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  • SP Depth Chart - 8/22

    The status and outlook of the rotation is bound to be the biggest storyline for the Twins down the stretch and into the offseason. Clearly, there is no unit on this roster in a greater state of flux.

    Scott Diamond Sits Atop The Pitching Depth ChartAs a new feature here on Twins Daily, we thought we'd start taking periodic glances at the starting pitching depth chart to provide a big-picture look at what the club currently has and what's in the pipeline. We'll post updates every few weeks, adjusting for performance swings, injuries and roster additions/subtractions.

    The top five guys are the ones currently in the Twins' rotation. After that, it gets a little subjective, but this is the pecking order as we see it. Feel free to voice your own opinion on these rankings, and on how far the team is from fielding a respectable rotation in 2013.

    1. Scott Diamond. The surprise of the year continues to excel. He's turned in five straight quality starts and posted a 2.95 ERA overall in 128 innings. How long can he sustain his success with one of the league's lowest strikeout rates?

    2. Sam Deduno. His "effectively wild" approach has held up thus far, as he's managed a 4-1 record and 3.33 ERA despite tallying more walks than strikeouts. Hard to expect that to continue, but right now he's got a pretty airtight case as the team's second-best starter.

    3. Brian Duensing. His extreme vulnerability against right-handed hitters makes him a far better option in the bullpen, but Duensing is a solid pitcher and he has quietly turned in a 3.77 ERA in four starts since rejoining the rotation at the end of July.

    4. Cole De Vries. A recent "sad but true" tweet from Patrick Reusse: "Every time Cole De Vries retires a big-league hitter I'm surprised." In spite of his lackluster stuff, the righty has decent peripherals and continues to squeak by. He turned in a solid outing against the punchless A's last night.

    5. Liam Hendriks. The rookie returns to the rotation on Wednesday night after Nick Blackburn's surprising DFA earlier this week. Hendriks hardly could have been worse during a couple earlier stints with the Twins, but has been nearly untouchable in Triple-A with 76 hits allowed in 106 innings. It will be interesting to see how he performs in this low-pressure late-season audition; he could rise fast on this list.

    ---

    6. Anthony Swarzak. He's clearly better suited for his current relief role, but I have to believe Swarzak would be the first guy Ron Gardenhire would call upon if he needed another starter at this moment.

    7. Esmerling Vasquez. Like Deduno, Vasquez is an erratic right-hander in his late 20s who limits hits but hands out tons of walks. He probably deserves a chance but it's not clear the Twins are willing to deal with two such pitchers in the their rotation at once.

    8. Nick Blackburn. The club's decision to remove him not only from the 25-man roster but the 40-man roster is a sign that they've soured on him badly. Still, he's under contract for $5 million next year so if he shows signs of life in Triple-A he'll probably get another chance.

    9. Kyle Gibson. Recovering from Tommy John surgery, the former first-round pick has looked very sharp in 11 rehab outings between rookie ball and Single-A. He'll need to carry that to the upper levels before he's viewed as a legitimate option for the big-league rotation, but so far all signs are positive.

    10. Pedro Hernandez. Acquired in the Francisco Liriano trade, Hernandez is a classic Twins pitch-to-contact type and thus far he's allowed 23 hits in 15 innings for Rochester since coming over. He might get a glance in September just because, but he's got much to prove before entering the mix for next year. Plus, he left last night's game in Triple-A with an injury.
    This article was originally published in blog: SP Depth Chart - 8/22 started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 75 Comments
    1. Steve Penz's Avatar
      Steve Penz -
      Quote Originally Posted by stringer bell View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by diehardtwinsfan View Post
      So to be honest with this list, I think most teams would be happy to have Diamond next year and rely on one of Hendricks/Gibson to be starters. The rest classify as depth for an AAA rotation. This team needs 3 SPs up at the top. It would be in their best interest to make a calculated FA splash on one guy, trade Span or Morneau for another, and sign a couple of guys to very cheap prove it contracts like they did with Zumaya last season. I don't necessarily expect it to work, but it is the type of deal you do because every now and then, a team gets a guy like Erik Bedard on the cheap. But the reality is that this rotation is pretty bad. I wouldn't mind seeing them give Vasquez a shot just to see if his peripherals can hold up in Minnesota, but given his age, I'm not expecting much.
      I pretty much agree. Sign a middle to upper level free agent starter--I've said Guthrie on other threads before he almost threw a no-hitter, get someone close to ready in a trade for an established position player, and then spend a little speculative money.
      I am a serial scanner and have just now realized that my post is a bit redundant to this one.
    1. birdwatcher's Avatar
      birdwatcher -
      Sigh. You know, twinswon1991, a monkey would provide us with more intelligent stuff than what you throw up on here. And less boring.

