Bold = Player new to Minnesota in 1979
SP Jerry Koosman 20-13 3.38 ERA 130 ERA+ 1.33 WHIP 3.46 FIP 3.4 PW 23 WS 7.5 WARP3
Koosman was probably best known for his role as the left-handed compliment to Tom Seaver during the Mets’ run in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, including the 1969 World Series win. A miserable 1978 season prompted Koosman to demand a trade to his hometown team, the Twins, threatening to retire to pursue an air freight business. Now 36, Koosman was traded to the Twins in a deal that sent 22-year-old Jesse Orosco to New York as a PTBNL. Koosman won his first seven decisions of 1979 before dropping his next six. He had another run of six straight decisions in August. On September 30, Koosman put a bow on his first season as a Twin by shutting out the Brewers, a team that had not been shut out all season, to earn his 20th win. He finished sixth in the Cy Young voting for 1979.
SP Dave Goltz 14-13 4.16 ERA 106 ERA+ 1.40 WHIP 3.66 FIP 0.7 PW 16 WS 4.6 WARP3
Goltz was overshadowed by new arrival Koosman, but still had a solid season. Goltz opted for free agency following the season, and at the age of 31 signed a 3-year, $3 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. After a great first month or so, Goltz struggled the rest of his career. He had a decent year in 1982 with the Angels, but a torn rotator cuff ended his career in 1983. Goltz pitched for eight seasons with the Twins, he compiled a 96-79 record with a 112 ERA+ for his Twins career, and was probably among the team’s best starters in the 1970’s.
SP Geoff Zahn 13-7 3.57 ERA 123 ERA+ 1.31 WHIP 3.77 FIP 1.7 PW 14 WS 4.3 WARP3
Though Zahn missed the month of May due to injury, his peripheral numbers in 1979 are just about identical to his numbers in 1978, which is considered his best season as a member of the Twins.
SP Paul Hartzell 6-10 5.36 ERA 82 ERA+ 1.45 WHIP 4.51 FIP -1.2 PW 5 WS 1.4 WARP3
The 6’5″ tall Lehigh University graduate came to the Twins in the Rod Carew trade. He had pitched well for the Angels in three seasons, but came out with a losing record. His 1979 season was by far the worst of his career to that point, and Hatrzell was released by the Twins following the season. He pitched in 10 more major league games total following his stint with the Twins.
SP Roger Erickson 3-10 5.63 ERA 78 ERA+ 1.64 WHIP 4.96 FIP -1.6 PW 2 WS 0.3 WARP3
Erickson failed to follow up on his impressive rookie numbers, but rebounded in 1980.
CL Mike Marshall 10-15 2.65 ERA 166 ERA+ 1.26 WHIP 3.42 FIP 5.4 PW 23 WS 8.3 WARP3
Mike Marshall was busy in 1979. He appeared in 90 games for the Minnesota Twins, a number that easily led the league. Marshall also led the league with 31 saves. At the end of the season, Marshall finished fifth in AL Cy Young voting and won TSN’s Fireballer of the Year Award. It would not be a stretch to put Marshall’s performance in 1979 among the top seasons for a relief pitcher in Twins’ history. 1979 would prove to be Marshall’s final effective season in the majors, however. He retired at the age of 38 following a couple of seasons in which he appeared in only 38 games total. Marshall now makes a living ruffling the feathers of the baseball establishment, particularly pitching coaches. He trains young pitchers with an unusual delivery and claims that his methods will eliminate pitching injuries and allow pitchers to throw with more velocity and less rest time between high pitch outings. So far, he and his ideas has been shut out of the baseball establishment.
RP Pete Redfern 7-3 3.49 ERA 126 ERA+ 1.30 WHIP 3.12 FIP 0.9 PW 9 WS 2.5 WARP3
Redfern, who has been primarily used as a starter in his first three seasons with the Twins, was moved to the bullpen in 1979 and had his best season. The Twins moved him back into the starting rotation in 1980 with mixed results.
RP Darrell Jackson 4-4 4.28 ERA 103 ERA+ 1.66 WHIP 3.60 FIP 0.1 PW 4 WS 1.3 WARP3
Jackson made a few starts for Minnesota in 1978, but worked primarily out of the bullpen in 1979.
RP Mike Bacsik 4-2 4.39 ERA 100 ERA+ 1.37 WHIP 4.24 FIP -0.2 PW 3 WS 0.7 WARP3
After three ineffective seasons as a Texas Ranger, Bacsik was traded to the Twins after spending 1978 in the minor leagues. He had his best major league season in 1979.