Jake Odorizzi’s emergence fueling Twins starting staff


MINNEAPOLIS, MN – MAY 10: Jake Odorizzi #12 of the Minnesota Twins delivers a pitch against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning of the game on May 10, 2019 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

The Minnesota Twins ace starter Jake Odorizzi is off to a strong start, one of the best in recent memory by a Twins pitcher. In Odorizzi’s first 13 starts he’s posted a league-leading 1.95 ERA with a WHIP of 0.967. To put that in perspective the league-average ERA is about 4.00 and WHIP 1.30. Odorizzi is also unbeaten in his last nine starts, which is impressive even in an era where wins and losses for starts don’t mean all that much.

Jake Odorizzi‘s Emergence fueling Twins starting staff

Odorizzi was drafted 32nd overall in the 2018 MLB draft by the Milwaukee Brewers. As a first-round pick, high expectations went with him the Brewers’ farm system. He wasn’t a standout in the Brewer’s organization his first three seasons in Rookie ball and class A. In 2010 Odorizzi was part of the trade package that sent Zack Grienke to the Brewers, landing Odorizzi in Kansas City.

While with the Royals Odorizzi’s stock began to rise and he quickly became one of the Kansas City’s top prospects between 2011-2012. He was named to the 2012 All-Star Futures game that also featured Xander Bogaerts, Fransisco Lindor, Nolan Arenado, and Christian Yelich, to name a few.

In 2014 Odorizzi got his chance to be a starter in the major leagues after he was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays in 2012. His four seasons as a full-time starter in Odorizzi was a competent starter but seen as being a middle of the rotation at best starter.

In 2018, with one season left on his contract, the Rays traded Odorizzi to the Twins for a prospect (Jemaine Palacios). Palacios is wasn’t a top prospect at the time, in fact, bounced from Class A to High A and back over two seasons leading up to the trade. Even considering there was only one year on his contract and Odorizzi wasn’t flashy it seemed like a deal the Twins won. Looking at the two players now, the Twins got a steal. Odorizzi has become one of the top pitchers in the league while Palacios is barely stating on Tampa’s AA affiliate’s roster.

Putting it in perspective in Twins history

Jake Odorizzi is on pace to have the best season as a starting pitcher in Twins history.  Granted, it’s unlikely he can hold the current pace an entire year but even if he comes down some as the season wears on he will still be among the Twins greats in single-season production.  Jim Kaat, Mudcat Grant, Bert Blyleven, Frank Viola, and Johan Santana are the names that Odorizzi has a legitimate chance to best on a single season basis.

If he can continue to lead the staff the way he is and with Jose Berrios a strong co-ace on the staff the Twins could be a formidable playoff team. Odorizzi and Berrios are the one-two punch the Twins need to make a serious run at another World Series.