As first reported by Do-Hyoung Park, Twins manager Rocco Baldelli announced the team’s Opening Day starter today.
His choice was a surprise.
Joe Ryan (!!) will start Opening Day for the #MNTwins, Rocco announces.— Do-Hyoung Park (@dohyoungpark) March 31, 2022
Instead of the widely-expected Sonny Gray, for whom the Twins traded last year’s first-round pick Chase Petty, Ryan has received the nod on April 7 against Seattle.
The prize return in the Nelson Cruz trade, Ryan made five starts for the Twins in 2021, striking out 30 and walking five over 26.2 innings to the tune of a 4.05 ERA and 3.43 FIP. This means his Opening Day appearance will be only the sixth start of his career, something done only twice before in MLB history:
Joe Ryan is the third player in MLB's expansion era (since 1961) to make an Opening Day start within the first six games of his career.— Do-Hyoung Park (@dohyoungpark) March 31, 2022
Joe Ryan (MIN, 2022)
José Guzman (TEX, 1986)
Steve Busby (KC, 1973)
Thus far, Ryan has made two starts this spring, allowing three hits and striking out six over five innings.
Ryan joins a list of Twins’ Opening Day starters that includes MLB legends (Jim Kaat, Bert Blyleven, Jack Morris), franchise legends (Johan Santana, Brad Radke), players whose careers are still on the rise (José Berríos), and Vance Worley.