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  • Three-Bagger: Worley, Correia & Florimon

    * Vance Worley made his first start for Class-AAA Rochester on Monday after being demoted last week. Facing Lehigh Valley, the Triple-A affiliate for his former organization, Worley delivered a five-hit shutout.

    Before we go making proclamations about the Twins' Opening Day starter's ills being miraculously cured, it bears noting that his peripherals were less than stellar; he threw only 74 of 119 pitches for strikes and issued four walks against four strikeouts. Really, the biggest change was that balls put into play were turning into outs rather than hits, which tends to happen against minor-league competition.

    Nevertheless, the shutdown effort undoubtedly provided some much-needed confidence for Worley, who has been battling through the most tumultuous stretch of his professional career. Hopefully he can continue to build on this success and quickly work his way back up.

    * The acquisition of Worley is one of many offseason decisions that haven't worked out especially well for the Twins thus far, but we also should recognize that a few of the team's moves have indeed paid dividends. One such example is the signing of Kevin Correia, who picked up his fifth win on Monday by holding the Brewers to three runs over six innings.


    The Correia contract was widely panned when it was inked in December, and I was as vocal as anyone in my criticism. The right-hander brought over a poor track record from the National League and Terry Ryan's insistence about Correia being "better than the numbers" was met with great skepticism given this club's past efforts in the free agent pitching arena.

    We're not quite a third of the way through the season yet, but to Ryan's credit, Correia has to this point been as advertised (by the Twins, not the numbers). He's striking out fewer hitters than ever -- unsurprising for a 32-year-old lifelong NL guy coming over to the Junior Circuit -- but still he's been the lone bright spot in an otherwise disastrous rotation, with a 3.96 ERA and 1.30 WHIP. On a staff whose members have frequently struggled to get through even five innings, Correia has completed six or more in seven of his 10 starts.

    Most of the veteran's past trends have remained in force; the biggest difference for him in a Twins uniform has been markedly improved control. In his career, he has averaged 3.4 walks per nine innings, but this season he's handed out just 10 free passes in 63 2/3 innings for a 1.4 BB/9 rate. The Rick Anderson effect?

    Despite my lingering doubts regarding Correia -- and pitchers who allow tons of contact in general -- I have maintained an open mind and must admit that I enjoy watching him pitch. He works quickly and seems to have a good plan for each hitter. He's not afraid to show some emotion out there. He fails to execute his pitches occasionally -- Monday's three-homer outing serves as a fine example -- but he bounces back and gets after it. In many ways, his game reminds me of Carl Pavano's.

    Those are the things that Ryan saw in Correia. Whether these strengths can continue to keep the the hurler afloat, in spite of his extreme contact tendencies, remains to be seen. For now I'm happy to give the Twins' brass some props amidst the justifiable venom being spewed toward their overall handling of the rotation.

    * Another decision I had major doubts about was Minnesota's commitment to Pedro Florimon as starting shortstop this season. Here was a guy with a marginal track record, passed on by every organization in baseball less than a year ago, and now the Twins were plugging him in as their starter at a crucial position with no feasible backup plan.

    Through these first two months of the season however, it hasn't been hard for me to see why the organization values him. Florimon's game is still raw in many respects, but he's an athletic ballplayer with an outstanding arm and some intriguing offensive abilities. This was all on display in Monday's win, when he went 2-for-4 with a double at the dish and started three double plays in the field.

    Florimon's hitting line stands at .255/.328/.368, which is hardly spectacular but perfectly adequate for a defensive specialist hitting toward the bottom of the lineup. His ability to make things happen on the bases (6-for-6 on steals) adds another dimension. He'll never be a big asset as a starter, but I've come around on the idea that Florimon could be a legitimately decent stopgap for a few years. This would be big for an organization that lacks both short- and long-term solutions at shortstop.

    As with Correia, it'd be no surprise if Florimon's flaws and history eventually caught up with him, but for now: kudos Twins.
    This article was originally published in blog: Three-Bagger: Worley, Correia & Florimon started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 24 Comments
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Nevertheless, the shutdown effort undoubtedly provided some much-needed confidence for Worley
      I think this is the key. That's the key. Get some success. Start feeling confident, then worry about the other stuff..

