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  • Who's Got Next?

    There has been plenty of speculation the last week or two about which Twins starter would be replaced in the rotation, and by whom. First, it was Kevin Correia, and now he has had two straight terrific starts including last night’s 1-0 loss to the Red Sox. Sam Deduno has had two very poor starts in a row, and now the discussion is about who will take his spot in the rotation starting on Thursday.

    The Rochester Red Wings starting rotation has been very impressive which means that speculation of who will make Deduno’s start on Thursday can lead in several directions. We’ll try to clarify that today, or at least arm you with what you need to know as it relates to the Twins decision.

    While we are at it, we’ll take a look at some of the other players (relievers and hitters) in Rochester who deserve at least consideration for a call up to the Minnesota Twins.

    RED WINGS STARTERS

    We’ve been informed via Chris Fee that Sean Gilmartin has been called up to the Red Wings and will start on Tuesday. Yohan Pino will now start on Wednesday. Alex Meyer has been pushed to Thursday. Logan Darnell follows Meyer in the Red Wings rotation. Trevor May pitched on Monday night, and Kris Johnson pitched on Sunday. So, here’s a look at the Red Wings starters and their promotion credentials.

    Alex Meyer – Meyer is the top prospect, the guy that we are all waiting for. He has been solid with the Red Wings this year. Meyer has a record of 4-3, with a 3.62 ERA. In 64.2 innings, he has given up 56 hits, walked 30 and struck out 76. We love the strikeout rate. We love the big fastball, and the fact that he has four pitches that most evaluators believe will make him a top of the rotation starter. That said, if you’re walking 4.2 per nine innings in AAA, that isn’t very good. It is his career high.

    He is coming off of his worst start of the year. He went just two innings on Friday and gave up three runs on five hits and two walks. He threw 55 pitches before being removed. The start before that he threw six shutout innings and gave up just four hits and a walk while striking out eight. The game before that, four runs in five innings. Consistency is a legit concern at this point for the 24-year-old, but there’s little question he can be a good big league starter.

    Yohan Pino – The Twins signed Pino in 2004. He was traded to Cleveland in the Carl Pavano trade in 2009. Since then, he’s been between AA and AAA but never made it to the big leagues. The 30-year-old right-hander is at least putting his name on the map as a possible call up. He is 9-1 with a 1.92 ERA and a 0.93 WHIP. Though he doesn’t throw very hard, he has been racking up strikeouts. In 61 innings, he has 61 strikeouts to go with just 16 walks. He has pitched out of the bullpen and as a starter and done well in either role.



    Kris Johnson – Johnson came to the Twins this offseason in a trade for Duke Welker, who was the player to be named later in the Justin Morneau trade to Pittsburgh. Last year, he led the International League with a 2.39 ERA. He’s doing just as well this year. He is 6-3 with a 2.60 ERA. He has 62 strikeouts and 28 walks in 72.2 innings. He did make one start for the Twins earlier in the season and went five innings. Johnson has struggled in two of his last three starts. Most recently, he gave up three runs on five hits and three walks in 5.2 innings. The start before that, he gave up two runs in eight innings. Three starts ago, he gave up five runs on four hits and three walks in five innings.

    Logan Darnell – The 25-year-old had a nice ten-day stint with the Twins earlier this season when the Twins needed a bullpen guy who could eat multiple innings. In his one appearance, he was very impressive in three shutout innings. With the Red Wings, he is 2-4 with a 2.75 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP. In 55.2 innings, he has 53 strikeouts, but he also has walked 24 (3.9 BB/9 IP). On June 8, he gave up four runs on eight hits and three walks in 5.1 innings. In his most recent start, he threw five innings and gave up only an unearned run. He gave up just three hits, but he uncharacteristically walked five. His spot in the rotation comes up on Thursday, making him the starter who is in line to start in Deduno’s spot without altering his schedule.

    Trevor May – The speculation was that the 24-year-old might be the guy to come up to replace Deduno. Some of that may be because he was on the same schedule as Kevin Correia who two starts ago looked to be on his last leg. May made his scheduled start on Monday night. He wasn’t on a pitch count limit, to be sure. He threw 120 pitches and pitched in the ninth inning and gave up just one run. Control was his biggest issue earlier in his career, but his walk rate has drop from 4.7/9 innings in 2012 to 4.0/9 innings in 2013. After last night’s start, his walk rate is at 3.5 per nine. Like Meyer, May has the “stuff” and the prospect status that people believe will give him a shot to succeed in the big leagues.

