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Group Retrospective: Rookie Pitchers of the Minnesota Twins, 1982 through 1990
A trip down memory lane for Twins fans, reviewing the most important rookie pitchers to pitch for Minnesota from 1982 (the first year in the Metrodome) until 1990, the year before they won the World Series for the second time.
Frank Viola: 22 years old, went 4-10, 5.21 in 22 starts, with 84/38 K/BB in 126 innings, 152 hits allowed. Decent control but otherwise weak numbers, though he flashed excellent potential at times. Struggled in 1983, but broke through in 1984 and became a fine, fine pitcher.
Ken Schrom: 28 years old, journeyman who became the Minnesota ace in '83, going 15-8, 3.71, but with a poor 80/80 K/BB in 196 innings. Ended with career record of 51-51, 4.81 ERA.
Rick Lysander: 30 years old, another journeyman older rookie like Schrom. Went 5-12, but posted a sound 3.38 ERA and ate 125 innings in the bullpen. Career record 9-7, 4.28 in 256 innings.
Pete Filson: 24 years old, used as a swingman, posted solid 3.40 ERA in 26 games, 8 starts. Strikeout rate was low however, with 49 Ks in 90 innings. Proved prone to injury, career mark of 15-18, 4.18 in 392 innings.
Len Whitehouse: 25 years old, used as LOOGY. 4.15 ERA but with poor 44/44 K/BB in 74 innings. Out of baseball by 1986. Career mark of 4.67 in 116 innings.
Mike Walters: 25 years old, used as a ROOGY, submarine pitcher. Posted 4.12 ERA, 21/20 K/BB in 59 innings. Just 88 career innings, with 3.99 ERA.
Bryan Oelkers: 22 year old lefty starter, 1982 first-round pick out of Wichita State. Was hammered in Minnesota, going 0-5, 8.65 in eight starts. Career ERA of 6.01 in 103 innings. Finesse pitcher who was rushed too quickly, then got hurt.
Eddie Hodge: 26 year old finesse lefty, went 4-3, 4.77 in 15 starts with 59/29 K/BB in 100 innings. Never pitched in the majors again.
Frank Eufemia, 25 years old junkball righthander, went 4-2, 3.79 with 30/21 K/BB in 62 innings. Effective season in middle relief, but scouts didn't believe in him. Never pitched in the majors again.
Curt Wardle: 25 year old fireballing lefty with bad control, used as bullpen LOOGY for 35 games, posting 5.51 ERA and 47/28 K/BB in 49 innings. Traded to Cleveland for Bert Blyleven at midseason. Career ERA of 6.13 in 119 innings.
Allan Anderson: 22 year old finesse lefty, went 3-6, 5.55 in 21 games, 10 starts. Had an outstanding 1988 season and led the AL in ERA, but was out of baseball by 1992. 49-54 career record, 4.11 ERA in 819 innings.
Mark Portugal: 23 years old, good stuff but mediocre command, went 6-10, 4.31 in 27 games, 15 starts. Not much success in Minnesota, but became a solid starter in a Houston uniform after Tom Kelly gave up on him. Career record 109-95, 4.03 ERA in 1826 innings.
Les Straker: 27 year old journeyman, went 8-10, 4.37 in 26 starts with 76/59 K/BB. Twins fans remember him despite a very short career due to the fact that he was the number three starter behind Bert Blyleven and Frank Viola on the first World Championship team. Returned to obscurity quickly.
German Gonzalez: ROOGY type, 26 years old, posted 3.38 ERA in 21 innings. Posted 4.66 ERA in the bullpen in '89, didn't return to the majors after that.
Gary Wayne: Rule 5 southpaw, used as a LOOGY, 26 years old. 3.30 ERA in 60 games, pitched quite well using unusual slingshot delivery. Career ERA of 3.93 in 250 innings.
Mike Dyer: hard-throwing righthander, 22 years old, considered a possible rotation anchor at one point. Went 4-7, 4.82 in 12 starts, with command problems. Drifted back to the minors, then ended up pitching in the Pirates and Expos bullpens in the mid-90s. 14-18 record, 4.60 ERA in 237 innings.
Mark Guthrie: 23 year old lefty, considered another rotation candidate. Went 2-4 4.55 in 13 games, 8 starts. Used as a starter in 1990 and posted 3.79 ERA, but ended up spending most of his career in the bullpen. 51-54, 4.05 in a career that lasted until 2003, 979 innings.
Francisco Oliveras: 26 year old minor league journeyman junkball pitcher, went 3-4, 4.53 in 12 games, 8 starts. Had some success in the Giants bullpen a few years later. 11-15, 3.71 in 235 career innings.
David West: 24 years old, acquired from Mets in Viola trade. Supposed to be a future star due to power stuff, but his control was bad and he never improved it. Went 3-2, 6.41 in 10 games, 5 starts for the Twins. Started for the Twins in '90 and '91, not pitching very well. Had a couple of good years in the Phillies bullpen before he hurt his arm. 31-38 record 4.66 in 569 innings.
Kevin Tapani: 25 years old, part of the Viola trade. Excellent command of slightly better-than-average stuff. Went 12-8, 4.07 in 28 starts, with a 101/29 K/BB in 159 innings. Turned into a decent pitcher with a long career, 143-125 record, 4.35 ERA in 2265 innings.
Scott Erickson: 22 years old, was drafted in 1989 and rose quickly. 8-4, 2.87 in 17 starts. His K/BB was poor at 53/51 in 113 innings, foreshadowing the occasional command troubles that would hamper him at times during his long career. Won 20 games for World Series team in 1991. Career record of 142-136 with 4.57 ERA in 2349 innings.
Pitchers Developed by Minnesota, 1982-1990, 500 or more innings pitched
Frank Viola, 176-150, 3.73, 2836 innings. Style: Power early in his career, more of a finesse guy later on. Origin. Second round 1981 draft, St. John's University.
Scott Erickson, 142-136, 4.57, 2349 innings. Style: Power pitcher with good sink on his fastball. Origin: Fourth round, 1989 draft, University of Arizona.
Kevin Tapani, 143-125, 4.35, 2265 innings. Style:: Power/finesse combo early in his career, always had good control, helping him survive as his velocity decreased. Origin: Second round, 1986 draft (by Oakland), Central Michigan University.
Mark Portugal: 109-95, 4.03, 1826 innings. Style:: Power pitcher early in his career, later more of a finesse guy, command erratic but often very good. Origin: Signed by Twins as undrafted free agent out of high school in Los Angeles in 1980.
Mark Guthrie, 51-54, 4.05, 979 innings. Style: Power/finesse combo using good splitter. As usual, necessity for control increased as velocity declined with age. Origin: Seventh round pick in 1987 draft out of Louisiana State University.
Ken Schrom, 51-51, 4.81, 900 innings. Style: Finesse. Origin: Drafted in the 17th round in 1976 (by Angels) from University of Idaho.
Allan Anderson, 49-54, 4.11, 819 innings: Style: Finesse. Relied on his changeup. Origin: Drafted in the second round in 1981, out of high school in Ohio.
David West, 31-38, 4.66, 569 innings Style Power, with poor control most of the time. Origin: Fourth round pick in 1983 (by the Mets) out of high school in Tennessee.