Jump to content

Providing independent coverage of the Minnesota Twins.
Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

The Forums

Relevant magic numbers with tiebreakers accounted for

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:54 AM
After the games of 9/22:   TB over Min: 2 CWS over Min: 4 Oak over Min: 5 Min over Cle: 2 Min over NYY: 4
Full topic ›

The Perfect Length of a Baseball Season?

Other Baseball Today, 08:46 AM
So Twitter got me thinking... What's the perfect length of baseball season? And then what's the perfect playoffs to be paired with that s...
Full topic ›

LT contracts for current star position players

Other Baseball Today, 08:26 AM
I see that Yelich is still effected by a broken kneecap from last year and has a longterm contract now through 2028. It always raised an...
Full topic ›

Game Thread: Scoreboard Watching, 9/24/2020 at 5:10 PM CDT

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 08:18 AM
Please pardon me for this highly unusual thread, but we live in highly unusual times...   Fire up your MLB.TV machines and join me f...
Full topic ›

Seeding

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 07:57 AM
This crazy year of 2020 has introduced another new term to MLB playoffs, "seeding". I don't pretend to understand all of it but I do know...
Full topic ›

Recent Blogs

Pitching-Rich AL Central?

There are three American League Central teams with a record of .600 or better, and the Tigers were above .500 until they lost four out of five games to the Twins over Labor Day weekend. The Minnesota Twins, to the surprise of most, have been led by terrific pitching. Their starters are solid. But a quick look around the division tells us that offense might be difficult to come by for a while as there are several quality pitchers and pitching prospects who are close.
Image courtesy of Jay Biggerstaff, USA Today
Here is a quick look at what AL Central starting rotations could look like in the years to come. I haven’t included any pitchers who will become a free agent after the 2020 season.

I think that you will find that the Twins, and each of the other teams in the division, have a plethora of exciting pitchers and more coming in the near future.


Minnesota Twins

The Veterans
  • Kenta Maeda
  • Jose Berrios
  • Michael Pineda
Maeda had been really good for the Dodgers the past four years, but he has probably never been better than he has been in his eight starts for the Twins this year. He is under team control through the 2023 season. Berrios, the 26-year-old, two-time All Star struggled early in the season but he’s proven himself over time and should remain in the Twins plans for years to come. He could be a free agent after 2022, but the Twins may want to lock him up before then. Pineda just came back from his 60-game suspension. The Twins signed him to a two-year deal last offseason, so he’ll be back in 2021. Rich Hill and Jake Odorizzi will be free agents after this season.

The Newbies
  • Randy Dobnak
  • Devin Smeltzer
  • Lewis Thorpe
All three of these guys made their debuts in 2019, each showing enough promise to compete for roster spots in 2020. Dobnak was given the first shot this season and has made the best of it. He is 6-2 with a 2.72 ERA going into Tuesday’s start. Smeltzer has filled the role of long reliever or “primary” pitcher. He was optioned on Monday. Thorpe has struggled, but most would say he’s still got some ceiling.

The Prospects
  • Jhoan Duran
  • Dakota Chalmers
  • Jordan Balazovic
Duran and Chalmers were easy choices last fall to add to the team’s 40-man roster. In one of the televised intrasquad games of Summer Camp, both pitched and showed Twins fans just how exciting their futures are. Both have big potential as top-of-rotation starters. The Twins top pitching prospect is Balazovic, who joined them at the Twins alternate site in St. Paul this weekend. All three could debut in 2021. And Jorge Alcala sure looks like a high-leverage bullpen arm for years to come.

Cleveland

The Veterans
  • Shane Bieber
  • Carlos Carrasco
Simply put, Shane Bieber is the best pitcher in the American League. Yes, even (possibly) better than Gerrit Cole (maybe). Bieber won’t even be arbitration-eligible until 2022. He’s still just 25, as well. Carrasco has been good throughout his career when he is healthy. He’s signed for two more seasons plus an option for 2023.

The Newbies
  • Aaron Civale
  • Zach Plesac
  • Adam Plutko
Civale and Plesac are two examples of the pipeline that Cleveland has developed. Neither was a big-name prospect and both have shown early in their careers that they will be effective MLB pitchers. Neither will even be arbitration-eligible for two more years. Plutko hasn’t had the same level of success, but he has had several strong showings.

The Prospects
  • Triston McKenzie
  • James Karinchak
We’ve seen what James Karinchak can do out of the bullpen. Clase came to the organization in the Corey Kluber trade. He got suspended, but his stuff is on par with Karinchak. Triston McKenzie has come up and been very impressive. The supplemental first-round pick in 2015 is 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA in 16 innings over his three MLB starts this year. He has 19 strikeouts and four walks. Lefty Sam Hentges, from Mounds View High School in Arden Hills, reached Double-A in 2019.


