SP Brad Radke 6.5 WAR
Radke’s 1999 is exhibit “A” in terms of great seasons that might be overlooked due to a pitcher’s win-loss record. Though he set a career best in WAR (6.5) and his 2nd best season according to ERA+ (135), Radke finished the season with a 12-14 record. At the age of 26, Radke had his best statistical season, almost two full wins (according to WAR) ahead of his 20-pitching-win 1997 season.
SP Eric Milton 4.2 WAR
After taking his lumps as a rookie, Milton had a solid sophomore season. Jim Souhan relayed a story about Milton’s turn around. According to Souhan, a “guy” who coached Milton years before in the Cape Cod League called the left-handed pitcher at some point during the 1998 season and told him to pay attention to where his right foot was landing. Milton discovered that his foot was landing to the left of the mound, sapping velocity and snap off of the curve ball. Milton adjusted his landing spot four prints to the right and discovered another 4 mph on his fastball and a much sharper curve. Whether the story is true or not, there was clearly more success for Milton in major league year two, including a no-hitter.
SP LaTroy Hawkins -0.4 WAR
Hawkins took another step back after showing improvement in the 1998 season. Though the team was thin in starting pitching, he was moved to the bullpen the next season.
SP Mike Lincoln 0.0 WAR
The fact that Lincoln, a 13th round draft pick of the Twins in 1996, got 15 starts in is an indication of how difficult it was for the Twins to find starting pitching. Though he struggled through his rookie year, Lincoln had a few decent seasons as a relief pitcher, mostly for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Interestingly, Lincoln had two elbow surgeries in 2004, but returned to some success after four years out of the majors in 2008.
SP/RP Joe Mays 3.0 WAR
It would be a nice story to say that Joe Mays pitched so well out of the bullpen that he earned a starting job, but the truth is that the rookie’s ERA after his final appearance as a regular relief pitcher on June 17 was 5.72. By the time the season ended, Mays’ ERA was 4.37 (116 ERA+). In 20 starts (118.2 IP), Mays struck out 82 to 43 walks, allowed .700 OPS to opponents, and compiled a 3.72 ERA.
CL Rick Aguilera 1.3 WAR
Aguilera pitched very well in the first month and a half of the season, which simply made the 37-year-old a more valuable trade chip for the Twins who desperately wanted to drop his salary. The deal with the Cubs occurred on May 21 and netted the team pitchers Kyle Lohse and Jason Ryan. Aguilera left the Twins after 11 seasons. His line: 490 G, 694 IP, 3.50 ERA, 130 ERA+, 254 SV, 3.58 FIP, 1.182 WHIP, 3.27 SO/W. When he left the team in May of 1999, he was the last playing link to the 1991 World Series.
CL Mike Trombley 1.9 WAR
Though he was not Aggie, Trombley filled in admirably for the best closer in team history. It was enough closer experience to effectively price Trombley out of the Twins’ range. He became a free agent after the season and joined the Baltimore Orioles.
RP Bob Wells 1.9 WAR
Wells was already a veteran of five major league seasons when he joined the Twins as a free agent. The 32-year-old was a different pitcher for the Twins, setting career highs in appearances (76) and improving his ERA+ from 75 in 1998 with Seattle to 133 with the Twins.
RP Travis Miller 1.5 WAR
RP Eddie Guardado 1.1 WAR
Lefties Miller and Guardado also had very good seasons as Loogys, with Miller being dominant at times. The two of them rounded out a bullpen that was a quiet strength of the 1999 team.