    Let’s just compare the stats of these five starters. Try your best not to look at the name and especially their ages when evaluating who has been the best, or is the most deserving of the promotion.

    Pitcher W-L ERA WHIP H/9 BB/9 K/9
    Alex Meyer 4-3 3.62 1.33 7.8 4.2 10.6
    Logan Darnell 2-4 2.75 1.37 8.4 3.9 8.6
    Kris Johnson 6-3 2.60 1.20 7.3 3.5 7.7
    Yohan Pino 9-1 1.92 0.93 6.0 2.4 9.0
    Trevor May 7-4 2.77 1.11 6.5 3.5 9.4


    There is no statistical analysis that can look at the above numbers and say that Yohan Pino is not deserving of an opportunity. However, that’s where the statistical world and the scouting world will butt heads. Many will say that Pino doesn’t have the stuff to get big league hitters out. That may very well be true. However, my opinion (and maybe mine alone) is that when you put up those kinds of numbers at the highest level below the big leagues, you deserve an opportunity just to see. That said, if any of these five guys got called up, or get called up later in the season, it will have been earned.

    If you believe Trevor May should be the one promoted, they can do so creatively. They could have Darnell start for the Twins on Thursday, in his normal spot, and then after the game send him down. At that point, there could be a shifting of the rotation such that May would start on Sunday or Monday for the Twins as well. It can happen if they choose to go in that direction. That said, if it is Logan Darnell, he’s earned the opportunity and it would be nice to see him get a handful of starts.

    THE BULLPEN OPTIONS

    Real quickly I wanted to point out that there are a couple of good options in Rochester if the Twins needed a bullpen arm (and didn’t just move a starter there). AJ Achter and Michael Tonkin both have pitched well for the Red Wings. Tonkin has the name, and he’s on the 40 man roster, and he throws pretty hard. Achter is not on the 40 man roster, doesn’t throw as hard, but has consistently put up remarkable numbers. If they were to want or need a left-hander, Aaron Thompson should be considered.

    Pitcher W-L ERA WHIP H/9 BB/9 K/9
    AJ Achter 2-2 1.38 0.61 3.6 1.9 8.5
    Michael Tonkin 1-0 1.93 1.00 7.1 1.9 9.0
    Aaron Thompson 1-2 2.67 1.15 6.7 3.7 8.3


    HITTERS

    Chris Colabello and Josmil Pinto were a big part of the Twins offense early in the season. They are each working their way back in Rochester, but a few other names are worth getting to know.

    Deibinson Romero made a strong impression with his bat in spring training, and he has continued to rake in Rochester. He is now hitting .312/.407/.468 (.875) with 17 doubles and five home runs. He does already have 15 errors at third base, but his bat may be able to play in the big leagues.

    While Romero is the hitter, the Twins have a couple of glove-first guys in Rochester who would have to be considered if the Twins need another utility infielder (they have several already). We saw Doug Bernier last year. He has been playing all over the diamond this year, and he’s hitting .288/.369/.412 with 10 doubles and three home runs. James Beresford has been the Red Wings second baseman. He’s hitting .293/.343/.360 (.703) with 11 doubles, a triple and a homer.

    Eric Farris got one at-bat in 2011 with the Milwaukee Brewers. In 2012, he went 1-8 with the Brewers. He came to the Twins a year ago and split time between New Britain and Rochester. He’s been the primary centerfielder for the Red Wings this year. He has hit .289/.328/.362 (.690).

    So, there may not be as many hitters as pitchers putting up big numbers, but it’s always nice to know who could be next should a need arise.
    Comments 67 Comments
    1. tobi0040's Avatar
      tobi0040 -
      Quote Originally Posted by golfboy1 View Post
      .I like Darnell since I think it is a good idea to have a LH starter. .
      In my book, you need a lefty starter is right up there with you need a 3rd catcher.

      To choose a guy with a 3.94 career minor league ERA with 6.4 K per 9 (Darnell) over a guy with a 3.08 ERA with 10.4 K per 9 (Meyer) because the other four pitchers are righties doesn't make sense to me.
    1. golfboy1's Avatar
      golfboy1 -
      Quote Originally Posted by tobi0040 View Post
      In my book, you need a lefty starter is right up there with you need a 3rd catcher.

      To choose a guy with a 3.94 career minor league ERA with 6.4 K per 9 (Darnell) over a guy with a 3.08 ERA with 10.4 K per 9 (Meyer) because the other four pitchers are righties doesn't make sense to me.
      I wouldn't pick Darnell only on being LH but he deserves it based on his stats. My opinion is it is a benefit to have a LH starter against certain team's lineups. Yankee stadium is a good example.

