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Why Vance Worley Is the Most Underrated Arm on the Twins' Staff

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Why Vance Worley Is the Most Underrated Arm on the Twins' Staff
Hunter Martin/Getty Images

Ever feel overshadowed or overlooked? Ever feel like you don’t get enough credit?

Do you ever get the feeling that you are the George Harrison of your situation; you’re one of the best musicians of all time yet you are stuck behind the popularity of Paul McCartney and John Lennon and the doggone good looks of Ringo Starr?

Well, I bet you and Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Vance Worley have a lot in common.

As we sit on the day of pitchers and catchers reporting, Vance Worley is the best starting pitcher on the Twins' staff and nobody’s talking about him…at all.

Worley was shipped to the Twin Cities along with prospect pitcher Trevor May in the Ben Revere trade with the Philadelphia Phillies in December.

Worley in that situation had been completely overlooked in the Minnesota market. The main story was the shock of Ben Revere being traded exactly a week after the Twins traded their other center fielder in Denard Span to the Washington Nationals.

The story became outcry of love for Revere and what the heck was GM Terry Ryan thinking because the Twins now don’t have a center fielder.

Neither of those two things are wrong to question: Revere was a fan favorite, and the Twins did just trade both of their MLB well-experienced center fielders. The pitching the Twins got, and more specifically the MLB-ready Worley, was overlooked.

Worley may have gotten more hype if he hadn’t been the George Harrison of the Philadelphia Phillies. 2011 was Worley’s rookie season, and he was called up to replace an injured Joe Blanton in the starting rotation, but he had quite the four in front of him: Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels.

Yes, Worley had four All-Star (at the least) pitchers ahead of him. If the Phillies were The Beatles, Worley would have been Pete Best.

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But now Worley is no longer in the shadow of those pitching giants and has the reins of the Twins' starting rotation in his hand. There may be one other reason Worley isn’t as hyped as he should be: Worley only pitched in 23 ballgames last season and went 6-9 in those starts with a 4.20 ERA.

Last season, Worley started 3-2 and then was placed on the DL with a bone chip in his pitching elbow. Worley came back and had little success and was then shut down and underwent surgery on his elbow.

When healthy in his rookie year, Worley looked fantastic. In 2011, Worley went 11-3 in 21 starts with a 3.01 ERA and a WHIP of 1.230. He finished third in National League Rookie of the Year voting behind two Atlanta Braves: closer Craig Kimbrel (who had a rookie record 46 saves) and first baseman Freddie Freeman.

Besides, Worley’s nickname is The Vanimal. I don’t think we should ever underestimate someone who has the nickname The Vanimal.

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