      Nice article!
    1. Badsmerf's Avatar
      Badsmerf -
      I'm in agreement on Florimon. He's looked much better at the plate and in the field. I view him as the type of player we had all hoped Casilla would be. I see him as having a little more pop with less contact and patience. I'm fine with him at SS for awhile too. Plus, he still has room to keep improving. Danny Santana has started hitting a little bit in AA, but for 2013 and probably 2014 Florimon will have an everyday spot.
    1. Willihammer's Avatar
      Willihammer -
      KC did serve up 3 more taters today. All solos. 3 more double plays too. He's outperforming his peripherals by a half run or better due, in part I think, to the great timing of these dingers. 9/10 have been solo shots.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by Willihammer View Post
      KC did serve up 3 more taters today. All solos. 3 more double plays too. He's outperforming his peripherals by a half run or better due, in part I think, to the great timing of these dingers. 9/10 have been solo shots.
      The DP in the first inning was a line drive screamer to SS with no outs and the bases loaded- and then a poor base-running effort by the runner at Second Base too far off the bag to get two. Why do I think that if Braun and one of the other injured Brewers had been in the lineup today that Corriea may very well have not survived the first inning?

      The 2 Home Runs that Gomez hit, especially the first one, were positively savage and conceivably nightmare-inducing for the pitcher that threw them. Credit to Correia for battling through it today, I still have grave doubts that he will end up hitting his career averages before all is said and done. Also, as I've stated elsewhere, KC dodging the Tigers this weekend was a very solid career move for him.
    1. Physics Guy's Avatar
      Physics Guy -
      Nice article Nick. I have been pulling for Florimon to somehow provide adequate production at SS and he seems to be doing it. I would be happy with an OPS in the mid-600's out of him for the season if he can continue to limit the errors/mental mistakes. He is just a stop-gap, but at his current production I am happy with that.
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      Florimon has been fantastic so far. I'm in love with his game (even the scraggly beard). Should be noted that he's produced close to 1.0 WAR already and has arguably been the best defensive SS in the majors so far. He may not have much power, but he's hitting .385/.452/.615 with RISP. Cannot tell you how much I've seen him come through in the clutch. Exactly what we've needed from a Twins SS for years. He's been a quality starter and I hope he continues and proves you more wrong about the "stopgap" idea (in a positive way). Am I saying there's a chance he will be starting for the next 5-6 years? No, but with this SSS he's at least proving that he's capable of providing the level of play necessary.
    1. Brandon's Avatar
      Brandon -
      My issue with the Correia signing was that it was for 2 years. That meant the Twins were punting 2013 and 2014 in my mind. If he can pitch 200+ innings this season he will have accomplished his mission and the contract may be a bargain for this season. Next season will be another thing as hopefully Meyer and Gibson are up and one of Walters or Dedunno becomes successful up here and Worely and Diamond gives us an extra starter next season and we wont be dependent on Correia to be a #2 starter but maybe a #5
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by YourHouseIsMyHouse View Post
      Should be noted that he's produced close to 1.0 WAR already and has arguably been the best defensive SS in the majors so far.
      He's been a pleasant surprise for sure, in all aspects of his game, after a shaky start...but he's not the best defensive SS in the majors...no way.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      yup, they've both surprised.....I'll just leave the rest of my comments off....
    1. jmlease1's Avatar
      jmlease1 -
      Correia has been a pleasant surprise. I hope it's sustainable; if so, then this will turn out to be a good signing even with the extra year that I felt was so foolish. I'll be perfectly happy with Correia in the rotation next season as hopefully the 4th starter behind guys like Gibson, Diamond, and hopefully Worley. As an innings-eating 4th/5th starter next season he could end up being an even bigger asset. Credit where it's due: this move has worked out.

      Worley's struggles have honestly shocked me. I didn't expect him to be an ace, but I really thought he'd be a guy that you could count on for 6+ innings in the majority of his starts with solid performance. He wasn't the prize in that trade but looked like a terrific stabilizing/bridge option in the rotation while the younger guys developed. So far he's been a wreck. Hopefully a few starts down in AAA will get his confidence back up, they can iron out any mechanical difficulties he might be having and get him on track.

      Florimon has been solid, which is something the Twins have really needed at SS. He still has too many brainlocks out there which leads to him making an error that seems utterly baffling, but he's not a black hole at the plate and when he's on can be a plus defender. His age & price make him a nice choice at SS. But I agree 100% that the Twins don't really have a long-term solution at the position and that's not a good thing.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by jmlease1 View Post
      Correia has been a pleasant surprise. I hope it's sustainable; if so, then this will turn out to be a good signing even with the extra year that I felt was so foolish. I'll be perfectly happy with Correia in the rotation next season as hopefully the 4th starter behind guys like Gibson, Diamond, and hopefully Worley. As an innings-eating 4th/5th starter next season he could end up being an even bigger asset. Credit where it's due: this move has worked out.