      Why are you using career stats? I don't think it's relevant what their ERA was 3 or 4 years ago. Have they improved since then? Scott Diamond's career ERA is pretty good but he's not getting promoted anytime soon.

      Darnell outpitched Meyer last yr. in AA & his stats are at least as good, if not better than Meyer's this year in AAA. I think Meyers has more upside & hopefully will be a #1 starter eventually but Darnell could be a solid starter also. He looked fine in his one ML appearance.
    1. kblack1011's Avatar
      kblack1011 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Thrylos View Post
      Nobody is putting stats similar to Pino or Achter. I suspect that Dedudo's, Burton's, Guerrier's spots (to begin with, not to mention the Colabellos of the world) would be enough
      People at AAA are and they are already on the 40 man roster.
    1. tobi0040's Avatar
      tobi0040 -
      Quote Originally Posted by golfboy1 View Post
      I wouldn't pick Darnell only on being LH but he deserves it based on his stats. My opinion is it is a benefit to have a LH starter against certain team's lineups. Yankee stadium is a good example.

      Why are you using career stats? I don't think it's relevant what their ERA was 3 or 4 years ago. Have they improved since then? Scott Diamond's career ERA is pretty good but he's not getting promoted anytime soon.

      Darnell outpitched Meyer last yr. in AA & his stats are at least as good, if not better than Meyer's this year in AAA. I think Meyers has more upside & hopefully will be a #1 starter eventually but Darnell could be a solid starter also. He looked fine in his one ML appearance.
      I used career stats because I think it is valuable to look at the last 500 IP in addition to the last 50. Meyer has an established track record of better results, by far and his stuff profiles as a lot more likely to get MLB hitters out.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by tobi0040 View Post
      The future is now. May and Meyer are upgrades now and into the future. I agree, they should replace Deduno and KC. Achter needs to get a shot as well. Johnson is 29 and Pino is 30, so they should be viewed as relief or starter depth, i.e. come up if we have a rash of injuries for a game or two, double-headers, etc.

      I don't really see where KC fits. If we can't get anything in return for him, we should DFA him. He is not helping us in the rotation blocking someone younger and better.

      I think Swarzak is perfect where we have him. A long reliever/pen guy with a 3.28 ERA last year and 3.85 this year is a useful piece.
      Correction- Swarzak's FIP is 3.85. But.....his ERA is 4.68, his xFIP is 5.32, his SIERA is 4.98...and most significantly, his K% and BB% have fallen through the floor and gone through the roof, respectively. All of this to say, that Swarzak is actually looking like he's really not very useful, and very expendable and easily replaceable at this point.
    1. Dman's Avatar
      Dman -
      Quote Originally Posted by tobi0040 View Post
      I think a logical discussion about Correa has the following two questions:

      -Are we a contending team this year?
      -If Yes, is Correa going to be an upgrade over May or Meyer right now?

      If either one of those questions is a no (I think both are). Then Correia on this team only makes sense if we want to give Corriea an extension because we view him as someone in our rotation next year and beyond. Or if we think his trade value is going to spike for some reason, at 33 and in a season where he has a mid 5.00's ERA in mid June.

      I get another a few more no's.

      I am in the camp that we have better options right now that will help us win more games this year and the fact that those are guys with a future here is a huge bonus. So this notion that Kevin is here until he pitches his way out doesn't make any sense to me.
      I am going to be a little schizophrenic on this one. It is hard to replace Correia right now as he is rebuilding some value and there is a slim chance we can get something for him at the Trade deadline. Ultimately though I agree your thinking. Despite the recent interest we are not going to contend this year. We don't have the pitching fire power we need to compete. So why not Bring up a couple of guys and get them some MLB experience? Worst case is they can't adjust right away and get sent back down, but wouldn't you like to know that or have that happen sooner rather than later. We need to build pitching talent to compete. Let's see what we have and get them as much experience as possible this year so that maybe we don't have to waste all of next year developing them.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by JB_Iowa View Post
      I agree with that. It is pretty clear from the last couple of games that Correia has learned something about PITCHING (as opposed to throwing) over the years. He frustrates me terribly when there are 2 on in the first inning but at least lately, he has escaped.

      I think it comes down to the value of getting May/Meyer experience in MLB vs. trying to win this year.

