5. LHP Adalberto Mejía
Considering manager Paul Molitor likely wants a left-hander in the rotation, I give the last spot to Adalberto Mejía. Beginning the 2017 season as the Twins’ fifth starter, the 24-year-old went 4-7 with a 4.50 ERA in 21 starts. Of course, Mejía didn’t spend the whole season with the Twins as he spent a fair share of time in the minors and on the disabled list.
Nevertheless, Mejía, who was acquired in a trade that sent Eduardo Nunez to the San Francisco Giants prior to the 2016 trade deadline, shows signs of becoming a solid bottom-of-the-rotation pitcher. Ultimately, it all comes down to him hitting his spots on the plate and controlling his pitch count. Last season, Mejía was taken out early far too often, so he’s going to have to prove that he can go deeper into ball games more consistently.
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If he can show signs of that in spring training, he should have an edge over the rest of the starting candidates, especially if no lefty is signed or trade for in the offseason.
The other starting candidates include right handers Kyle Gibson, who actually had a fantastic end to 2017, and Trevor May, who is returning from season-ending Tommy John surgery.
Also, the Twins could re-sign Bartolo Colón on a one-year deal to fight for the fifth spot and at the least, provide starting depth on the roster. Not to mention, prospects Fernando Romero and Stephen Gonsalves could find their way onto the roster at some point in 2018.
As a whole, this starting rotation looks far better than the one that had countless problems behind Ervin Santana and Jose Berríos in 2017. If they can add a couple of quality arms like Cole and Lynn, it’ll go a long way to reaching their next couple of goals: a division title & World Series trophy.