Chicago White Sox

The Veterans
  • Lucas Giolito
  • Dallas Keuchel
  • Reynaldo Lopez
Giolito has reached the potential that made him a possible #1 overall pick in 2012 before having Tommy John surgery his senior year of high school. It took awhile with the Nationals and the White Sox, but he has become an All Star, been consistent and recently threw his first no-hitter. Keuchel is in Year 1 of his three-year deal and continues to live on control and command. Lopez has been around a bit and hasn’t been able to harness what is really good stuff.

The Newbies
  • Dylan Cease
After struggling to a 5.79 ERA in 14 starts as a rookie last year, Cease has settled in in 2020. He’s 5-2 with a 3.29 ERA despite 20 walks and 28 strikeouts in 41 innings.

The Prospects
  • Michael Kopech
  • Dane Dunning
  • Garrett Crochet
Blessed with a triple-digit fastball, Kopech has long been a high-ranking prospect. He debuted with four games in 2018 but then underwent Tommy John surgery. He was set to return this season, maybe even opening day, Dane Dunning also had Tommy John surgery in 2018. He missed 2019. In three starts for the White Sox this year, he’s got 18 strikeouts in 14 innings. In addition, the White Sox took lefty Garrett Crochet from the University of Tennessee with the fifth overall pick in the 2020 draft, and he could be a fast-mover.

Detroit Tigers
  • Matthew Boyd
  • Michael Fulmer
  • Spencer Turnbull
,
Boyd has struggled in 2020, but he has experienced a lot of success the last two seasons. Michael Fulmer has missed time due to Tommy John surgery and is just coming back, but he was great when he won the Rookie of the Year award a few years ago. Turnbull had a bad record in 2019, but having watched him a lot, he’s got good stuff too.

The Prospects
  • Casey Mize
  • Tarik Skubal
  • Tyler Alexander
  • Matt Manning
  • Alex Faedo
The Tigers have some very impressive pitching prospects. Casey Mize was the top pick in the 2018 draft out of Florida and he has now made four MLB starts. Tarik Skubal was their ninth round pick in 2018 out of Seattle University. He sure has looked good against the Twins these past two weekends. Those two are Top 100 prospects. So is Matt Manning who spent 2019 in AA and is in the same prospect category. In addition, Tyler Alexander is another left-hander with good stuff. Also in the Tigers bullpen is Kyle Funkhouser who has struggled with control, but he was very highly touted earlier in his college and professional career. Alex Faedo (nephew of former Twins great Lenny Faedo) was their first-round pick in 2017, and he reached AA in 2019. Oh, and they just added Coon Rapids native Logan Shore to their 60-player pool.

Kansas City Royals

The Veterans
  • Danny Duffy
  • Brad Keller
  • Jakob Junis
Danny Duffy has been a part of the Royals rotation for more than a decade. He’s got another year on his current contract. Keller has gradually taken on a bigger role the past three years, from bullpen work, to back-end starter to being strong in 2020. Junis has won nine games each of the past three seasons. He won't get anywhere near there this year as he is yet to earn a win.

The Prospects
  • Brady Singer
  • Kris Bubic
  • Asa Lacy
  • Daniel Lynch
  • Jackson Kowar
  • Josh Staumont
The Royals have certainly gone the direction of college pitchers with high picks in recent years and those picks are just starting to show up. Brady Singer (18th overall, Florida) and Kris Bubic (40th overall, Stanford) were both selected in the first 40 picks of the 2018 draft. They are a combined 1-9 right now, but both have shown enough to be considered part of the future. Also from the 2018 draft are Jackson Kowar (33rd overall, Florida), Daniel Lynch (34th overall, Virginia)and Austin Cox (5th round, Mercer) all have potential and have pitched at AA already. In addition, we have seen what Josh Staumont can do out of the bullpen and they just called up another prospect in Carlos Hernandez and pitched him in the bullpen. Oh, and they took Asa Lacy with the fourth overall pick in June from Texas A&M, and he has the potential to move very quickly.


So, while the Twins have seen some strong pitching in 2020 from AL Central teams, there are a lot of really good, young pitchers who will be in the division for years to come. As talented as some of the pitchers who have debuted so far ini 2020 have been, there are many more high-ceiling prospects who should be debuting in the near future too.

