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Time to shuffle the deck

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:36 PM
This could be a very bad week. I'd like to see them shuffle the roster/batting order and bullpen.   Release Grossman. DFA Kinley and...
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Article: Game Thread: Twins @ Yankees, 4/23@6:10pm CT

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:30 PM
It’s big, four-game series that kicks off tonight in the Bronx as the Twins and Yankees go to battle in a series that could really help t...
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5th Starter

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 08:46 PM
Was it Mejia and not Hughes in town to start today? He was scheduled for Rochester who went with a bullpen game today instead.
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T-Wolves 2018 Postseason Thread

Minnesota Timberwolves Talk Today, 08:27 PM
It has been my great privilege to initiate a thread with this title. Fleeting as it may be.
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Non-Twins in-season news, tidbits and transactions

Other Baseball Today, 09:26 PM
Sorry I didn't wanna start a new thread, but I would like a general baseball thread, not just a forum. I wanted to post, watching MLB, th...
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Spring Training Storylines: Pitchers And Catchers

After months of speculation about free agency, baseball is back. Minnesota’s pitchers and catchers report for their first official workout on Wednesday. As with any spring training, there are plenty of questions surrounding the Twins after the team reports to Fort Myers.

Let’s dive into some of the questions surrounding the team’s pitchers and catchers…
Image courtesy of Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Who leads the rotation?
Ervin Santana is out for the first month of the season. This will give an opportunity for other pitchers to step up and lead the rotation. Jose Berrios could be poised for a breakout season. He dominated at multiple levels in the minor leagues and he’s shown flashes of brilliance at the big league level. It seems like 2018 could be his coming out party and the Santana injury might allow him to take his rightful spot at the top of the rotation.

Even though the Twins missed out on Yu Darvish, the front office has a plan in place moving forward. Other free agents like Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn have been in regular contact with the Twins. The Star Tribune is reporting that Minnesota has offered a trade to Tampa Bay for former All-Star Chris Archer. This trade would likely revolve around Max Kepler and multiple prospects. Jake Odorizzi is another potential trade target from Tampa and his price tag would likely be lower than Archer's.

Who fills in while Santana is out?
If Minnesota adds one of the names listed above, there will still be parts of the rotation to sort out during spring training. The Twins will certainly be testing the mantra, “There’s no such thing as too much pitching.” There are likely three rotation locks, Jose Berrios, Kyle Gibson and Adalberto Mejia. This leaves one spot open if the team adds another pitcher or two spots if they stay with the current roster.

There are a variety of players in contention for the rotation's final spot. Aaron Slegers, Dietrich Enns, Felix Jorge, Tyler Duffey, Trevor May and Phil Hughes could all see time in the rotation this year. Situations like options remaining and contracts likely factor into the team’s final roster construction.

Who winds up in the bullpen?
Much like the rotation, there are some locks for the bullpen. Fernando Rodney figures to get the bulk of the save opportunities. Addison Reed, Zach Duke and Trevor Hildenberger will get plenty of late inning opportunities. Some of the players that miss out on a rotation spot will also end up in the bullpen. May, Hughes and Duffey could all be candidates for a long-relief role. Other players in consideration will be Taylor Rogers, Ryan Pressly, Alan Busenitz, Tyler Kinley, John Curtiss, J.T. Chargois and Gabriel Moya.

If the pitching staff was being created today, here’s how I’d see things coming together.
Starting Rotation: Jose Berrios, Kyle Gibson, Adalberto Mejia, Phil Hughes, Tyler Duffey
Bullpen: Fernando Rodney, Addison Reed, Zach Duke, Trevor Hildenberger, Taylor Rogers, Ryan Pressly, Alan Busenitz

Who earns the back-up catcher role?
Chris Gimenez took his talents to Chicago and might have had a role in luring Yu Darvish the Cubs. This means the Twins have an opening at the back-up catcher role. Mitch Garver posted a .928 OPS at Triple-A in 2018. In 110 Triple-A games, he has hit .298/.386/.520 with 18 home runs and 34 doubles. He seems ready to take over the back-up catcher role. If the Twins want him to be starting every day, he could end up back in Rochester. This could leave an opportunity for a player like Bobby Wilson to earn the back-up catcher position.

What storylines will you follow with pitchers and catchers this spring? Leave a comment and start the discussion.

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76 Comments

Gonsalves and Romero have to be told that it is up to them whether they are Twins or minor leaguers.Its time to step up.  

Gonsalves and Romero have to be told that it is up to them whether they are Twins or minor leaguers. Its time to step up.


I'd love to see one of these guys make the team, but I'm not really a fan of performance in a tiny sample size of practice games having any influence on whether a player makes the team or not.
    • Dantes929, beckmt and Vanimal46 like this

 

I'd love to see one of these guys make the team, but I'm not really a fan of performance in a tiny sample size of practice games having any influence on whether a player makes the team or not.

They have proven it in the minors, they have shown their ability so that they have ranked themselves as top prospects.It is like looking for a job and being asked what their prior experience is when they are looking for their initial experience.Give them a chance - see what we have. 

    • tarheeltwinsfan and MN_ExPat like this

They have proven it in the minors, they have shown their ability so that they have ranked themselves as top prospects. It is like looking for a job and being asked what their prior experience is when they are looking for their initial experience. Give them a chance - see what we have.


