Minnesota Twins Joe Ryan Is Blossoming as a Rookie

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Minnesota Twins rookie Joe Ryan is having a strong start to the 2022 season. Once considered just a fastball pitcher, he has shown off his slider and changeup. That has led to a dynamic start to his rookie season. As of May 1, the 25-year-old is 3-1 with an extraordinary 1.17 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 23 innings.

Twins Joe Ryan Breakdown

Twins Needed Pitching

We all know what happened to the Twins last year. After being considered a contender for the World Series, they stumbled out of the 2021 season with only nine wins in April, and they were nine games under .500 by the time May ended. Most of the issues the Twins had led to one contributing factor, lack of quality pitching, led to their demise.

They used 35 different pitchers last season, including 15 other starters—and the starters averaged fewer than six innings per start. Their ERA was at 4.83, which ranked 26 out of the 30 teams. The Twins ranked 27th in home runs given up.

The Trade to Minnesota

In a surprise move, the Tampa Bay Rays traded Ryan and Drew Strotman to the Twins for Nelson Cruz and Calvin Faucher last July. It came as a surprise to many baseball followers because Ryan was one of the top ten prospects, and most thought the Rays would call him up for the final month of the season.

We know the Rays have consistently been in the top five in farm system rankings, but they needed a power-hitter last season to make that final push for a playoff spot. They figured Ryan was expendable and could be replaced with another top prospect.

Nobody Imagined Ryan’s Success 

Minnesota Twins rookie Joe Ryan is blossoming, but nobody could have imagined that he would be this good to start his Twins career. After the trade, he was assigned to Triple-A St. Paul. He made two starts and had 17 strikeouts in nine innings. The Twins called him up on September 1, and he made his MLB debut against the Chicago Cubs. In his second career start, he carried a perfect game into the seventh inning and notched his first MLB win with seven frames of one-hit ball.

He would finish the 2021 season with five games started and two wins. In the 26 2/3 innings Ryan pitched, he had 30 stakeouts. He provided quality starts in four of his five starts and pitched into the fifth inning in every appearance.

Ryan’s Spring Training 

He was added to the 40-man roster and invited to Spring training 2022. Ryan’s fastball is his main pitch, one he threw almost 75% of the time. He worked with pitching coach Wes Johnson on developing his slider during camp. He also worked on a changeup and a curve. The coaches worked with Ryan on his confidence on the mound, reminding him that he doesn’t need to rely on his fastball.

During Spring Training, Ryan faced 19 batters during camp. However, only four batters got on base while striking out six others. Ryan’s excellent camp paid off as manager Rocco Baldelli named him the Opening Day starter. He was the first Twins rookie to be an Opening Day starter since 1969.

Ryan Is A Dependable Starter

Minnesota Twins rookie Joe Ryan is blossoming, and in his four starts, he looks like a veteran on the mound showing a lot of confidence and poise. Will he continue to develop into an ace that the Twins fans have been looking for in recent years?

If Twins want to have any success, it will take a full team effort. They have the offense, but we know wins comes down to starting pitching. If starters Chris Archer, Dylan Bundy, Sonny Gray, and Chris Paddack stay healthy and find some success, the Twins fans will certainly enjoy this team as it makes a run at a playoff spot.

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Players/managers Mentioned:

Joe Ryan, Drew Strotman, Nelson Cruz, Calvin Faucher, Wes Johnson, Rocco Baldelli, Chris Archer, Dylan Bundy, Sonny Gray, Chris Paddack