      Any chance you could find a new place to throw your tantrums? Maybe go back to the floor of Target where you perfected your craft. Geez.
    1. Rosterman's Avatar
      Rosterman -
      Manship option...
    1. birdwatcher's Avatar
      birdwatcher -
      My thoughts and wish list are:

      Large ifs, but IF Baker and Gibson are set to go, the rotation would be 1. A #2-3 starter via FA; 2. A #2-3 starter via trade; 3. Baker, hope for #2-3 type performance; 4. Gibson, hope for #2-3 type performance; 5. Diamong, hope for #3-4 type performance. Rochester starters, and of course insurance: 1. Hendriks; 2. Vasquez; 3. Walters; 4. Hernandez; 5. Deduno; 6. DeVries, with Hermsen, Bromberg and others in the wings. Swarzak and Duensing in the pen. Blackburn gone. Please.

      This could be done without breaking the bank, without depleting the lineup, and without decimating the farm system. And no more 100-loss whining tantrums around here. You OK with this idea, twinswon1991?

      "Waaaaaaah!"

      OK, twinswon1991, have an animal cracker. Look, it's a monkey!
    1. Nick Nelson's Avatar
      Nick Nelson -
      Quote Originally Posted by DAM DC Twins Fans View Post
      Very valid point. Walters should be on this chart--maybe number 5.

      Are we (you) writing off Baker and Pavs?? I assume Twins will offer incentive laden contracts to both--neither will have much value on the free agent market. It is worth a shot to bring back both (only on incentive laden contracts)--one could come back.
      Walters is on the DL, as are Baker and Pavs. Injured players are not included – the idea is to provide a snapshot of what the team's available depth looks like at this particular moment in time, which is why we'll be posting updated versions periodically. As I mentioned in the article, the top five are the guys currently in the rotation. Which pitchers are included among those spots is not subjective (though the ordering of them is, admittedly).
    1. mbents's Avatar
      mbents -
      Quote Originally Posted by birdwatcher View Post
      My thoughts and wish list are:

      Large ifs, but IF Baker and Gibson are set to go, the rotation would be 1. A #2-3 starter via FA; 2. A #2-3 starter via trade; 3. Baker, hope for #2-3 type performance; 4. Gibson, hope for #2-3 type performance; 5. Diamong, hope for #3-4 type performance. Rochester starters, and of course insurance: 1. Hendriks; 2. Vasquez; 3. Walters; 4. Hernandez; 5. Deduno; 6. DeVries, with Hermsen, Bromberg and others in the wings. Swarzak and Duensing in the pen. Blackburn gone. Please.
      I mostly agree with this, but I would mash the first two points into one: I would hope for a starter who has #2/borderline-#1 upside. Also, when do you want to take a snapshot of the rotation and have it look like this? It's not going to be the beginning of the year because Baker and Gibson won't be ready at that time - Baker not fully recovered and Gibson still working his way up from the minors. I would expect to see Gibson in the Twins rotation sometime in June. I don't expect Baker to contribute much until 2014, and even then you're probably looking at a #3 starter. And yes - everything with Baker assumes that he re-signs with the Twins, hopefully on some kind of 2 year incentive-laden deal.
    1. SweetOne69's Avatar
      SweetOne69 -
      Quote Originally Posted by mbents View Post
      It's not going to be the beginning of the year because Baker and Gibson won't be ready at that time - Baker not fully recovered and Gibson still working his way up from the minors. I would expect to see Gibson in the Twins rotation sometime in June. I don't expect Baker to contribute much until 2014, and even then you're probably looking at a #3 starter. And yes - everything with Baker assumes that he re-signs with the Twins, hopefully on some kind of 2 year incentive-laden deal.
      I've seen this many times. Why don't people feel that Gibson will be ready by the beginning of the season in 2013?

      Personally I think he has an excellent shot to make the starting rotation out of ST mainly because:
      1. Prior to requiring TJ Surgery, he most likely would've been part of the rotation coming out of ST in 2012.
      2. By April, he will be 18 months post surgery.

