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What a Rauch

By Brandon Merrill

The Minnesota Twins were devastated to find out that their all-star closer, Joe Nathan would be out for the entire 2010 season. After locking down catcher Joe Mauer well into the next decade, the Twins were looking at picking up where they left off last season. As Murphy’s Law has always shown us, things will always go wrong. The Twins were faced with the decision of finding a new closer. They decided to stay within the club and give that honor to the tattooed tower of a man, the 6 foot, 11 inch right hander, Jon Rauch.

I thought it was strange to ask a man that tall to step up to opportunity being that if he were to step up any higher, you would need a bull horn to speak to him. Jon Rauch is tallest player ever to play Major league Baseball, and filling Joe Nathan’s shoes is in fact a pretty tall order, so lets give the big guy a shot. Last year he posted an ERA of 1.73, and a record of 5-1.

Some Twins fans are still nervous about having Rauch finish the games for the win, and I will have to admit, I too had some reservations. After having time to think about it, grab a sandwich, and watch Delmon Young send one into the left field bleachers Monday night against the Angels, I decided that choosing Rauch as the closer, is Twins baseball. We take what we have and develop opportunities for our players.

Rauch has what it takes to be a great relief pitcher and an even better closer. First off, he has the intimidation factor. Tattoos aside, he stands at 6’11”, and on the mound 7’9”! Oh yeah, wait, his release point is even higher than that. I cannot imagine facing a pitcher like that. The only reasonable comparison would be having an American Gladiator shoot a 90+ mile per hour tennis ball at you out of a cannon atop a pedestal. Secondly, he is coming off what I though was a pretty impressive 2009 season. He is a pitcher who is continuously improving, and now is perfect time to let him shine.

Rauch had one hit during the 2004 season while with the Montreal Expos (now Washington Nationals) and that was a homerun off Roger Clemens and the Houston Astros making him the tallest person to hit a homerun in a Major League game. Given the opportunity, Rauch has shown his ability to impress. This is once again one of those opportunities, and I have high hopes for him. My prediction is that he will finish the year with 35+ saves.

Minnesota is a good fit for Rauch, or should I say, Jon “Paul Bunyan” Rauch. Ok so I will cut it with the tall jokes, but I will say this. It will be a sight to see Jon Rauch high five cartoons Paul and Minnie in the center field stands from the bullpen before taking the mound in the late innings. His having a larger roll in the inaugural season at Target Field will make this year that much more entertaining.


  1. He was 17 for 22 converting saves with the Nationals. That's 77%. My faith in him is not very strong. Yeah I guess he can pull it off, but I am thinking the Twins will make a deal soon.

  2. Wait until Loek Van Mil makes the major league roster...the guy makes Rauch look like Mini Me.

  3. Past performance barely seems to tell you what the future will hold with a closer, it seems quality performance or a decline just come out of the blue with them. Lets see what Rauch has, and go from there. Remember nobody knew for sure what the Twins had in Nathan when he came here, I am sure the organization has been scouting AAA and MLB rosters for a guy they think can close and isn't.