It’s easy to get nostalgic at the annual Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame induction ceremonies. The memories of yesteryear come back faster than Willian Astudillo make your way around third base.
This year was no different, as the team honored the great Justin morneau with great festivities and a touching video tribute. Seeing the incredible highlights with Morneau right in the middle makes you wonder how things could have been even better, but it also reminds us to appreciate the great players while they still wear the Twins logo on their caps.
Not only that, but watching scenes from his big 2000s Twins crew raised an interesting dilemma.
Are there any current twins that could one day justify the team’s Hall of Fame induction?
Players such as Jorge Polanco, Byron buxton, and Nelson cruz showed flashes of greatness, but their sample size is just too small at the moment to say they deserve this honor. Miguel Sano finds himself climbing up the franchise standings for home runs and stroke percentage, but his falls drag his case too far to seriously consider.
One name stands out as someone who could be in the mix if the next few seasons continue on their current trajectory: Taylor rogers.
It can be hard for fans to think of Rogers as one of the great twins of all time, but his performance since becoming the team’s “emerging ace” has been quite spectacular. His numbers at this point in his career match and even surpass some of the relievers who have been inducted in previous years.
What he brings to the table
Rogers has dominated in a few key areas over the past few seasons, and while his future is uncertain given his absence for the past two months, it’s no exaggeration to say he’s in the upper echelon. current lifters. Among the relief pitchers qualified since 2019, Rogers ranks fifth in fWAR, third in FIP and third in strikeouts. So how does he do it?
First, he showed he was the elite against opposing left-handed hitters. Sure, left-to-left crime is at an all time high right now, but its numbers stand out above the rest.
Since 2019, Rogers has eliminated 42% of the left-handed hitters he has faced. The only player with a higher rate is Josh hader of the Milwaukee Brewers, three-time All-Star and certified bad man. Rogers can get to this point by getting two catches early at bat. He had at least two strikes in the first three pitches in a whopping 80% of his batting appearances against left-handed hitters.
When lefties grab one of Rogers’ pitches, they tend to do very little damage, as evidenced by their collective 0.061 average hit against him (also good for second-best among qualified relievers).
He also showed a tendency to get his opponents to chase after his evil slider, which also resulted in many strikeouts against righties. Over the past three seasons, Rogers threw this pitch for a strike 70% of the time. It is his bread and his butter. Lefties chase a throw that starts from the knees and ends in the opposite hitting surface. Right-handed people start their swing when it looks like a low fastball, then it breaks towards their laces.
So just like Joe nathan was able to bring down the competition with his slider on the right side, Rogers was able to carry on that legacy for the Twins backup aces.
How he compares
Speaking of which, Rogers has a few numbers that work in his favor if we use Nathan’s Twins career as a barometer for making it into the team’s Hall of Fame.
Rogers has pitched for the Twins so far in his 25-30 seasons. Meanwhile, he has an ERA of 3.15 with a stellar WHIP of 1.15 and a K / 9 of 10.33. In Nathan’s 25-30-year seasons, he had a 3.22 ERA with a WHIP of 1.18 and 9.3 K / 9.
These numbers are fairly comparable and even give Rogers a slight advantage. Of course, Nathan pitched effectively throughout his season at 39 and had some of his best seasons during that time. He made four all-star teams in his 31- to 39-year-old seasons and had a under 3.00 ERA in five of those years. For example, Rogers has a long way to go before he wins what Nathan has done in his career.
But who can say he can’t do that in the second half of his career? It might not be likely, but his numbers so far show an accurate comparison to a beloved Hall of Famer on the team.
Even if Rogers’ career ended today, he would be 15th in franchise history in terms of added probability of winning, just behind Eddie Guardado (another inductee into the Twins Hall of Fame). He would be fifth in career WHIP (1.15) among all Twins pitchers, and he would be first in strikeout / walk ratio (4.75). If he maintains that pace for a few more seasons, it wouldn’t be a shock to find his name all over the franchise rankings for pitchers.
Of course, that’s a big if. Considering he’s been out of service since the trade deadline with a strained muscle on his finger, there’s no promise that Rogers will pick up where he left off. But if his stats have taught us anything, coupled with the nostalgic effect of Morneau’s flagship video during his induction ceremony, it’s the fact that sometimes we don’t know how good someone is until. ‘to what we look at his career in retrospect.