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Rotations of the Minnesota Twins, 1996 - 2011

This is essentially the copy of a copy, but it's a fun idea. As Lookout Landing and McCovey Chronicles note, these are just the first five guys to start games for the club in each of the given years. So if Francisco Liriano started the year in the minors or Johan Santana was a swingman out of the gate or Joe Mays was on the disabled list, they won't be counted.

1996 1997 1998 1999
Brad Radke Brad Rake Bob Tewksbury Brad Radke
Rich Robertson Frankie Rodriguez LaTroy Hawkins Mike Lincoln
Frankie Rodriguez Scott Aldred Brad Radke Eric Milton
LaTroy Hawkins Bob Tewksbury Mike Morgan LaTroy Hawkins
Rick Aguilera Rich Robertson Eric Milton Benj Sampson
2000 2001 2002 2003
Brad Radke Brad Radke Brad Radke Brad Radke
Eric Milton Eric Milton Eric Milton Joe Mays
Sean Bergman Joe Mays Joe Mays Kyle Lohse
Joe Mays Mark Redman Rick Reed Rick Reed
Johan Santana J.C. Romero Kyle Lohse Kenny Rogers
2004 2005 2006 2007
Brad Radke Brad Radke Johan Santana Johan Santana
Johan Santana Johan Santana Brad Radke Boof Bonser
Kyle Lohse Carlos Silva Carlos Silva Ramon Ortiz
Carlos Silva Kyle Lohse Kyle Lohse Carlos Silva
Seth Greisinger Joe Mays Scott Baker Sidney Ponson
2008 2009 2010 2011
Livan Hernandez Francisco Liriano Scott Baker Carl Pavano
Boof Bonser Nick Blackburn Nick Blackburn Francisco Liriano
Nick Blackburn Kevin Slowey Carl Pavano Nick Blackburn
Kevin Slowey Glen Perkins Kevin Slowey Brian Duensing
Scott Baker R.A. Dickey Fransisco Liriano Scott Baker

There are a lot of interesting notes along the way. In 1996, for example, Aguilera didn't start until the 15th game of the season and Hawkins only started twice, giving Radke, Robertson and Rodriguez four starts each every early. Santana's swingman days actually started with him in the rotation early in 2000 before finding his way back in as a leader four years later. Dickey basically just filled in until Baker was ready in 2009.

What really shows through in this list is the remarkable consistency the Twins have had in their rotations over the years. Of course Radke was there for ten of those, but the Twins rolled over at least two pitchers every season except for '08 (after Santana was dealt and Silva was not re-signed). On a number of occasions they rolled over three or four starters.

Of course not all of that consistency was good by default. Poor Hawkins kept getting marched out to the mound year after year with a blindfold on and smoking a cigarette, until the Twins tried him in the bullpen.

Perspective is an interesting thing. There was a time when we were excited by the prospect of a rotation filled with Radke, Milton, Mays and Lohse. And we've come even further since the days where our rotation was filled out with pitchers who profile like Robertson, Rodriguez, Aldred, Tewksbury, Sampson or Bergman.

The odds say that, whether because of injury, ineffectiveness or another roster decision, only two or three of our top five will be among the top five next year. Which ones are most likely to return? And the even more intriguing question--how will we look at 2011's rotation five years from now?