June 17, 2024

We still have 2.5 months until Opening Day, but Minnesota Twins manager Rocco Baldelli has wasted no time in naming Pablo Lopez his Opening Day starter.

It’s never too early to name an Opening Day pitcher, apparently.

Despite being more than two months away from Opening Day, Minnesota Twins manager Rocco Baldelli has confirmed that Pablo Lopez is his Opening Day starter in 2024.

Lopez gets the nod over Joe Ryan, Chris Paddack and Bailey Ober. Kenta Maeda and Sonny Gray left in free agency, leaving the Twins with some holes in their rotation that need to be filled over the rest of the offseason, either by external signings/trades or by internal candidates.

The 27-year-old Lopez is coming off a solid year for Minnesota in which he went 11-8 with a 3.66 ERA. He was named an All-Star in the American League and struck out 234 batters in 194.0 innings. He anchored a rotation that dealt with injuries to Maeda and Ryan.

That was his first year in Minnesota after previously spending five years with the Miami Marlins. He was traded last offseason in a deal for Luis Arraez, who went onto win the batting title in the National League.

Lifetime, Lopez is 39-39 with a 3.86 ERA. He was the Twins’ Game 1 starter in the playoffs last season. Minnesota captured the American League Central title and went onto sweep the Toronto Blue Jays in that round before losing to the Houston Astros in the American League Division Series.

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