MLB

StaTuesday: Twins' Berrios, Santana WHIP-ing into shape

The Minnesota Twins have quite the 1-2 punch at the top of their rotation.

Ervin Santana and Jose Berrios are both having good seasons. One reason for their success is their ability to keep runners off the bases.

Santana enters Tuesday's games ranked fifth in the American League and 10th in the majors in WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched) at 1.128. Berrios, if he qualified, would be seventh in the AL at 1.159.

Santana has had 10 starts this season where his walks plus hits have been equal or less than the amount of innings he pitched, including his last start on Aug. 23, when he gave up three hits and one walk in seven innings. Berrios has had seven such starts.

If Santana and Berrios can continue this pace (or better) for the rest of the season, it would be the first time since 2001 that Minnesota has had a pair of starting pitchers with WHIP under 1.160.

Since the DH era in 1973, only 17 times has a Twins starter finished with a WHIP that low, and of those 15, Bert Blyleven and Johan Santana did it four times.

PITCHER YEAR G IP WHIP
Ervin Santana 2017 26 169.1 1.128
Jose Berrios 2017 19 111.1 1.159
Phil Hughes 2014 32 209.2 1.130
Kevin Slowey 2008 27 160.1 1.154
Johan Santana 2007 33 219 1.073
Johan Santana 2006 34 233.2 0.997
Johan Santana 2005 33 231.2 0.971
Johan Santana 2004 34 228 0.921
Rick Reed 2002 33 188 1.160
Brad Radke 2001 33 226 1.155
Joe Mays 2001 34 233.2 1.151
John Smiley 1992 34 241 1.120
Kevin Tapani 1991 34 244 1.086
Frank Viola 1988 35 255.1 1.136
Bert Blyleven 1985 14 114 1.114
Frank Viola 1984 35 257.2 1.157
Bert Blyleven 1975 35 275.2 1.099
Bert Blyleven 1974 37 281 1.142
Bert Blyleven 1973 40 325 1.117

Some notes:

-- Johan Santana is the only Twins starter to lead the league in WHIP and he did it four straight seasons form 2004-07.

-- The only other times the Twins have had two starters with a WHIP under 1.160 are 1963, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1970 and 1972.

-- Blyleven also had WHIPs under 1.160 in 1970 and '72, giving him a franchise-high six times recording a WHIP that good.

-- Others with multiple WHIP under 1.160 who aren't listed above: Dean Chance (2), Jim Kaat (3), Jim Merritt (2), Camilo Pascual (2) and Jim Perry (3).

-- It's not just Ervin Santana and Berrios doing it on the 2017 Twins. Minnesota's bullpen has a bevy of pitchers with good WHIPs, including Alan Busenitz (0.891), Dillon Gee (1.015), Trevor Hildenberger (1.059) and Ryan Pressly (1.089).

Dave Heller is the author of the upcoming book Ken Williams: A Slugger in Ruth's Shadow as well as Facing Ted Williams Players from the Golden Age of Baseball Recall the Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived and As Good As It Got: The 1944 St. Louis Browns