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  • SP Depth Chart - 9/14

    An updated glance at the Twins' starting pitching depth chart, with a couple weeks remaining in the season. Barring any major developments over the rest of the month, this is how we view the team's SP pecking order heading into the offseason:

    1. Scott Diamond. He's gone through some struggles recently, with a 6.64 ERA over his past four starts, but that was to be expected. In addition to the fact that he was bound for some regression, he might be wearing down with 183 innings pitched this season. Nevertheless, he's clearly at the head of the pack.

    2. Sam Deduno. Against all odds, the 29-year-old continues to turn in quality starts despite an ugly 48-to-43 strikeout-to-walk ratio. After tossing a dud against the Rangers on August 24, he's bounced back with a 1.80 ERA in three starts since. Most impressive, he's struck out 18 and walked only six in 20 innings during that span.

    3. Cole De Vries. He's done for the season after suffering cracked ribs on a comeback line drive last week, but De Vries has seemingly positioned himself well by turning in a solid 4.11 ERA and backing it up with decent peripherals (outside of his ugly homer rate). Still, it's difficult to trust his stuff.

    4. Liam Hendriks. The rookie's path to becoming a better pitcher is clear: attack the strike zone more and bring down that .350 BABIP. He's continued to struggle in both areas since rejoining the rotation, but at least he's dialed down the long balls since his earlier stint.

    5. P.J. Walters. After a fairly impressive stretch earlier in the year, he spent two months on disabled list and in two starts since returning he has been flat-out terrible. Still, his performance when healthy should be enough to merit another shot in Rochester next year.

    6. Esmerling Vasquez. His strong performance in Triple-A earned him a September call-up, but two putrid outings since joining the Twins – in addition to the fact that he's been used almost exclusively as a reliever in the minors lately – confirm what we already thought: he's not equipped to start in the bigs.

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    7. Kyle Gibson. Among pitchers not currently in the rotation, Gibson has to be the most likely candidate to claim a spot out of spring training next year. He pitched well in a short minor-league rehab stint this year and will hopefully be fully on track after throwing in the Arizona Fall League.

    8. Brian Duensing. His struggles as a starter (6.92 ERA) and success as a reliever (2.98 ERA) should have the Twins convinced of what his role needs to be.

    9. Anthony Swarzak. Like Duensing, Swarzak is clearly meant to be pitching out of the bullpen. He's a useful long reliever but nothing more than an emergency spot starter.

    10. B.J. Hermsen. Dark horse for a rotation spot next year? Probably not, as the Twins aren't apt to rush young prospects, but the 22-year-old's long track record of success – which continued this year as he posted the fifth-best ERA in the Class-AA Eastern League despite younger than anyone in front of him – cannot be ignored.
    This article was originally published in blog: SP Depth Chart - 9/14 started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 24 Comments
    1. Nick Nelson's Avatar
      Nick Nelson -
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
      3) Good to see you've come around to my way of thinking (and your own from 2011) regarding Duensing as a starter. Unfortunately, Gardenhire has left the door open for Duensing to compete for a top 5 spot in 2013. Dunce is a great asset to the team in his RP/Spot Starter role from the left side, leave him be, already.
      I haven't changed my view on Duensing. I've always viewed him as a guy should be pitching from the bullpen. He was higher on the last list because he was actually in the Twins' rotation.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by Nick Nelson View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
      3) Good to see you've come around to my way of thinking (and your own from 2011) regarding Duensing as a starter. Unfortunately, Gardenhire has left the door open for Duensing to compete for a top 5 spot in 2013. Dunce is a great asset to the team in his RP/Spot Starter role from the left side, leave him be, already.
      I haven't changed my view on Duensing. I've always viewed him as a guy should be pitching from the bullpen. He was higher on the last list because he was actually in the Twins' rotation.
      Back in June, when many actually believed that the Twins could still contend this year (I think you were in that group to some degree), you and others (obviously this includes the Twins braintrust) thought it was worth a shot compared to the other options available to the Twins at the time. The opposing view, based on past performance, predicted it would end in failure and waste valuable developmenal time for other options, besides messing with the budding career- and potential trading chip value- of Duensing, who was having a great year to that point. It didn't take a genius to make that call, another blunder by the Twins.
    1. DAM DC Twins Fans's Avatar
      DAM DC Twins Fans -
      Quote Originally Posted by Montecore View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by scottz View Post
      This is a great list if we are trying to figure out who the 4th and 5th starters will be for the squad next year. It is an OK list if we are trying to figure out who the 3rd, 4th, and 5th starters will be for next year. Come on Pipe Dream/3 FA starters!

      FA's (age) who I would either love or be OK with pursuing (assuming options aren't picked up):
      Scott Baker (31) - $9.25MM club option
      Scott Feldman (29) - $9.25MM club option with a $600K buyout
      Gavin Floyd (30) - $9.5MM club option
      Zack Greinke (28)
      Dan Haren (32) - $15.5MM club option with a $3.5MM buyout
      Roberto Hernandez (32) - $9MM club option
      Tim Hudson (37) - $9MM club option with a $1MM buyout
      Edwin Jackson (29)
      Colby Lewis (33)
      Francisco Liriano (29)
      Shaun Marcum (31)
      Brandon McCarthy (29)
      Jake Peavy (31) - $22MM club option with a $4MM buyout
      Anibal Sanchez (29)
      James Shields (31) - $9MM club option with a $1.5MM buyout
      Carlos Villanueva (29)

      But, I hear it is a "thin" FA market.
      Actually, the list is unimpressive. Peavy gets hurt, Haren's seen his best days. Greinke? Liriano is just too puzzling but, that's who they should go for. They won't and why would he want to pitch for a team with no discernible hopes?
      I agree unimpressive list. Hudson, Peavy, and Haren are way past their "buy by" dates. Grienke will not come to a non-contender. McCarthy, Jackson, Shields, Liriano, etc. are not aces. Sign one to a short (2 year) deal if you can--in two years none will be as good as Diamond. (or hopefully Gibson).
    1. scottz's Avatar
      scottz -
      Quote Originally Posted by DAM DC Twins Fans View Post
      I agree unimpressive list. Hudson, Peavy, and Haren are way past their "buy by" dates. Grienke will not come to a non-contender. McCarthy, Jackson, Shields, Liriano, etc. are not aces. Sign one to a short (2 year) deal if you can--in two years none will be as good as Diamond. (or hopefully Gibson).
      Hypothetical: Assuming availability and that the Twins were able to agree with these players, but could only sign one, would you rather sign Carl Pavano (37 in 2013) for 1 year/$5 million or James Shields for 3 years/$36 million?

      What about Pavano or Brandon McCarthy for 3 years/$24 million?

      What about Pavano or Carlos Villenueva for 3 years/$20 million?

      The dollars are just random off the top of my head, no analysis, whatever, so don't criticize my imaginary estimates. But not going after one of the "unimpressive" guys on this list means that we're talking about a Pavano-level guy as being the free agent signing. They simply cannot be taken seriously if they go into the season next year with a rotation featuring Scott Diamond and Sam "crazy fastball" Deduno, along with LiAAAm Hendricks and Pavano-level FA and Kyle Gibson. I've been hoping to see Gibson on the squad since shortly after they drafted him, but expecting him to slide into the #1 or #2 spot doesn't really sound like a great plan to me. You have to get one legitimate outside arm to recapture the attention of your ticket-buying fan base, two to compete.
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