Thursday, January 17, 2013

Worst Twins of All-Time Series: Scott Klingenbeck

There have been plenty of great players in the history of the Twins franchise and there have also been plenty of duds. In my on-going offseason series, I have been taking a look at some of the worst players to ever wear a Twins uniform. There have been some bad players in recent memory but it can be fun to dig into the poor players of yesterday.

So far the series has covered, Butch Huskey and Terry Felton. Huskey struggled as a designated hitter for the Twins and he provided an interesting career to follow. One of his most famous moments happened in the Metrodome but not in a Twins uniform. Terry Felton had a rough time pitching in Minnesota and he would finish his career without a big league win to his name. These are just two names in a long list of Twins futility.

In the winter cold of the deep offseason, it can be entertaining to look back at the club's history. In the next few weeks, I will discuss some of the worst players to ever wear a Twins uniform. I won't try to rank these players because that could be quite the daunting task and it is wide open to interpretation. These will be simple profiles on some of the worst players in team history.

Next on the list of all-time worst, Mr. Scott Klingenbeck...
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The Baltimore Orioles drafted Scott Klingenbeck in the fifth round of the 1992 amateur draft. His college experience helped him to travel quickly through their farm system. He pitched well in the low minor leagues and he would make his debut during the 1994 season. In that game, he threw seven innings and allowed three earned runs to earn the victory.

Klingenbeck would have a strong start to the 1995 season at the Triple-A level for the Orioles. He posted a 2.72 ERA and a 3-1 record. This left the club little choice but to call him up during the middle months of the season. There were a few bumps in the road on his return to the big leagues. His ERA would jump to 4.88 and he posted a 1.596 WHIP over five starts. This would only be the beginning of the bad.

The Twins traded for Klingenbeck at the beginning of July in the deal that sent Scott Erickson to the Orioles. Erickson hadn't been able to regain his form from the first couple of years in the big leagues. He was only 27-years old but the Twins wanted to get some younger prospects for him. Klingenbeck had looked good during his minor league career but things would quickly go south in Minnesota.

He would make 18 appearances with the Twins in 1995 including four starts for the club. His ERA was a hefty 8.57 with an ugly 1.924 WHIP. He didn't exactly have control of his pitches as he walked 24 batters, hit four batters, and had five wild pitches over 48.1 innings. It was beginning to look like the Twins had given up a king's ransom to acquire a not so great pitcher.

For the start of the 1996 season, the Twins sent Klingenbeck back to the minor leagues to try and find himself. He improved by posting a 3.11 ERA and a 9-3 record over 22 starts. By the middle of the season, the Twins needed some help at the big league level and Klingenbeck was the guy. He struggled again with the transition and posted a 7.85 ERA and a 1.814 WHIP. This would be his last trip to the big leagues with the Twins.

At the start of the next season, Klingenbeck would be sent back to the Triple-A level. The Twins would dump him on Cincinatti, his hometown team, as part of a conditional deal. He would get one more brief taste of the majors in 1998 and he looked a little better with an ERA close to 6.00 and a 1.456 WHIP. The next year would be his last in professional baseball before retiring in 1999.

Klingenbeck's numbers in the minor leagues made it seem that he would be able to transition into at least a back of the rotation starter. That was one of the reasons the Twins traded for him but this would never happen. His time in the Twins organization translated to a 1-3 record, an 8.30 ERA, and a 1.883 WHIP. He also put together a -1.7 WAR in his Twins tenure.

Following his professional baseball career, Klingenbeck would open a sports bar and grill in Cincinnati. That venue is no longer open but it sounds like it was a decent place to eat.

In the end, Klingenbeck will be more remembered as the man the Twins got back for Scott Erickson because his time in a Twins uniform was very unmemorable...

What other players should be featured in this series? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

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