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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. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by cr9617 View Post
      Get over yourself Brock.

      The team stinks as a result of an organization that can seem to tie their own shoe laces. What is there to be positive about?
      If you have an issue with how I do things, feel free to PM me about it.

      As for "getting over myself", this has little to do with my personal feelings and everything to do with the quality of the forum posts.
    1. 3up3down's Avatar
      3up3down -
      this shows why alot of young pitchers try to pitch thru injuries, walters was in the discussion with diamond before he got injured....just shows its better to be bad than injured..
    1. crarko's Avatar
      crarko -
      Quote Originally Posted by cr9617 View Post
      The team stinks as a result of an organization that can seem to tie their own shoe laces. What is there to be positive about?
      That you're not Cubs fans.
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      The problem isn't being negative, the problem is continuing to beat the same dead horse over and over again without bringing any substance or value to threads.

      He wouldn't be banned because he was sour on the Twins, he would be banned because he was acting like a God Damned child. There are plenty of posters here who are very negative on the Twins these days, but still bring value and thoughts to a thread.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      The problem isn't being negative, the problem is continuing to beat the same dead horse over and over again without bringing any substance or value to threads.

      He wouldn't be banned because he was sour on the Twins, he would be banned because he was acting like a God Damned child. There are plenty of posters here who are very negative on the Twins these days, but still bring value and thoughts to a thread.
      ding ding ding

      My point has little to do with negativity. It's about negativity and post content. Some people are negative and deliver their thoughts in a clear, well-articulated manner. We encourage those posters to keep doing what they do. To put it bluntly, this team sucks. Changes need to be made. We want posters to talk about what should be done in-depth, even (especially) if their views on the organization aren't pie-in-the-sky rosy.

      But if your schtick is to deliver a one-liner that could be cut and paste into 90% of your posts and nobody would notice the difference, that's not adding anything of substance to the board while it does irritate other posters who are attempting to have a rational discussion of the topic at hand. In short, those people are "net loss" posters. They add nothing while detracting significantly.
    1. Riverbrian's Avatar
      Riverbrian -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      The problem isn't being negative, the problem is continuing to beat the same dead horse over and over again without bringing any substance or value to threads.

      He wouldn't be banned because he was sour on the Twins, he would be banned because he was acting like a God Damned child. There are plenty of posters here who are very negative on the Twins these days, but still bring value and thoughts to a thread.
      ding ding ding

      My point has little to do with negativity. It's about negativity and post content. Some people are negative and deliver their thoughts in a clear, well-articulated manner. We encourage those posters to keep doing what they do. To put it bluntly, this team sucks. Changes need to be made. We want posters to talk about what should be done in-depth, even (especially) if their views on the organization aren't pie-in-the-sky rosy.

      But if your schtick is to deliver a one-liner that could be cut and paste into 90% of your posts and nobody would notice the difference, that's not adding anything of substance to the board while it does irritate other posters who are attempting to have a rational discussion of the topic at hand. In short, those people are "net loss" posters. They add nothing while detracting significantly.
      Brock... Are you saying that discussion of Monkeys and their ability to run a MLB franchise isn't worth anyone's time.

      What if you had an infinite amount of monkeys and an infinite amount of typewriters and an infinite amount of time?

      Using that system... It's possible that we end up with Clayton Kershaw on our roster along with Sally Struthers.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      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.
    1. Winston Smith's Avatar
      Winston Smith -
      Quote Originally Posted by JB_Iowa View Post
      I appreciate the effort to lay out the list, Nick. It doesn't do anything for my lack of optimism about this team but it does provide a nice summary of information.

