The Franchise 1994 (Part 2)


SP Kevin Tapani 2.1 WAR
SP Scott Erickson 0.5 WAR
These two were widely assumed to be the future of the Twins’ pitching staff in the early 90’s, and conventional wisdom said both would bounce back from sub-par 1993 performances to regain status as two of the top pitchers in the league. The problem with conventional wisdom, of course, was the Tapani had actually been pretty consistent in every category except for wins/losses, and the expectations surrounding Erickson were inflated due to his outlying 1991 season. Tapani’s 11-7 record in 1994 was enough to be perceived as comeback season even though the underlying numbers were very similar to 1993. Erickson didn’t compile quite as many losses, so his season was considered a success as well, even though it looked a lot like 1993 as well. Both pitchers were the subject of numerous trade rumors, but both remained Twins into 1995.

SP Jim Deshaies -1.3 WAR
The Twins dealt Deshaies towards the end of the 1993 season but resigned with the Twins in the off season. At age 34, however, Deshaies had nothing left in the tank, and fell off dramatically from a league average pitcher in 1993 to one of the worst regular starters in the league in 1994.

SP Pat Mahomes 1.9 WAR
23-year-old Pat Mahomes was a bright spot for the Twins pitching staff in 1994. Despite this, he was still thought to be a few years from his prime. Mahomes walked more batters than he struck out (62 BB, 53 K), and allowed 22 home runs in 120 innings pitched, so in some ways his 1994 season was more a function of luck. It would also turn out to be his best career season. In August, Mahomes was in a car accident

SP Carlos Pulido 0.2 WAR
The fifth spot in the rotation was filled by rookie Carlos Pulido, who stayed in the rotation partially due to injuries and partially due to the fact that there weren’t many options. Pulido wouldn’t surface in major league baseball again until he made a few appearances for the Twins in 2003 and 2004.

CL Rick Aguilera 0.5 WAR
Aguilera continued to be one of the premier closers in baseball despite the fact that trade rumors continued to follow him wherever he went. For his part, Aguilera said that he was happy in Minnesota. He liked the coaching staff and wanted to continue to play with the Twins.

RP Carl Willis -1.2 WAR
RP Mark Guthrie -1.2 WAR
RP Mike Trombley -0.4 WAR
To set up Aguilera, the Twins figured that these three, who had been solid performers for several years, would continue to have success. All three fell off a cliff in 1994. Willis pitched 2/3 of an inning with the Twins in 1995 before retiring. The Big Train served as Cleveland’s pitching coach for a long time, and was just recently relieved of his duties as Mariners pitching coach.

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