      At this point (while they are still trying to win this year), keeping KC in the rotation makes sense as long as he pitches like he has the last couple of games. A month from now, this team may be in an entirely different place. "Contending" may seem hopeless. KC may have fallen apart again -- or he may have built good trade value.

      I just can't see doing anything with him now. In July??? Whole different story. And really, that would still be time to get May (and maybe Meyers) some time at the mlb level.
      It's amazing how the prospect of legitimate competition for your starting spot, plus being in a contract year, can focus the mind. KC is clearly a different pitcher of late.
    1. tobi0040's Avatar
      tobi0040 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Dman View Post
      I am going to be a little schizophrenic on this one. It is hard to replace Correia right now as he is rebuilding some value and there is a slim chance we can get something for him at the Trade deadline. Ultimately though I agree your thinking. Despite the recent interest we are not going to contend this year. We don't have the pitching fire power we need to compete. So why not Bring up a couple of guys and get them some MLB experience? Worst case is they can't adjust right away and get sent back down, but wouldn't you like to know that or have that happen sooner rather than later. We need to build pitching talent to compete. Let's see what we have and get them as much experience as possible this year so that maybe we don't have to waste all of next year developing them.
      I agree. When we had threads in spring training about what success this year means, everyone talked about clarity and development. Let's see guys take a step forward and lets get some clarity about what it is we have. Despite having a few more wins than I would have thought, I still think whether or not this year is a success depends on these things. So leaving Kevin around because he has strung together a few starts doesn't seem to fit to the big picture.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Quote Originally Posted by tobi0040 View Post
      I agree. When we had threads in spring training about what success this year means, everyone talked about clarity and development. Let's see guys take a step forward and lets get some clarity about what it is we have. Despite having a few more wins than I would have thought, I still think whether or not this year is a success depends on these things. So leaving Kevin around because he has strung together a few starts doesn't seem to fit to the big picture.
      I suspect that the big picture involves getting something of value for KC. Like it or not. And as long as he's pitching well, that's going to be the position of the FO. They have May lined up with him in the rotation right now. I suspect that means that they full expect May to replace KC at some point in the near future.
    1. tobi0040's Avatar
      tobi0040 -
      Quote Originally Posted by diehardtwinsfan View Post
      I suspect that the big picture involves getting something of value for KC. Like it or not. And as long as he's pitching well, that's going to be the position of the FO. They have May lined up with him in the rotation right now. I suspect that means that they full expect May to replace KC at some point in the near future.
      You may be right. Hopefully the market has been gauged and it is worth the wait. I would be shocked if we got a player that cracks our top 20 list. If it is between a Miguel Sulbaren type prospect or another 10 starts for Meyer or May, I will take the latter.
    1. spycake's Avatar
      spycake -
      Quote Originally Posted by golfboy1 View Post
      I wouldn't pick Darnell only on being LH but he deserves it based on his stats.
      Careful with his stats -- Darnell has allowed the most unearned runs on the Rochester staff (10). His RA this year would be 4.37, which is the highest of any Rochester started not named Diamond. His FIP is the highest of that group too. Plus he is barely averaging 5 IP per start, and has a BB/9 almost as high as Meyer's supposedly problematic one (and not nearly as many K/9).

      Not that he is a terrible option, but Darnell is perhaps the least exciting of the AAA starters to me right now. (Although he is notably younger than Johnson and Pino, I suppose.)
    1. tobi0040's Avatar
      tobi0040 -
      Quote Originally Posted by spycake View Post
      Careful with his stats -- Darnell has allowed the most unearned runs on the Rochester staff (10). His RA this year would be 4.37, which is the highest of any Rochester started not named Diamond. His FIP is the highest of that group too. Plus he is barely averaging 5 IP per start, and has a BB/9 almost as high as Meyer's supposedly problematic one (and not nearly as many K/9).

      Not that he is a terrible option, but Darnell is perhaps the least exciting of the AAA starters to me right now. (Although he is notably younger than Johnson and Pino, I suppose.)

      Another reason why K rates and career numbers are valuable.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by spycake View Post
      Seth: I am a Pino fan too, but it should be noted his K/9 rate is only 6.9 while starting this year. He's been his most effective, strikeout-wise, out of the pen (although his control and run prevention have been consistently good across both roles). He might be a better bullpen/swingman option than permanent starter (maybe taking Swarzak's spot?).