      Baker is the one that won't be involved at all until June at the earliest.
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      How can anyone look at this list and still sanely believe contention is a possibility in the near future?
    1. mbents's Avatar
      mbents -
      Quote Originally Posted by SweetOne69 View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by mbents View Post
      It's not going to be the beginning of the year because Baker and Gibson won't be ready at that time - Baker not fully recovered and Gibson still working his way up from the minors. I would expect to see Gibson in the Twins rotation sometime in June. I don't expect Baker to contribute much until 2014, and even then you're probably looking at a #3 starter. And yes - everything with Baker assumes that he re-signs with the Twins, hopefully on some kind of 2 year incentive-laden deal.
      I've seen this many times. Why don't people feel that Gibson will be ready by the beginning of the season in 2013?

      Personally I think he has an excellent shot to make the starting rotation out of ST mainly because:
      1. Prior to requiring TJ Surgery, he most likely would've been part of the rotation coming out of ST in 2012.
      2. By April, he will be 18 months post surgery.

      Baker is the one that won't be involved at all until June at the earliest.
      I don't think health will be the reason Gibson doesn't start the season in the majors. He has 21 starts in AAA and I doubt he'll add to that total in 2012. After not pitching for so long, I think the Twins would want to bring him back slowly and make sure he faces increasingly difficult levels of competition in actual games before bringing him up.
    1. Riverbrian's Avatar
      Riverbrian -
      I can't look at the list and be optimistic about the immediate future. Pitching and Depth of Pitching and Position Depth are serious problems. We don't need 5 arms to put a rotation together... We need 8 starting pitchers at least because some of the 5 are going to fail and some are going to get hurt.

      Gathering arms isn't an easy thing.

      I can't see anyway out of this without a nice trade and at least one decent FA Signing and maybe a Rule 5 gem. If ever there was a rotation that can hold a rule 5 player for a year and ride it out. This would be the one.
    1. SweetOne69's Avatar
      SweetOne69 -
      Quote Originally Posted by mbents View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by SweetOne69 View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by mbents View Post
      It's not going to be the beginning of the year because Baker and Gibson won't be ready at that time - Baker not fully recovered and Gibson still working his way up from the minors. I would expect to see Gibson in the Twins rotation sometime in June. I don't expect Baker to contribute much until 2014, and even then you're probably looking at a #3 starter. And yes - everything with Baker assumes that he re-signs with the Twins, hopefully on some kind of 2 year incentive-laden deal.
      I've seen this many times. Why don't people feel that Gibson will be ready by the beginning of the season in 2013?

      Personally I think he has an excellent shot to make the starting rotation out of ST mainly because:
      1. Prior to requiring TJ Surgery, he most likely would've been part of the rotation coming out of ST in 2012.
      2. By April, he will be 18 months post surgery.

      Baker is the one that won't be involved at all until June at the earliest.
      I don't think health will be the reason Gibson doesn't start the season in the majors. He has 21 starts in AAA and I doubt he'll add to that total in 2012. After not pitching for so long, I think the Twins would want to bring him back slowly and make sure he faces increasingly difficult levels of competition in actual games before bringing him up.
      He will be doing that in the AFL this winter.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Quote Originally Posted by SweetOne69 View Post
      I've seen this many times. Why don't people feel that Gibson will be ready by the beginning of the season in 2013?

      .
      He wasn't ready prior to his surgery. Peripherals were great but hadn't "put it together" so to speak.

