Kyle Gibson is anxious to finally reach the big leagues, and he's currently making a strong case in Triple-A with a 3.32 ERA and 1.16 WHIP through seven starts. His most recent outing was his most impressive: a complete game shutout with eight strikeouts, two walks and four hits.
Gibson is on an innings limit this year and has already logged 40 innings in Rochester, increasing the urgency to call him up soon so he can spend time adjusting to the majors, thus preparing himself for a full, successful season in 2014. But space is limited in the Twins' rotation and Gibson is not the only one vying for a spot.
Unlike Gibson, Cole De Vries was actually in line to land in the major-league rotation this spring before suffering a forearm injury that set him back about a month. De Vries made his second rehab start in New Britain on Friday night, allowing two runs over five innings and prompting Rob Antony to say
De Vries is "getting close."
Then there's Samuel Deduno. After starring in the World Baseball Classic, he also had his chance to make the Twins sabotaged by injury. He's now back and pitching in Rochester, where he has a 0.87 ERA through two starts. Deduno's control has been characteristically bad, as he's issued eight walks (against nine strikeouts) in his 10 1/3 innings of work, but he's shown the ability to succeed in spite of the walks before, and the Twins owe him a look based on the results he's gotten.
All three of these hurlers deserve a chance with the Twins, who rank 26th in the majors with a 5.04 starting pitchers' ERA. That's not even mentioning prospects Alex Meyer and Trevor May, who are excelling in Double-A. But where will the club find room?
Scott Diamond and Kevin Correia are entrenched. Mike Pelfrey seems safe after showing signs of improvement in his past few starts. Vance Worley might be getting into dangerous territory as his bad results -- and bad luck
-- have persisted through eight starts. Pedro Hernandez is probably one more dud away from getting bumped, so it's unsurprising that the left-hander declined to go on the bereavement list
after the death of his cousin last week. His career is on the line right now.
The presence of legitimate options in the minors creates a dynamic that has been lacking in Minnesota's rotation over the past couple years. Pitchers are feeling pressure to get the job done because there are players ready to take their jobs, for good. Turnover in this unit will be looked at mostly as a positive.
We've grown accustomed to injuries and performance issues leaving the starting corps decimated; when was the last time that finding enough room for all their starters was a challenge for the Twins?