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  • Twins Still Have Room For Pitching

    The major priority of the Minnesota Twins' General Manager, Terry Ryan, has been to re-build a starting rotation that has been at the bottom of the major leagues in pretty much every statistical category in 2013. There is general agreement that the rotation was pretty much a mess in 2013 and needed fixing. There is also the general impression that the Twins' pen was the strength of the team and it is better left alone. However, in 2013 the Twins' pen ranked:

    17th out of 30 MLB teams as far as ERA goes
    17th out of 30 MLB teams as far as FIP goes
    17th out of 30 MLB teams as far as SIERA goes
    8th out of 30 MLB teams as far as WHIP goes
    19th out of 30 MLB teams as far as K% goes

    In other words, the Twins' pen which, compared to the Twins' rotation, seemed great, when compared to the rest of the major league pens is average in a lot of ways.

    Busted myth number one: The Twins' pen was not great in 2013 and, while it might have been a bright point in 2013 compared to the rest of the team, it does not cut the mustard compared to the rest of league.

    There is a lot of room for improvement and I suspect Terry Ryan will address it before spring training, likely helping the Twins be competitive in 2014.

    Originally published at The Tenth Inning Stretch

    After the recent additions of new and returning starting pitchers there have been arguments that the Twins have too many starting pitchers and there is a logjam of pitchers on the Twins' roster.

    I thought it might be a good time to take a breath and look at what the Twins have on their 40-man roster as far as pitching goes and see whether this argument is true or not.

    Here is the Twins' forty man roster broken down in to, groups alphabetically (players in bold are out of options):

    Group A: Starting pitchers with no options signed to sizeable contracts the last two seasons.

    Kevin Correia (RHSP)
    Phil Hughes (RHSP)
    Rick Nolasco (RHSP)
    Mike Pelfrey (RHSP)



    Group B: Relief pitchers with no options signed to sizeable contracts the last two seasons or offered arbitration.

    Jared Burton (RHRP)
    Brian Duensing (LHSP/RP)
    Glen Perkins (LHRP)
    Anthony Swarzak (RHSP/RP)



    Group C: Starting pitchers with no options and small contracts who have played in the majors for more than three seasons.

    Sam Deduno (RHSP)
    Scott Diamond (LHSP)
    Vance Worley (RHSP)


    Group D: Starting and relief pitchers with options and small contracts who have played in the majors for at least one season.

    Andrew Albers (LHSP)
    Casey Fien (RHRP)
    Kyle Gibson (RHSP)
    Kris Johnson (LHSP)
    Ryan Pressly (RHRP)
    Caleb Thielbar (LHRP)
    Michael Tonkin (RHRP)


    Group E: Starting and relief pitchers with options and small contracts who have never played in the majors.

    Logan Darnell (LHSP)
    Edgar Ibarra (LHRP)
    Trevor May (RHSP)


    Broken down this way, the perceived logjam of Twins' staring pitchers becomes less of a logjam:

    The Twins usually have a 12 man pitching staff. They currently have 4 starters and 4 relievers (groups A and B) who are pretty much guaranteed a job. This opens 4 more positions, one in the rotation and three in the pen. If you assume the Twins value all pitchers in Group C who are out of options, they have the space to find them all a major league job, as well as allow another pitcher, likely from Group D or potentially outside the organization, to gain a rotation or bullpen position. The others will provide depth in AAA and be available in case of emergency or potentially be offered in trades to fill additional Twins' needs, like position players.

    Busted myth number two: There is no pitching logjam on the Twins' roster.

    In other words, the Twins do have a lot of pitching depth in their 40-man roster, but they are not in a logjam situation where they cannot accommodate all their pitchers without options on the 25 man roster. And this assumes Samuel Deduno who is recuperating from double (labrum and rotation cuff) shoulder surgery is available to start the season.

    While it is too early to name names to complete the rotation and the pen, this early assessment shows the Twins do not have any sort of a pitching logjam and also have plenty of options.


    This article was originally published in blog: By the numbers: a body count of the Twins' pitching depth for 2014 and myth busting started by Thrylos
    Comments 44 Comments
    1. howieramone's Avatar
      howieramone -
      Quote Originally Posted by Alex View Post
      I just want to add agreement that there is a disconnect between busting both myths, even if the the conclusions are technically true. Moving two or three pitchers to the pen who aren't proven relievers is a long shot to make the pen better

      So, solving one problem with the other, in this case, doesn't make sense.
      The too much starting pitching dilemma which seems to be causing undue angst to a handful, prior to Thanksgiving would have seemed like a gift from Heaven. I would guess even those with Pro-Ryan leanings were surprised how quickly and thoroughly he positioned the starting pitching rotation towards respectability, not only for 2014, but for several years beyond. If Diamond and/or Worley are lost for little or no value, it seems like a small price to pay for a team which lost 90+ games 3 years in a row and had the worst starting rotation in baseball in 2013.

      It's very common for teams to restructure the bullpen every offseason. With an acceptable core and many internal options available, I can't imagine it's a concern of any magnitude at One Twins Way.
    1. Dantes929's Avatar
      Dantes929 -
      Innings per appearance seems to be of marginal value in determining the quality of a bullpen. # of appearances is significant but really if you have an extra 100+ innings to spread around and your innings per appearance is average then you simply have to use more guys you don't want to. If our starters consistently give 6 or 7 innings with the short starts being rare then you have fewer innings and appearances to deal with and a larger share is being done by your best pitchers. I don't thinks its a myth. We have a good bullpen. Maybe not great but plenty good and if they had the KC rotation and handling they would show it. Remember how Guerrier would get dead arm when his pace for a season was over 70 appearances. KC had zero relievers with over 70 appearances. Twins had 3. Goes back to my theory that it is much easier on a relievers arm to pitch 2 innings every third day than it is to pitch 1 inning twice every 3 days. The fact that the Twins have league average innings per appearance is a very bad thing when considering that they had that many more innings to pitch. That just translates to more appearances which to me means overworked.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by howieramone View Post
      The too much starting pitching dilemma which seems to be causing undue angst to a handful, prior to Thanksgiving would have seemed like a gift from Heaven. I would guess even those with Pro-Ryan leanings were surprised how quickly and thoroughly he positioned the starting pitching rotation towards respectability, not only for 2014, but for several years beyond. If Diamond and/or Worley are lost for little or no value, it seems like a small price to pay for a team which lost 90+ games 3 years in a row and had the worst starting rotation in baseball in 2013.

      It's very common for teams to restructure the bullpen every offseason. With an acceptable core and many internal options available, I can't imagine it's a concern of any magnitude at One Twins Way.
      Agreed- the undue angst on disturbing the sacrosanct status quo is typical and somewhat comical. And teams successfully move SPs to RPs and back the other way all the time. Not every move like this ends up being Slowey-esque.


      I would guess even those with Pro-Ryan leanings were surprised how quickly and thoroughly he positioned the starting pitching rotation towards respectability,
      Here's where we disagree....I would guess especially those with Pro-Ryan leanings were surprised how quickly the rotation could be upgraded.

      Most of us neutral or anti-status quo FO have been clamoring that upgrades in the rotation are not only doable, but affordable and necessary since post-2010.
    1. Alex's Avatar
      Alex -
      I think there's a difference between never having "too much start pitching" and never having "too much good starting pitching."

      No one was against the Twins acquiring good starting pitching, and hopefully Pelfrey is better and Hughes pitches better at Target Field and/or recognizes his potential.

      Hopefully the Twins did acquire upgrades that will help them both short and long term and that they are able to transition players that could have higher upside or those they let go aren't missed opportunities.
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