Bold = Player new to Minnesota in 1990
SP Allan Anderson 7-18 4.53 ERA 93 ERA+ 1.34 WHIP 4.02 FIP -0.8 PW 7 WS 1.2 WAR
Anderson got off to a miserable start, going 2-11 with a 5.63 ERA through June. Most observers believed that the left-hander’s problems on the mound were mental in nature. Anderson did what he could to improve, including some visits with a sports psychiatrist. Whatever he tried seemed to work for the second half of the season. In 14 starts he went 5-7 with a 3.47 ERA, though most of the headlines surrounding Anderson in the last couple of months were about his effort to avoid losing 20 games.
SP Kevin Tapani 12-8 4.07 ERA 103 ERA+ 1.21 WHIP 3.10 FIP 0.4 PW 10 WS 2.4 WAR
In his first year as a major league regular, Tapani got some high praise:
“He gets the ball and throws it, and he is always around the plate. For a young man, he’s got a lot of poise. I think it’s important for a pitcher not to show any emotion on the mound. Tapani gives up a home run and says ‘Give me the ball, lets go.’ That’s the way Catfish Hunter used to be. He reminds me of Catfish Hunter.”
The quote, as pointed out by Jim Caple in The Sporting News, came from umpire Vic Voltaggio. His performance made him one of the mid-season favorites for AL Rookie of the Year Honors. Though he finished fifth for that particular award, Tapani seemed to find a home in Minnesota’s starting rotation.
SP Roy Smith 5-10 4.81 ERA 87 ERA+ 1.55 WHIP 4.29 FIP -1.1 PW 5 WS 0.4 WAR
With the team’s emphasis on young pitching, veteran Roy Smith, who was fresh off of his best season, had a bit of a short leash. By the end of the season Smith saw most of his action out of the bullpen. He was released by the Twins after the season. Smith signed with the Orioles and appeared in 17 games in 1991, his final taste of major league action.
SP David West 7-9 5.10 ERA 82 ERA+ 1.50 WHIP 5.10 FIP -1.3 PW 4 WS 0.3 WAR
David West was considered by many to be the centerpiece of the package the Twins received for Frank Viola in 1989. While he might have had the most potential, he struggled in his first attempt at full-time major league duty.
SP Mark Guthrie 7-9 3.79 ERA 111 ERA+ 1.33 WHIP 2.96 FIP 0.7 PW 9 WS 2.6 WAR
Guthrie ended his first season as a major league regular with 11 consecutive quality starts. Though he was mentioned in several trade rumors during the offseason, Andy MacPhail denied that the Twins organization was interested in trading any of its pitching, saying “we are not that good yet.”
SP Scott Erickson 8-4 2.87 ERA 147 ERA+ 1.41 WHIP 4.39 FIP 1.1 PW 9 WS 2.3 WAR
Erickson was drafted and signed by the Twins in June of 1989. A fourth round pick who had led the nation in victories with the University of Arizona in 1989, it didn’t take long for Erickson to make his way up through the Twins’ system. He skipped triple A all together and made his major league debut exactly a year to the day after he signed. Erickson’s best pitch was a sinking fastball that tended to force hitters to hit ground balls. Erickson rode that pitch to success in 1990, and by the end of the season he was considered one of team’s best pitchers.
CL Rick Aguilera 5-3 2.76 ERA 153 ERA+ 1.13 WHIP 2.99 FIP 1.4 PW 12 WS 1.3 WAR
At first, Aguilera was not pleased when the Twins wanted to move him to the bullpen to take over the closing role upon the departure of Jeff Reardon. After only two months on the job, however, Aguilera’s success was such that the Twins rewarded his willingness (and success) with a three-year contract extension worth $2 million per year. By season’s end, Aggie was already among the league’s elite closers.
RP Juan Berenguer 8-5 3.41 ERA 123 ERA+ 1.43 WHIP 4.23 FIP 0.8 PW 8 WS 1.2 WAR
Berenguer had another very good year with the Twins. As a result the same collusion settlement that made Gaetti a free agent and Aguilera’s emergence as the Twins’ closer, Berenguer went off seeking ace-reliever money, signing as a free agent with Atlanta for about $1 million more per year than he would have made with the Twins. Had it not been for a lingering injury that kept Berenguer out of the 1991 post season, he might have faced his former team in the World Series.
RP Tim Drummond 3-5 4.35 ERA 97 ERA+ 1.54 WHIP 4.09 FIP -0.1 PW 4 WS 0.6 WAR
Drummond is the forgotten man in the Viola trade. This was really his only year of note.
RP Terry Leach 2-5 3.20 ERA 132 ERA+ 1.29 WHIP 2.81 FIP 0.7 PW 7 WS 1.4 WAR
Like most of the team’s new pitchers in 1989-1990, Terry Leach had recently been traded from the Mets organization. Unlike most of his teammates, Leach was a 36-year-old veteran reliever and he did not come to the Twins in the Viola deal. Leach signed as a free agent prior to the 1990 season after having a couple of mediocre seasons. He turned things around with the Twins, actually pitching just as well if not better than he did at his mid-1980’s peak.