This past Thursday, the Minnesota Twins selected the contract of 2015 American League Cy Young award winner, Dallas Keuchel. This was a corresponding move to Joe Ryan being placed on the injured list.
Keuchel made his 2023 debut against the D-Backs on Sunday and performed well. I’ll dive into that later.
If you’re a casual and have no idea who he is, have no fear. I will give you a very not-so-brief background on the mighty southpaw and then you’ll get my ever so interesting take on what he’ll do in the big leagues again after seeing what he did Sunday.
Keuchel’s Career So far
Keuchel was drafted by the Houston Astros in the 2009 MLB draft in the 7th round. He made his debut in 2012 and broke out in 2014 where he posted a 2.93 ERA and won a Gold Glove. Keuchel won the 2015 Cy Young Award.
After testing the free agent market in 2019, Keuchel signed a 1-year, $13 million deal with the Atlanta Braves. After being relatively decent with the Braves, Keuchel inked a 3-year, $55 million deal with the Chicago White Sox. In 2020, he finished in the top 5 of Cy Young voting with a 1.99 ERA in a COVID shortened season.
2021 was not as kind. He flat out sucked.
2022, he was designated for assignment by the White Sox. Shortly after, he picked up by the Diamondbacks. Just 4 starts into his D-Backs career, he was also DFA’d by them. He was then picked up by the Texas Rangers. Any guesses as to what happened after 2 starts? Yes, he was also DFA’d.
Dominance in St. Paul by Keuchel
Keuchel signed a minor league deal with the Twins in June of this year. I personally did not think much of it, but even I started to pay attention as to what he was doing in July.
In 5 starts in July, Keuchel posted a an ERA of 0.96 in 28 innings of work, while striking out 24 batters.
His total stats with the Saint Paul Saints are as follows: 1.12 ERA, 32 innings pitched, 28 strikeouts and 12 walks. Talk about a resurgence.
Or is it?
How will Keuchel fair in MLB again?
Sure, that sort of dominance is awesome to see at any level, but will it really transition to the big leagues? Chances are it won’t.
Keuchel has never had blow away stuff. Instead, he has relied on a clever mix of pitches by combining movement and location. In the prime of his career, he was sitting around 88-90, sometimes 91 mph on his fastball and cutter. As of now, he’s likely hovering around 86-87 mph. And if he’s missing in locations to Major League hitters at that speed, look the fuck out.
Keuchel’s stats in the minors made him seem like Greg Maddux. Pitchers with big league experience know what their doing against minor leaguer batters. We’ve seen it time and time again. But when they come back up the MLB, they seem to not stick around for long.
On Sunday, Keuchel went 5 innings, allowing 8 hits and walked 2 batters. He didn’t strike anyone out, but really didn’t give up anything hard to hit. The average exit velocity on balls put into play was 81 MPH, roughly 2 off of the leagues lowest.
He may have given up some hits, but I personally think it’s a great sign that he was able to keep hitters off balance. Will this last? Probably not. Unless he goes out and absolutely shoves his next start, I don’t see him being on the Twins in the coming weeks. I don’t think this team would go to a 6-man rotation, but who knows? Crazier things have happened, like Kepler’s resurgence…
Hats of to Keuchel on a great 2023 debut and I wish him luck going forward.
Former professional High School Baseball player. 12 Handicap Golfer. Patrick Reusse blocked me for calling him old.