      I want to add one response about Bill Smith, though. He was definitely not my favorite person -- and I made a number of posts on the Strib site last year calling for him to be fired -- but blaming all of this on Bill Smith (per one of the posts above) is ludicrous. Other than Smith, the SAME people are involved in the decision-making now. Same scouting director, same Assistant GM, same director of player personnel, same minor league coordinator -- and your current GM was a "Special Assistant" to Smith (primarily dealing with scouting matters as I understand it). The Twins front office has always worked cooperatively -- Smith may have been the final say but he relied on information from everyone else. I have no doubt that Terry Ryan excercises a greater degree of personal judgment and has significantly more "baseball savvy" to back up his decisions -- but the underpinnings of the Twins decision-making system all remain the same.
      +++++++
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by Riverbrian View Post
      Brock... Are you saying that discussion of Monkeys and their ability to run a MLB franchise isn't worth anyone's time.

      What if you had an infinite amount of monkeys and an infinite amount of typewriters and an infinite amount of time?

      Using that system... It's possible that we end up with Clayton Kershaw on our roster along with Sally Struthers.
      More Sally, less Nishi!

      Though I could only imagine the fights over the buffet table. Ten bucks says either Sally or Capps would be on the DL within a week.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      I agree, this is not all on Smith at all.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      I agree, this is not all on Smith at all.
      Smith should definitely not take all the blame here. IMO, he did a decent job with drafting and an excellent job with the international market (outside of Nishi). Many of the failures we're seeing today were from the mid-2000s when JR was at the helm. There's no denying that or shifting around responsibility for those mistakes, but I think Smith sped things along a bit with his bungling of the Major League franchise at almost every opportunity.

      The question is "Has Ryan learned from his previous mistakes?" I certainly hope so and I think it's worth finding out if he did learn anything. Teams rarely pick up a new GM and start winning right off the bat. Ryan has the experience and ability to build a winning team, now it's just a matter of time to see if he can do it again. Thus far, I haven't been displeased with how things have played out in many respects but the real test will be this offseason when he has all the time he needs to put the franchise back on track.
    1. twinswon1991's Avatar
      twinswon1991 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      I agree, this is not all on Smith at all.
      Smith should definitely not take all the blame here. IMO, he did a decent job with drafting and an excellent job with the international market (outside of Nishi). Many of the failures we're seeing today were from the mid-2000s when JR was at the helm. There's no denying that or shifting around responsibility for those mistakes, but I think Smith sped things along a bit with his bungling of the Major League franchise at almost every opportunity.

      The question is "Has Ryan learned from his previous mistakes?" I certainly hope so and I think it's worth finding out if he did learn anything. Teams rarely pick up a new GM and start winning right off the bat. Ryan has the experience and ability to build a winning team, now it's just a matter of time to see if he can do it again. Thus far, I haven't been displeased with how things have played out in many respects but the real test will be this offseason when he has all the time he needs to put the franchise back on track.
      I understand you are a optomist but it is hard to trust a GM who cant figure out how to use the DL and who wont address the medical staff issues that were a priority when he took the job.
    1. DAM DC Twins Fans's Avatar
      DAM DC Twins Fans -
      Quote Originally Posted by 3up3down View Post
      this shows why alot of young pitchers try to pitch thru injuries, walters was in the discussion with diamond before he got injured....just shows its better to be bad than injured..
      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.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      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.
      The thought of Pavano returning to this team makes me want to cry. That is all.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by twinswon1991 View Post
      I understand you are a optomist but it is hard to trust a GM who cant figure out how to use the DL and who wont address the medical staff issues that were a priority when he took the job.
      Not an optimist so much as a realist. Finding good people to run a billion dollar enterprise is no easy task. Is JR the right guy? Dunno, but he has the experience and the track record to make it work. Do I wish he was moving more quickly on some of these issues? Definitely. Do I really know what's going on behind the scenes right now? Absolutely not.

      As I've been saying all along, Ryan hasn't been back at the helm for even a year yet. This organization had hundreds of important issues to deal with in that time. If he's still standing pat in February on glaring organizational issues, I'll be the first in line to say he needs to go.

