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  • Pressure is on for Twins starters

    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?
    This article was originally published in blog: Pressure is on for Twins starters started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 40 Comments
    1. stringer bell's Avatar
      stringer bell -
      I'd also add P.J. Walters, who is healthy and pitching very well for Rochester. Walters, like Deduno, is not on the 40-man roster. I think the pecking order for replacement is: 1) Hernandez 2) Pelfrey and then 3) Worley.
    1. Westgaard66's Avatar
      Westgaard66 -
      I think that Worley might have a longer leash than you think...


      he was the Twins big offseason acquisition. I think the FO will give him every Chance possible to be successful. The only two I really see on the ol' chopping block in Pedro and Pelf'
    1. Nick Nelson's Avatar
      Nick Nelson -
      Quote Originally Posted by Westgaard66 View Post
      I think that Worley might have a longer leash than you think...


      he was the Twins big offseason acquisition. I think the FO will give him every Chance possible to be successful. The only two I really see on the ol' chopping block in Pedro and Pelf'
      There's probably some truth to that, but they can only justify keeping him in the rotation for so long when they've got viable replacements waiting. His numbers are unbelievably bad.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by Nick Nelson View Post
      There's probably some truth to that, but they can only justify keeping him in the rotation for so long when they've got viable replacements waiting. His numbers are unbelievably bad.
      Does Worley still have an option left? A trip to the minors seems entirely therapeutically necessary, if not imminent. His WHIP and BAA numbers are the worst for any starter over the last 2 years. These numbers are the worst in 2012 of any SP in all of baseball. And his current ERA is in the Blackburn/Hernandez range and only a little over one run better than Swarzak or Marquis (the worst Twins SPs in ERA, in the 8.00+ range) put up as starters in 2012.

      The thing about Hernandez is the Twins still have a possible need for a lefty in the pen. I gotta think Worely will be gone soon, unless Pelfrey has a health setback first. It's good to have competition for the starting spots, even if it's trading mediocrity for another mediocrity, or for a rookie with something to prove.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Great article... I don't think that Pedro Hernandez's career is on the line though at all. Sure, his current starting rotation spot is, and should but, but he's left-handed and just recently turned 24. He'll be around for a long time.

      Deduno will have to walk less, so I don't think he'll be up any time soon. Walters has been very solid the last 3-4 times out. Gibson has been good in 3 of his last 4 starts. Andrew Albers has probably been the Red Wings best starter. De Vries struggled on Friday night... I think there were 3 unearned runs to go with those two earned runs. I can see him getting one more rehab appearance and then if it goes OK, move him up. If not, just option him. Alex Meyer has struggled his last couple of outings. Hendriks hasn't been terribly good with the Red Wings, but he should still be considered a future big leaguer as he too is just 24.
    1. Nick Nelson's Avatar
      Nick Nelson -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      Great article... I don't think that Pedro Hernandez's career is on the line though at all. Sure, his current starting rotation spot is, and should but, but he's left-handed and just recently turned 24. He'll be around for a long time.
      True, and I actually think he has a nice future as a lefty specialist out of the bullpen, but he probably won't get another shot at starting any time soon after this. From that perspective, this is a crucial point in his career (I'm sure his preference is to remain a starter).
    1. Brodin4Calder's Avatar
      Brodin4Calder -
      Please send Worley and Hernandez down and let Gibson and someone else get a shot. I want to see Gibson and Meyer, both can throw hard and get Ks. The Twins dont have a starter that throws above 91mph, which is truly sad. They need to get the guys up there that can get Ks so the ball isnt in play every at bat. I know its a process but Gibson and others are very close to ready.
    1. Ibzakster's Avatar
      Ibzakster -
      We are the Twins, we play defense, we employ pitchers who don't walk people and keep the ball down (or try to). We do not generally employ fireballers. It's in the Twins Geneva Convention or something, accept and move on. It's been so for years. Also a pitcher who throws 91+ does not equate a good or successful pitcher.

      As to the original topic I would enjoy seeing Hernandez and even Worley in the pen. Hopefully we have learned from previous Free Agent expectations and cut any ERAs over 7, 2 months into the season. Especially with promise (Gibson) and inexplicable results (Deduno/Devries) ready.
    1. Blackjack's Avatar
      Blackjack -
      Quote Originally Posted by Ibzakster View Post
      We are the Twins, we play defense, we employ pitchers who don't walk people and keep the ball down (or try to). We do not generally employ fireballers. It's in the Twins Geneva Convention or something, accept and move on. It's been so for years. Also a pitcher who throws 91+ does not equate a good or successful pitcher.

      As to the original topic I would enjoy seeing Hernandez and even Worley in the pen. Hopefully we have learned from previous Free Agent expectations and cut any ERAs over 7, 2 months into the season. Especially with promise (Gibson) and inexplicable results (Deduno/Devries) ready.
      Terry Ryan said on Sid's show that Worley DOES have an option left. Both him and Gardenhire emphasized that Worley needs to get the ball down. I would think after another bad start or two he'll be sent to AAA. They need him to work out the kinks by starting, not in the bullpen.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      An update: Our rotation is now 27th with an ERA of 5.18
    1. Zephrin's Avatar
      Zephrin -
      While it's nice to see a bit of pressure legitimately applied to the current crop of starters, we are still mostly talking about going from terrible ('cause how else can you characterize 5.04 era?) to mediocre for the most part. Think of this: How would Scott Diamond really match up as a Game 4 starter against other playoff teams?