      Worley's struggles have honestly shocked me. I didn't expect him to be an ace, but I really thought he'd be a guy that you could count on for 6+ innings in the majority of his starts with solid performance. He wasn't the prize in that trade but looked like a terrific stabilizing/bridge option in the rotation while the younger guys developed. So far he's been a wreck. Hopefully a few starts down in AAA will get his confidence back up, they can iron out any mechanical difficulties he might be having and get him on track.

      Florimon has been solid, which is something the Twins have really needed at SS. He still has too many brainlocks out there which leads to him making an error that seems utterly baffling, but he's not a black hole at the plate and when he's on can be a plus defender. His age & price make him a nice choice at SS. But I agree 100% that the Twins don't really have a long-term solution at the position and that's not a good thing.
      Correia is staying true to form so far...very good April, then it all starts going downhill. Not sure we're anywhere near close enough to make a call on how he is turning out.
    1. fairweather's Avatar
      fairweather -
      This was very well written. It's a lesson on writing positive without leaving out the necessary negatives that needed to be mentioned.
    1. Riverbrian's Avatar
      Riverbrian -
      Quote Originally Posted by fairweather View Post
      This was very well written. It's a lesson on writing positive without leaving out the necessary negatives that needed to be mentioned.
      Nick is very good... He is always worth reading.
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
      The DP in the first inning was a line drive screamer to SS with no outs and the bases loaded- and then a poor base-running effort by the runner at Second Base too far off the bag to get two.
      This is what bugs me about the Twins rosters, even back when they were winning divisions. The Piranha approach can work when the competition is like this, making mistakes that cost them. That lets you rack up enough wins to get to the postseason, when it works. But then you run into playoff teams who do not get themselves out and who do not give you 4 outs of your own.
    1. Nick Nelson's Avatar
      Nick Nelson -
      Quote Originally Posted by Riverbrian View Post
      Nick is very good... He is always worth reading.
      Thanks guys!
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
      He's been a pleasant surprise for sure, in all aspects of his game, after a shaky start...but he's not the best defensive SS in the majors...no way.
      That's opinion. He's leading all shortstops in range factor, boasts close to a .980% Fielding, 2nd in Zone runs, and 2nd in Double Plays. His fielding rating per fangraphs is 6th behind Andrus, Simmons, Pennington, Drew and Tulowitski. He's not the best, but don't act like it's much of a stretch.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      It was you who said he was arguably the best defensive shortstop in the majors this year and now in this post you say he isn't. So why are you so bothered I was definitive in my statement that he isn't?

      He's 8th in RZR (actual range), he's 20th in plays made OOZ, he's 5th in UZR and he's 11th in defensive runs saved. And, not only that, you watch some of the other guys play the position, like Tulo, Simmons and Andrus, yeah I think it's a stretch to suggest he's the best defensive SS in baseball.

      I know it's the in thing to say that everything is opinion, but not everything is opinion. I don't see any argument that can be made for Florimon to be considered the best defensive shortstop. You haven't made one that's convincing.

      In my opinion, an argument could be made for Tulo and Simmons along with Andrus. If I'm just going off what I've seen this year, it's Simmons and Tulo neck and neck. As long as Brendan Ryan is healthy, he may very well he there in the discusssion at the end of the year too.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
      yeah, he's had a lot of Ops due to our pitching staff having a lot of balls in play.

      ...but he's 8th in RZR (actual range), he's 20th in plays made OOZ, he's 5th in UZR and he's 11th in defensive runs saved. And, not only that, you watch some of the other guys play the position, like Tulo, Simmons and Andrus, yeah I think it's a stretch to suggest he's the best defensive SS in baseball.
      Thanks for the supporting defensive stats. They certainly confirm the eye test. Rather than thinking about placing him amongst the defensive elite at SS, how about we just see if he can sustain anything close to his May numbers for a longer period, or it may be he's just another in a long list of Latin teases at SS for the Twins.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
      Thanks for the supporting defensive stats. They certainly confirm the eye test. Rather than thinking about placing him amongst the defensive elite at SS, how about we just see if he can sustain anything close to his May numbers for a longer period, or it may be he's just another in a long list of Latin teases at SS for the Twins.
      Like I said, I've been pleasantly surprised by him. Me saying definitively that he isn't the best defensive shortstop was no slight on him. There can only be on person who is the best at each spot. It's not like I was saying he was bad.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
      Like I said, I've been pleasantly surprised by him. Me saying definitively that he isn't the best defensive shortstop was no slight on him. There can only be on person who is the best at each spot. It's not like I was saying he was bad.
      No, he's been anything but bad. I think he's performed at a level that was about the best that any realistic fan could hope for. It's just that it seems for certain fans, if any Twin exceeds expectations particularly based on the SSS, they go completely to the extreme- to characterizations that include references to "the best" at the position.
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