      As well, command tends to be the last to come back. He's pitching against guys right now that he's much better than... I expect good results. The time to get excited is when he's dominating against AAA type guys.
    1. ScottyB's Avatar
      ScottyB -
      Looking to free-agents for starters next year, there aren't a lot that can be trusted that might fit into the Twins budget. I would not select any pitcher who has spent his career in the NL (see Jason Marquis). But Bedard has had decent numbers in both AL and NL. And Edwin Jackson says he just wants to play somewhere for more than 1 season (he does like Wash), now that he has left Boras, he might be convinced on a 3-year deal for under the $20M+ a season that Boras would have asked. McCarthy didn't look great against the Twins, but compared to what we've got in the cupboard, might be worth a look.
    1. snepp's Avatar
      snepp -
      Quote Originally Posted by twinswon1991 View Post
      Looks like 100 losses to me. A monkey could draft and develop better than that.
      Derp.
    1. twinsnorth49's Avatar
      twinsnorth49 -
      Quote Originally Posted by TheLeviathan View Post
      How can anyone look at this list and still sanely believe contention is a possibility in the near future?
      You're right but I don't think most people here do. At best it's sane to believe Diamond can continue to be consistent , Hendriks should be able to get his s**t together enough to be reliable and Gibson has the tools to be a regular contributor, maybe not until June. I say we still have a shot at Baker on a short term deal after we turn down his option and acquire a couple of experienced starters through free agency and/or trade.
    1. SpantheMan's Avatar
      SpantheMan -
      Quote Originally Posted by twinswon1991 View Post
      Looks like 100 losses to me. A monkey could draft and develop better than that.
      To be fair they drafted 2 decent looking college starters who both got injured (gibson and wimmers)
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      Quote Originally Posted by twinsnorth49 View Post
      You're right but I don't think most people here do. At best it's sane to believe Diamond can continue to be consistent , Hendriks should be able to get his s**t together enough to be reliable and Gibson has the tools to be a regular contributor, maybe not until June. I say we still have a shot at Baker on a short term deal after we turn down his option and acquire a couple of experienced starters through free agency and/or trade.
      I'm probably bullish on Diamond and Gibson going forward, but of the list you provided we have two of the four coming off of major surgery, another pitching way beyond career norms and probably due for regression next year, and a guy we're hoping becomes a quality back-end guy. Nick has been one of the vocal optimists about 2013, I just don't understand how anyone can look at this list - even if we add two starters in the offseason.
    1. Buck Nasty's Avatar
      Buck Nasty -
      The way I view next year's rotation is:

      1.) Free Agent. They don't have anyone close to being a #1 guy right now. Most expect a veteran "innings eater" guy
      2.) Diamond. This is a stretch as most expect some regression for next year. But he's been solid this year and there is no one else
      3.) Gibson. Yeah, I know many say he won't be ready to start year or not ready period. But I think he will be.
      4.) Hendricks. Yep, he's 0-6 with a 7.06 ERA this year. But just as most realize Deduno is not going to maintain his 3.33 ERA after only 8 starts, I think most realized the same sample size applies to Liam based on his numbers through the minors.
      5.) DeVries, Deduno, Walters, Swarzak, Vasquez, Hernandez, Duensing. All of those guys are spot starter/#5 type guys.

      I'm sure they'll sign several other free agent guys. Not big names, but low risk guys to hedge against Gibson/Hendricks in case they are not ready or flop. Bottom line, it's not going to be a great rotation. But hopefully a couple guys step forward like Diamond did this year to ease the pain. Wimmers returns in 2014 and maybe they can add a prospect or two via Rule V or trades.
    1. birdwatcher's Avatar
      birdwatcher -
      Buck Nasty, hope you're wrong on your prediction, that Ryan obtains only one starter, and a veteran innings eater at that. Acknowledging their history of making these kinds of economy moves, I remain hopeful for a change this off-season. Why? They have the money and the trade chips to acquire two #2-3 starters. Would Morneau plus a C prospect like a Pugh/Watts/Hauser/Summers get us such a starter? Maybe I'm being unrealistic. Am I also being unrealistic to think that Ryan will splurge a bit to land a quality FA starter instead of the next Marquis?

      If you can add two bona fide starters, sign Baker, insert Diamond and Gibson, then all these #5-6 starters we have can serve as placeholders and insurance. Not a pennant winner, but at least competitive for 2013.

      If Ryan does NOT bring in two #2-3 starters from outside the organization, count me in as pessimistic for 2013 and critical of Ryan for failing to make an essential and very doable move.

    1. twinsnorth49's Avatar
      twinsnorth49 -
      Quote Originally Posted by TheLeviathan View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by twinsnorth49 View Post
      You're right but I don't think most people here do. At best it's sane to believe Diamond can continue to be consistent , Hendriks should be able to get his s**t together enough to be reliable and Gibson has the tools to be a regular contributor, maybe not until June. I say we still have a shot at Baker on a short term deal after we turn down his option and acquire a couple of experienced starters through free agency and/or trade.
      I'm probably bullish on Diamond and Gibson going forward, but of the list you provided we have two of the four coming off of major surgery, another pitching way beyond career norms and probably due for regression next year, and a guy we're hoping becomes a quality back-end guy. Nick has been one of the vocal optimists about 2013, I just don't understand how anyone can look at this list - even if we add two starters in the offseason.
      I don't think it's insane to believe that adding 2 proven starters and relying on Diamond, Gibson, Hendriks and maybe Baker could get this team a lot of quality starts and chances to win games. As long as the Twins medical staff aren't the ones performing the surgery on Gibson and Baker, it's reasonable to expect recovery, Brett Anderson sure seemed fine the other night.
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