaTroy
Hawkins
LaTroy
Hawkins
Juan
Rincon
Jesse
Crain

No clear winner emerged from the reliever section as both Jesse Crain and LaTroy Hawkins received two votes apiece. Hawkins pitched for the Twins for nine seasons, and four of them came during the decade. Meanwhile, Crain has pitched for the Twins for six seasons, all coming in the past 10 years. 
Hawkins’ best seasons were during the decade as he posted ERAs of 3.39, 5.96, 2.13, and 1.86. Hawkins hadn’t had an ERA below 5.25 in the previous five seasons with the team. In his final seasons with the organization, Hawkins saved a total of 44 games before leaving for Chicago. 
Crain began his career in 2004, and has a combined ERA of 3.50 with the Twins. In his first two seasons, Crain posted ERAs of 2.00 and 2.71. Those were followed by ERAs of 3.52, 5.51 and 4.70. Crain has pitched in 314 innings for the Twins and has two total saves. 

Seth
Stohs
John
Bonnes
Nick
Nelson
Michael
Rand
Alex
Closer
Joe
Nathan
Joe
Nathan
Joe
Nathan
Joe
Nathan
Joe
Nathan

Joe Nathan was the obvious selection for the closer of the decade. After coming to Minnesota from the San Francisco Giants in 2004, Nathan was converted to a closer and his career officially took off. He has spent six seasons with the Twins, and has become a perennial All-Star closer. 
In six seasons with the Twins, Nathan has posted a 1.82 ERA in 412 appearances. The closer has 246 saves, just eight shy of the team record. In addition, Nathan has struck out 518 hitters in his tenure with the organization. Nathan has been selected to the All-Star Game four times, and holds the Minnesota Twins single season saves record with 47.

2 Comments

The first two pitchers were easy. I’d probably pick Baker for the third, too, although there are a couple of guys that are worth mentioning (Liriano being one). I’m not sure whom I’d pick as the reliever, although Crain, Hawkins, and Matt Guerrier would come across my mind first.

(Baker’s near-perfect/no-hitter was in ’07.)

Thanks for pointing out Baker’s near perfect game. I guess it doesn’t feel like it was that long ago. I’ll make the correction.

The third pitcher was somewhat difficult. Liriano had a great season in 2006, and with no Tommy John surgery, he might have been the clear favorite.

Also, I think I overlooked Guerrier a bit for some reason. He pitched in 6 seasons, and posted a 3.41 ERA in 401 innings.

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