      But I'm not going to call him a failure before he's even had a chance to do his job. Turning around an organization with hundreds of moving parts is not a two month operation.
    1. Riverbrian's Avatar
      Riverbrian -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      I agree, this is not all on Smith at all.
      Smith should definitely not take all the blame here. IMO, he did a decent job with drafting and an excellent job with the international market (outside of Nishi). Many of the failures we're seeing today were from the mid-2000s when JR was at the helm. There's no denying that or shifting around responsibility for those mistakes, but I think Smith sped things along a bit with his bungling of the Major League franchise at almost every opportunity.

      The question is "Has Ryan learned from his previous mistakes?" I certainly hope so and I think it's worth finding out if he did learn anything. Teams rarely pick up a new GM and start winning right off the bat. Ryan has the experience and ability to build a winning team, now it's just a matter of time to see if he can do it again. Thus far, I haven't been displeased with how things have played out in many respects but the real test will be this offseason when he has all the time he needs to put the franchise back on track.
      It takes a village... Something like that. You have Scouts, You have Directors of this and Directors of that.

      You have a Manager that has input... or at least... isn't a limp noodle... A Manager that has strong opinions on what he needs or wants and that I'm sure he expresses to the GM... At least you hope the manager is being heard cuz I'm not sure I'd want a passionless Yes Man for a manager... AND... You have owners on top of everything.

      Bottom Line... The Owner hires the people who hire the people. If you don't like your franchise and the situation it is in. The Buck stops at the owners desk.

      With that said... The only clue that you have is this. In an organization that doesn't fire people very often. In an organization that is claimed by some to be a good ol' boys situation. Bill Smith was fired!!! That clue seems to suggest that Bill Smith was responsible or was seen as responsible by the owners.

      Very few front office firings over the years and Bill Smith was tossed.

      Is Bill Smith solely responsible? I don't believe so because it takes a village. However, the GM is the filter of all those opinions including those from the owner.

      Things were not being filtered very well during the Bill Smith regime. I can't site anything specific other than Bill got fired and things haven't been working out the past few years.

      So I have no problem pinning a major portion of the responsibilty on Bill Smith.

      On a side note... I've been noticing a lot of Rob Antony in the press lately... It seems like an increase of Rob Antony to me. Could this be a signal that the Terry Ryan Interim GM tag is actually that?

      Is it wild to speculate that Rob is appearing more often in the press as a precursor to Terry Ryan stepping down?
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Damn, I was going to say that the list of pitchers is ugly, but the comments from people who seemingly just like to piss on everything are uglier.

      I feel comfortable that 3 out of those 8 will be average-to-good next year (Duensing cannot seriously be considered a starter and waiting on Gibson until June at least makes the list 8). What is likely needed, however, is that 4 of them are average-to-good. I am not fully confident in that yet.
    1. stringer bell's Avatar
      stringer bell -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Ed View Post
      Dice K 1-hit the Twins AAA affiliate over 8 innings. MN could make him their big off-season acquisition
      Their track record on Asian players has been stellar to this point. I say they go for it.
      I was thinking that the Twins could have acquired Iwakuma but Seattle got him. Then I thought, would the current Twins' front office try to acquire any Japanese player? I thought about offering a poll of who the next Japanese player would be--someone currently in the majors, someone currently playing in Japan, or someone growning up in Japan, and I thought maybe I would add "someone who hasn't been born yet", because I believe it will be a long time before the Twins sign another Japanese major leaguer.
    1. Steve Penz's Avatar
      Steve Penz -
      First, Baker.

      I have only scanned these pages quickly and I saw his name one time. He is not "the answer" but if he would agree to a two year deal that was better for the twins than his 9million option that may be one small piece. This all hinges upon solid reports that he can contribute next year and that is a large "if."

      Secondly, it is my hope that they sign just one. I am trying to keep it reasonable. Just sign one pitcher who is hopefully just a bit better than Diamond. If Diamond wins 14 next year and New Guy wins 15-16 that would go a very long way. Putting together #s 4 and/or 5 with names like Deduno, Duensing and DeVries would be acceptable.
    1. stringer bell's Avatar
      stringer bell -
      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.
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