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All aboard the Joe Ryan Express

Was his 2022 the best MN rookie pitching season ever?

Los Angeles Angels v Minnesota Twins Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

Since Minnie & Paul began shaking hands over the Mississippi River in 1961, the Twins have had five players take home MLB’s Rookie of the Year Award for the American League:

Tony Oliva (1964)

Rod Carew (1967—he was so good he now has an entirely different award in his moniker)

John Castino (1979)

Chuck Knoblauch (1991)

Marty Cordova (1995)

As is generally the case with this franchise, those awards are the sole propriety of batsmen. Yet, Minnesota has indeed been home to some fantastic first-year pitching performances—including one as recently as last season. Let’s take a look at some of those tremendous tenderfoots and see who comes out on top...

Bert Blyleven (1970): 10-9, 164 IP, 3.18 ERA, 119 ERA+

  • The raw numbers here may not blow you away, but consider that Rik Aalbert was nineteen years of age when he posted them. I was working up the courage to make my own dentist appointments at such an age.

Dave Goltz (1972): 3-3, 91 IP, 2.67 ERA, 121 ERA+

  • The Pelican Rapids, MN native would go on to pitch eight seasons in the baby blues—unfortunately all during the utterly nondescript 1970s period of Twins baseball.
Minnesota Twins v Baltimore Orioles
Goltz in action

Scott Erickson (1990): 8-4, 113 IP, 2.87 ERA, 145 ERA+

  • Before his 20-win 1991 campaign, Scotty showed definite signs that such a performance was possible.

Francisco Liriano (2006): 12-3, 121 IP, 2.16 ERA, 208 ERA+

  • ‘06 Frankie was a sight to behold—especially when out-dueling The Rocket. Sadly, the horrific “pop in the elbow” ended the wondrous run and the Cisco Kid never quite regained such dominance again.

Scott Diamond (2012): 12-9, 173 IP, 3.54 ERA, 116 ERA+

Kansas City Royals v Minnesota Twins
I fondly remember Diamond-Mania ‘12!
Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images

Joe Ryan (2022): 13-8, 147 IP, 3.55 ERA, 109 ERA+

Who do you think turned in the best Minnesota Twins rookie pitching performance of all time (a.k.a. by how much will Liriano win the poll)?


Best Twins rookie pitcher performance

This poll is closed

  • 6%
    (25 votes)
  • 1%
    (4 votes)
  • 3%
    (13 votes)
  • 77%
    (296 votes)
  • 0%
    (2 votes)
  • 11%
    (44 votes)
384 votes total Vote Now