The Minnesota Twins have an All-Star starting pitcher. I don't think we're all realizing just how rare or unlikely this is.
The Twins finished second to last or worse in the American League in ERA in five of the last six seasons. They had Vance Worley as the opening day starter in 2013 and Ricky Nolasco as the opening day starter in 2014. They let Mike Pelfrey throw in 64 games over the span of three seasons. "The Twins" and "good starting pitching" do not normally go in the same sentence.
And yet here we are. It is the year 2017 and the Minnesota Twins have an All-Star starting pitcher. It is the one position which has given fans the most frustration and sadness for like a decade or so. That's actually about how far back you have to go to find the last time a starting pitcher represented the Twins in the All-Star Game.
Johan "No, Not Ervin" Santana made his third straight trip to the All-Star Game in 2007 despite ending up with his “worst” season with the Twins as a full time starter. In that season he threw 219 innings of 3.33 ERA baseball to go with 235 strikeouts and only 52 walks. Those are obviously great numbers, but he actually had more innings and strikeouts and a lower ERA in each of the three previous seasons.
In the nine seasons since then, not only have the Twins not had a pitcher nearly as dominant, they haven't had a single pitcher worthy of being called an All-Star. From 2008-2016, every single American League team had at least one starting pitcher named an All-Star except the Twins.
See? Look I even made a graph to back up my statements.
Also, incredibly, eleven teams had at least two All-Star starting pitchers in the All-Star Game in the same season. The Yankees even had three in 2010! And one was Phil fricken Hughes! What's up with that?!
But the Twins haven't even sent one single starting pitcher to represent them in the All-Star game since 2007. Not until this year. No one expected this. Ervin Santana did the impossible.
In 2017 to date, Ervin has 2.99 ERA over 120.1 innings, 91 strikeouts, and 40 walks. He's no Johan Santana, but darn it, he's good enough for me.
It's totally possible that he won't throw a single pitch in the All-Star Game, but at the very least Santana gets to be there representing the Twins at a position that no one else has in the past decade. And that's SO awesome.