Hello? Rochester... Please Send Help
Image courtesy of Butch Dill, USA TodayThe Twins wanted to call up Zack Littell last weekend but because the season was not yet ten days old, they were unable to. Instead, they put Chase De Jong back on the 40-man roster and Designed Tyler Austin for Assignment. At the time, the Twins needed someone available in the bullpen who could eat some innings after Jake Odorizzi didn’t get out of the first inningFriday night. De Jong was not needed after all in Philadelphia thanks to good starts by Michael Pineda and Jose Berrios. He got his first opportunity on Tuesday night against the Mets. He came in to finish the ninth inning with the Twins leading 14-4. He needed 46 pitches to finish the ninth and gave up four runs and six base runners.
Following the game, he was returned to Rochester since he would be unable to pitch for the Twins for several days. Lefty Andrew Vasquez, the easy choice for 2018 Twins Daily Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year, was recalled to take De Jong’s spot.
Unlike De Jong, Vasquez was thrown right into a tough situation. With two outs in the fifth inning last night, Jake Odorizzi loaded the bases with a walk to opposing starter Noah Syndergaard. With left-handed hitting Brandon Nimmo due up, Rocco Baldelli called on the left-hander who struck out 108 batters in 69+ innings last year.
Simply put, it did not go well for Vasquez. He couldn’t throw strikes and frankly, wasn’t close. He hit Nimmo (to put one run on the board). Then he walked both Pete Alonso and Robinson Cano to score two more runs. His fastball topped out at 87 mph and he couldn’t command the slider at all.
I will advocate for not giving up on Andrew Vasquez, and I would assume that most of you would look at that outing as a case of nerves in his return to the big leagues. While he had struck out four batters in 1 1/3 innings in his one Red Wings appearance, he also walked two batters and gave up a hit.
I’m not advocating that Vasquez needs to be optioned right away, though it would be understandable. But if he is, or on a higher level, if at any time the Twins need to call back to Rochester looking for some relief help, what options are there? Below you’ll find the current group of Red Wings relievers, any of who could be an option at some point this season.
THE RELIEVERS IN ROCHESTER
(in alphabetical order)
Age - 32
MLB Experience - Parts of three seasons (2014-16) with Cleveland. 53 games, 58 2/3 innings, 6.29 ERA.
2019 Red Wings Stats - 2 Games, 4.0 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K
The Twins signed Adams late last year out of independent ball and he pitched briefly for Chattanooga. This year, is hitting 94-96 for the Red Wings in the early goings. Presumably, Derek Falvey is quite familiar with him due to his years in Cleveland.
Age - 28
MLB Experience - Parts of four seasons (2015-18) with the Twins. 111 games (37 starts), 287 innings, 5.46 ERA.
2019 Red Wings Stats - 2 Games, 4.0 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K
Duffey made such a strong impression on Twins fans late in the 2015 season, nearly catapulting a surprising team to the playoffs. He hasn’t been able to duplicate that performance since and was moved to the bullpen a few years ago. He has the curveball and spin rate that teams love.
Age - 27
MLB Experience - None
2019 Red Wings Stats - 2 G, 4.1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K
Eades made a strong impression during an impressive run in big league spring training this year. He showed a big fastball which reached into the mid-90s. He also showed his array of pitches. Before this season, he had just seven games of Triple-A experience.
Age - 31
MLB Experience - Parts of five seasons (2013-18) with Tampa Bay, Cleveland, St. Louis, Baltimore, Toronto, Milwaukee. 27 games, 33 innings. 9.27 ERA.
2019 Red Wings Stats - 2 G, 4.1 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 4 K.
Guilmet has had a long career. He’s pitched for six teams in the big leagues to go with several other organizations in the minor leagues. He’s got enough stuff to keep getting opportunities.
Age - 27
MLB Experience - Parts of five seasons (2014-18) with Angels. 186 games, 174 innings, 4.66 ERA.
2019 Red Wings Stats - 2 G, 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K.
Born in Minnesota, his family soon moved to the Kansas City area, but he’s still got family in the area. It would certainly be a thrill for him to play for the Twins. Morin pitched between 47 and 60 games each year out of the Angels bullpen between 2014 and 2016. He’s been hurt the last two years, but he appears to be fully healthy again. He’s a low-90s guy with a really, really good changeup.
Age - 26
MLB Experience - None
2019 Red Wings Stats - 2 G, 3.0 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 5 K
Reed moved up to AA really quickly after being drafted by the Twins in 2014. He’s been up and down ever since, but he was remarkable for the Red Wings after June 1st last year (23 G, 37.2 IP, 1.43 ERA, .167 opponents batting average). Walks always a concern, but Reed gets a lot of movement. His fastball is 95-97, and he’s got a sharp slider too. .
Age - 24
MLB Experience - Debuted with the Twins in 2018. Made 11 starts, 55 2/3 innings. 4.69 ERA.
2019 Red Wings Stats - 2 G, 5.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K
Romero was really good for his first four MLB starts last year and then struggled the rest of the way. It was surprising that the Twins decided so quickly in spring training that he would pitch out of the bullpen. He struggled in spring training and was optioned to the Red Wings. He’s off to a fast start. In his 3 1/3 hitless, no-walk innings on Wednesday, he was getting swings and misses on 97 and 98 mph fastballs.
Currently DJ Baxendale (27) and Zack Weiss (26) are on the Red Wings injured list.
*Note that the 2019 Red Wings Stats are for just two games, so the sample size is definitely small.
Chase De Jong returns to the Red Wings starting rotation. The other starters in the Red Wings rotation are 23-year-old RHP Zack Littell, 23-year-old LHP Lewis Thorpe, 24-year-old RHP Kohl Stewart, 25-year-old RHP Sean Poppen and 27-year-old MLB veteran, LHP Justin Nicolino. LHP Stephen Gonsalves is on the IL as well and should be back in early May.
These guys are options if and when a long-reliever might be needed. They could also be summoned to the Twins when a starter is needed, such as in a doubleheader situation.
THE INJURED LIST
As a reminder, right-handers Matt Magill and Addison Reed, along with LHP Gabriel Moya are on the injured list. We haven’t heard updates on them recently. They are also options to join the big league bullpen when they are ready, though a rehab stint would seem very likely for all three as they have not pitched in a long time.
THE FREE AGENTS
I’ll just throw this tweet from Nick Nelson here:
So, do you have a current hierarchy of who the Twins should call up next as they have needs? How about breaking that out between whether they need a long reliever, or a lefty, or a short-term option versus a more long-term guy? Share your thoughts below.
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