      Hernandez, Worley, DeVries, Pelfrey, Correia, Deduno - none of them will be in a legitimate playoff-contending rotation (except maybe as a #5 innings eater, and as you can infer above I might prefer to see Diamond pushed down to #5 in a truly competitive rotation).

      Gibson should come up and get 10-12 starts to prepare for next year. If either May or Meyer earn a September call-up, great! The rest is just noise.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      No reason for Gibson to waste his limited innings in the minors, not with Hernandez being bad at his job. It should start there, and now. Then they should see what Pelfry / Worley do.....but this starting staff is still quite bad. I guess the question is, is it more important for their "big acquisitions" to be up for ego reasons, or to bring up other options who might be better? I'd give those two another 4 or so starts, but at what point can you have a guy with a 7 ERA remain in the rotation?
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      It's strange the Twins gave Pedro Hernandez the option to go on the bereavement list. The bereavement list is only supposed to be for a serious illness or death in the immediate family unless I've misread it. A cousin isn't immediate family.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
      An update: Our rotation is now 27th with an ERA of 5.18
      We're # 4! We're # 4! (.........From the bottom, and Milwaukee and Toronto will soon pass us at this rate, thank goodness for the Astros)
    1. jun's Avatar
      jun -
      Quote Originally Posted by stringer bell View Post
      I'd also add P.J. Walters, who is healthy and pitching very well for Rochester. Walters, like Deduno, is not on the 40-man roster. I think the pecking order for replacement is: 1) Hernandez 2) Pelfrey and then 3) Worley.
      NO the order should be 1) Worley 2) Pelfrey 3) Hernandez! Go easy on the rookie. Worley needs to be sent down immediately.
    1. jun's Avatar
      jun -
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
      Does Worley still have an option left? A trip to the minors seems entirely therapeutically necessary, if not imminent. His WHIP and BAA numbers are the worst for any starter over the last 2 years. These numbers are the worst in 2012 of any SP in all of baseball. And his current ERA is in the Blackburn/Hernandez range and only a little over one run better than Swarzak or Marquis (the worst Twins SPs in ERA, in the 8.00+ range) put up as starters in 2012.

      The thing about Hernandez is the Twins still have a possible need for a lefty in the pen. I gotta think Worely will be gone soon, unless Pelfrey has a health setback first. It's good to have competition for the starting spots, even if it's trading mediocrity for another mediocrity, or for a rookie with something to prove.
      Could you tell me what you meant by Hernandez range? How many starts has Hernandez had in the major? Go easy on the rookie. I think he is a good lefty who might have a chance to succeed in the ML if he could work hard and focus.
    1. jun's Avatar
      jun -
      Quote Originally Posted by Ibzakster View Post
      We are the Twins, we play defense, we employ pitchers who don't walk people and keep the ball down (or try to). We do not generally employ fireballers. It's in the Twins Geneva Convention or something, accept and move on. It's been so for years. Also a pitcher who throws 91+ does not equate a good or successful pitcher.

      As to the original topic I would enjoy seeing Hernandez and even Worley in the pen. Hopefully we have learned from previous Free Agent expectations and cut any ERAs over 7, 2 months into the season. Especially with promise (Gibson) and inexplicable results (Deduno/Devries) ready.
      Worley won't succeed in the bullpen since he cannot get anyone out. Trust me, he could do better in AA.
    1. adjacent's Avatar
      adjacent -
      Summarizing; Worley: worse than expected. Pelfrey: considering he is on the way back from TJ surgery, as bad as expected, although improving. Expect a clunker from time to time, though. Diamond: more or less as expected. An ERA about 3 for him is unrealistic. Correia: better than expected. I hope it continues (but it is a hope and a lot of prayer, not a reasoned argument). As for Pedro, I'll say give him one or 2 more starts, while they see if Gibson is consistent. That will give some time to sort out whether it is him or Worley the one to be replaced.
      Given the state of the bullpen, it will also gie time to sort out whether Gibson will replace a pitcher or a position player in the roster. I wouldn't be surprised if they add Hernandez as an extra bullpen arm when Gibson is added, at least temporarily.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by jun View Post
      Worley won't succeed in the bullpen since he cannot get anyone out. Trust me, he could do better in AA.
      AA? Wha?
    1. joeboo_22's Avatar
      joeboo_22 -
      The thing with Hernadez is he has to get more efficient, even when he is at his best he is a 5 inning guy. As a lefty with decent stuff, getting sent down to AAA could do him some good. As for Worley I think AAA will end up for him, but traditionally coming back from elbow surgery your command isn't 100%, he just needs to get the ball down, I think that will come, but yeah AAA is getting to be a realistic option. Pelfry, he hasn't been bad, I think he is a guy you just put out every 5 days and hope he has some trade value come July.
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