The Twins have a lot of high-ceiling hitting prospects. We have already seen Ryan Jeffers and Brent Rooker. We know that Alex Kirilloff and Trevor Larnach are likely not far behind. But the Twins have high-ceiling prospects such as Jhoan Duran, Dakota Chalmers and Jordan Balazovic to counter the great pitching prospects from other division teams.

The AL Central is already a solid division, and over the next several years, it may be able to compete with others for the best division in baseball.

  • dbminn and ToddlerHarmon like this

  • Share:
  • submit to reddit
Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

10 Comments

"Triston McKenzie has come up and been very impressive. The supplemental first-round pick in 2015 is 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA in 16 innings over his three MLB starts this year. He has 19 walks strikeouts and four strikeouts walks."

 

FTFY

    • mikelink45 and JoshDungan1 like this

The Twins look good if we skip over Thorpe and Smeltzer and go to the prospects. I have lost faith in them and will be anxious to see the next layer of pitchers move up to create a good live arm rotation like the other teams are projected to have. 

 

It is fun ((scary) to see Detroit and KC prospects.What a division this will be.  

    • Dman likes this
Photo
Tom Froemming
Sep 08 2020 07:25 AM

That Cleveland front office can reach into their pockets for spare change and pull out a pitching prospect that ends up being a stud. This is getting ridiculous!

    • Seth Stohs, Dman, PDX Twin and 2 others like this

Great read, Seth, thanks.

 

Not certain where I would rank the Twins prospects/newbies if ranking these teams 1-5. What are your thoughts? Certainly some great young arms for each of those teams. 

 

 

This division is already the best in baseball from top to bottom. With the free fall of the Yankees, there could be 4 teams to make the playoffs if the Tigers can get back to winning. We will have to do lots of work to continue to be the top team.

    • Seth Stohs and Dman like this

 

"Triston McKenzie has come up and been very impressive. The supplemental first-round pick in 2015 is 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA in 16 innings over his three MLB starts this year. He has 19 walks strikeouts and four strikeouts walks."

 

FTFY

 

Corrected... and uffdah... Guessing his status wouldn't be so shiny if he had 19 walks to four strikeouts. HA! Thank you! 

    • h2oface and Danchat like this

 

Great read, Seth, thanks.

 

Not certain where I would rank the Twins prospects/newbies if ranking these teams 1-5. What are your thoughts? Certainly some great young arms for each of those teams. 

 

Good question...

 

It would be hard to go against the Tigers prospects. It'd be also tough to go against Giolito/Kopech/Dunning. Like Tom commented, Cleveland just keeps finding quality pitching all over. The Royals have had a very clear strategy with lots of high upside talent that could move quick. And, the Twins have some upside guys with what we hope will be a Falveyan way to develop more talent

    • rdehring likes this
Guess this means we better win it this year or next!

 

Good question...

 

It would be hard to go against the Tigers prospects. It'd be also tough to go against Giolito/Kopech/Dunning. Like Tom commented, Cleveland just keeps finding quality pitching all over. The Royals have had a very clear strategy with lots of high upside talent that could move quick. And, the Twins have some upside guys with what we hope will be a Falveyan way to develop more talent

Certainly appears that at least a couple of the competition has superior young prospects/newbies than you listed for the Twins. That's in part due to the less than stellar summers from Smeltzer and Thorpe vs. the young arms they are compared with. Now Balazovic, Duran, Canterino and others down on the farm could move the Twins up that analysis...should a couple of that group approach their ceilings.

 

This division is already the best in baseball from top to bottom. With the free fall of the Yankees, there could be 4 teams to make the playoffs if the Tigers can get back to winning. We will have to do lots of work to continue to be the top team.

It will be hard for Detriot to come back as they will need to play Cleveland and Sox.I said at beginning of season it will be very hard to have 4 teams from 1 division because of having to play each other.Is it possible yes, but the Yankees, Baltimore, and Seattle will have to lose.Not sure if Yankees and Baltimore will play each other any more.  

 

It is crazy how a few injuries to Yankees has cost them so much.They are not alone with issues.Rays have had a ton of injuries, Twins are on there 3rd and 4th catcher, missed several games of "top" starters, many different pen arms, loss of Buck, Donadlson, Arriez, and others.Not saying Yankess are not missing top players, but they failed to have others step up.This is another season of Stanton missing major games.His is by far the most overpaid player due to health. 


Similar Articles


by Nick Nelson , 20 Sep 2020
Photo


by Cody Christie , 14 Sep 2020
Photo


by Cody Christie , 10 Sep 2020
Photo


by Cody Christie , 31 Aug 2020
Photo


by Cooper Carlson , 21 Aug 2020
Photo