      I completely agree that he is a swingman. That's what he has been in Rochester.
    1. golfboy1's Avatar
      golfboy1 -
      Quote Originally Posted by spycake View Post
      Careful with his stats -- Darnell has allowed the most unearned runs on the Rochester staff (10). His RA this year would be 4.37, which is the highest of any Rochester started not named Diamond. His FIP is the highest of that group too. Plus he is barely averaging 5 IP per start, and has a BB/9 almost as high as Meyer's supposedly problematic one (and not nearly as many K/9).

      Not that he is a terrible option, but Darnell is perhaps the least exciting of the AAA starters to me right now. (Although he is notably younger than Johnson and Pino, I suppose.)
      It's possible to make a good case for a number of pitchers. That's a huge improvement from previous years. While I said Darnell deserved it based on his stats, there are other pitchers who could also make that claim.

      Meyers is the most exciting for me & May has really taken a leap forward this year so I'd be happy with either one of them. Meyers isn't on the roster so I would give him a little less chance then the others. It seems to me, the Twins aren't in a rush to promote May. They want him to build on his success before advancing him. IMHO
    1. spycake's Avatar
      spycake -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      I completely agree that he is a swingman. That's what he has been in Rochester.
      Yes. But listing him as a starter, and listing his combined rate stats in the same table as the other starters, is a little misleading. AAA swingmen are generally viewed more as MLB bullpen options, I think; I doubt Pino would be viewed as a real option for a spot MLB start, even if he was on the 40-man roster.
    1. jorgenswest's Avatar
      jorgenswest -
      They may call someone up to be in the bullpen as the 13th pitcher. One more start for Deduno on a short leash with Darnell or someone ready to come in.

      With the day off on Monday, they would next need a 5th starter on June 28. Trevor May could slot in at that point.

      They would need to make a roster move to get to 13. If Nunez is healthy, it can be Florimon. If not, put Nunez on DL.
    1. spycake's Avatar
      spycake -
      Quote Originally Posted by golfboy1 View Post
      It's possible to make a good case for a number of pitchers. That's a huge improvement from previous years. While I said Darnell deserved it based on his stats, there are other pitchers who could also make that claim.
      In my opinion, Darnell might be the least deserving of the Rochester starting five right now. In addition to the runs and FIP and walk rate and low IP/GS, he has yet to pitch beyond 6.1 innings in a start this year. I think all of the other starters (excluding Meyer and his pitch limit) have gone deeper into games.

      I might prefer Darnell as bullpen help at the moment, rather than a starter replacement.
    1. HansGruber's Avatar
      HansGruber -
      Quote Originally Posted by spycake View Post
      In my opinion, Darnell might be the least deserving of the Rochester starting five right now. In addition to the runs and FIP and walk rate and low IP/GS, he has yet to pitch beyond 6.1 innings in a start this year. I think all of the other starters (excluding Meyer and his pitch limit) have gone deeper into games.

      I might prefer Darnell as bullpen help at the moment, rather than a starter replacement.
      I am with you on Darnell, he does not excite me as a starting rotation option but could be a solid BP arm. If he works out in the bullpen he could be used as a spot starter in emergency situations.
      I wouldn't mind seeing the team make two roster moves. The bullpen could use help just as much as the rotation, now that Pino is getting a shot they could replace any of Deduno, Burton or Swarzak with Darnell, Achter, Tonkin or even Pino and let May start Monday. It might be too much shake-up for the Twins to stomach in a short period but there are a number of deserving pitchers to be called up and a number of spots that could use an upgrade.
    1. Lonestar's Avatar
      Lonestar -
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
      It's amazing how the prospect of legitimate competition for your starting spot, plus being in a contract year, can focus the mind. KC is clearly a different pitcher of late.
      It didn't work for him in 2012 in Pittsburgh.
    1. h2oface's Avatar
      h2oface -
      Correia will bring nothing in trade even if he pitches well until the deadline. People aren't fooled. He has been well over .300 batting average against all year. You will get the same now as at anytime...... or nothing. The Twins have no chance with the present staff in the Playoffs if they even get there, which is still very doubtful. If the young pitchers pitch to a 5.00 era........ how have you lost anything? And they could surprise us all. Waiting until their arm is dead in August and have them throwing 120 pitches in AAA is not setting them up for success. Making them wait just frustrates them, and deservedly so. So, let the young guns try to help the Twins get to the Playoffs. May as well have the young pitching seasoned in the bigs when the bats get here. And 24-26 isn't really young anymore. That is getting to be prime time. 20-23 is young. Or....... wait until they aren't young anymore and then find out..... as that seems to be the current "Twins' Way". But then you have 27-30 year old pitchers and you can't bring them up no matter how well they do, because they are old.
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