The Franchise 1997 (Pitchers)

SP Brad Radke 4.6 WAR
On June 2, Radke lost a decision to the Texas Rangers when he allowed 4 runs on 13 hits in 6 innings of work. The loss dropped his record to 4-5 on the season with an ERA of 5.00. He did not lose again for more than two months. During that time, he started 12 game, and won all 12 of them. During that time, opposing hitters hit .210/.254/.299/.553 off of him. He allowed 70 hits and just 24 runs in 91.1 innings pitched. It was as dominant of a stretch as any pitcher had had in the major leagues, and it made Brad Radke the focus of the baseball world for much of the summer, with his name being mentioned alongside Roger Clemens who had a similar streak earlier in the season. Radke probably had a couple of seasons in which he pitched better overall, but 1997 is the season he is still recognized for because of the streak and the magical 20-win milestone.

SP Bob Tewksbury 3.2 WAR
36-year-old Bob Tewksbury signed with the Twins as a free agent prior to the 1997 season. By that time, he had played for five different major league teams over the course of 12 seasons, but he was best known for his time with the Cardinals from 1989-1994. His underlying numbers were solid, but an 8-13 record meant the season was mostly seen as mediocre. Consider: Tewksbury FIP: 3.51; Radke FIP: 3.81.

SP Rich Robertson -0.4 WAR
Robertson pitched worse than he did in his 7-17 season of 1996. He joined Anaheim as a free agent but pitched only 5.1 innings in the major leagues after 1997.

SP LaTroy Hawkins -0.2 WAR
Hawkins was drafted by the Twins in the 7th round of the 1991 draft out of West Side High School in Gary, Indiana. He appeared in 13 games for the Twins in 1995 and 1996, but got his first extended major league time in 1997.

SP Scott Aldred -1.0 WAR
After a decent year with the Twins in 1996, Aldred had a rough time in 1997. He became a free agent after the season and signed with the expansion Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 1998.

CL Rick Aguilera 1.4 WAR
The Aguilera as a starter experiment ended after just one season. There was a lot of uncertainty in the spring as to whether Aguilera would start or close, and even whether he’d pitch at all due to some lingering injuries. His usage in spring made it clear that he had been moved back to the bullpen. Whether it was due to being back at his familiar role, or if it was because he was healthy again, Aggie was back to being one of the better closers in the game. The 35-year-old, however, was no longer as dominant as he had been in the early to mid 90’s.

RP Frank Rodriguez 1.0 WAR
Despite emerging as a league average starter for the Twins in 1996, the 24-year-old was mainly a long reliever for the Twins in 1997. After spending the first month and a half of the season in the rotation, Rodriguez was demoted because of a 6.49 ERA. Despite the terrible start and demotion, Rodriguez ended the year with about league average numbers, very similar to his 1996 performance.

RP Greg Swindell 2.7 WAR
Swindell was a 10-year veteran by the time he signed with the Twins as a free agent following the 1996 season. He was coming off a string of medicore to bad seasons, mostly with the Houston Astros. Somewhat quietly, Swindell emerged as a very good relief pitcher. 1997 was his most successful season since 1992 when he was a starter for the Cincinnati Reds.

RP Eddie Guardado 0.6 WAR
Every day Eddie “only” appeared in 69 games in 1997. It was, however, his best season as a major leaguer. His K/BB ratio was a major factor in his success. It jumped from the 1-2 range in his previous few seasons to 3.18 in 1997.

RP Todd Ritchie 0.5 WAR

RP Mike Trombley 0.6 WAR

 

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