And that is what I would want the decision to be based on, their tools and larger sample size performance in the minors.

Phil Hughes's name has been thrown around by the media left and right. 

Is there any evidence that he will start Spring Training throwing the ball, instead of on the 60-day DL?I have seen zero reports about him starting a throwing program, and it has been about 6 or 7 months since his latest surgery. 

    • Blake, Danchat, TNTwinsFan and 7 others like this

"Jose Berrios, Kyle Gibson, Adalberto Mejia, Phil Hughes, Tyler Duffey"

 

Good lord that's a mediocre starting rotation.

    • mikelink45 and caninatl04 like this

"Jose Berrios, Kyle Gibson, Adalberto Mejia, Phil Hughes, Tyler Duffey"

Good lord that's a mediocre starting rotation.


Mediocre? I wish!
    • USAFChief, Mike Sixel, Kevin and 11 others like this
Absolutely no question in my mind there will be a signing of one of the remaining FA or a trade for the rotation. After all, it was a concern before the Santana surgery, and it sure hasn't gone away. In fact, I expect a signing or trade soon, plus a flier on one of the lower tier FA on a 1 year deal for depth and insurance on Santana.

Rotation: (Not in any order)

TBD
Berrios
Gibson
Mejia
1 year FA with look sees from milb talent and Duffy.

Hughes a huge dark horse, a seat being kept warm for Santana, of course.

Bullpen:

Rodney
Reed
Duke
Rogers
Hildenberger
Pressly
Duffey, if not in the rotation

Busentiz, outside looking in depending on Duffey. He just needs to flash a bit more. If he does, Duffey could be out.

Moya, Jay, Curtiss, Reed and Chargois just waiting for their chance at Rochester. (Not including SP working their way in as relievers)

The most interesting thing to me is the lack of seeming aggressiveness in regard to catcher. I really thought the Twins would re-sign Giminez on a milb contract. Really, Wilson is the ONLY roster move they made. Very surprised by this. Tells me the coaching staff and FO actually like and believe in Garver here, and that his limited time behind the plate to close the year was due to experience and status quo for the playoff run.
    • tarheeltwinsfan and caninatl04 like this

 

Phil Hughes's name has been thrown around by the media left and right. 

Is there any evidence that he will start Spring Training throwing the ball, instead of on the 60-day DL?I have seen zero reports about him starting a throwing program, and it has been about 6 or 7 months since his latest surgery. 

Hughes should retire before his arm falls off. Good career, hang 'em up.

    • Dave The Dastardly likes this

 

"Jose Berrios, Kyle Gibson, Adalberto Mejia, Phil Hughes, Tyler Duffey"

 

Good lord that's a mediocre starting rotation.

Mediocre is certainly possible.On the other hand, it could also be a good one (note: I didn't say great).Expect Hughes is the big question which we won't know anything about until he starts throwing in ST games.

Moya, Reed, Jay, Curtiss, Chargois and possibly Busenitz will all be in Rochester.The Red Wings are gonna have one nice bullpen.

    • birdwatcher, tarheeltwinsfan, howieramone2 and 1 other like this

 

Phil Hughes's name has been thrown around by the media left and right. 

Is there any evidence that he will start Spring Training throwing the ball, instead of on the 60-day DL?I have seen zero reports about him starting a throwing program, and it has been about 6 or 7 months since his latest surgery. 

LaVelle E Neall tweeted a picture of him throwing yesterday with Garvin Alston looking on.  

    • Thrylos likes this

"Jose Berrios, Kyle Gibson, Adalberto Mejia, Phil Hughes, Tyler Duffey"

Good lord that's a mediocre starting rotation.

that is a generous description :-)
    • beckmt likes this

They have proven it in the minors,


They have? Gonsalves has 22 IP at AAA, and he gave up 14 runs. Romero has yet to throw a pitch in AAA, and had a 3.53 ERA in AA where the league ERA was 3.60.
    • USAFChief, Oxtung, Ben Noble and 6 others like this
Photo
Brock Beauchamp
Feb 13 2018 08:51 AM

"Jose Berrios, Kyle Gibson, Adalberto Mejia, Phil Hughes, Tyler Duffey"

Good lord that's a mediocre starting rotation.

Someone drank a gallon of optimism coffee this morning.
    • USAFChief, beckmt, tarheeltwinsfan and 3 others like this

 

Someone drank a gallon of optimism coffee this morning.

It's Steven Pinker's new book...

 

https://www.amazon.c...lightenment now

    • Doctor Wu likes this

 

Phil Hughes's name has been thrown around by the media left and right. 

Is there any evidence that he will start Spring Training throwing the ball, instead of on the 60-day DL?I have seen zero reports about him starting a throwing program, and it has been about 6 or 7 months since his latest surgery. 

 

Saw a photo of him throwing a bullpen yesterday. I'm not counting on him for anything, though.

    • beckmt likes this

 

They have? Gonsalves has 22 IP at AAA, and he gave up 14 runs. Romero has yet to throw a pitch in AAA, and had a 3.53 ERA in AA where the league ERA was 3.60.

 

If the team feels that Romero and Gonsalves are long-term rotation pieces, then this April (before Santana returns and if they don't add anyone new by FA or trade) might be a perfect time to get their feet wet and see how they perform. You'll recall that Berrios, even with his sparkling AAA stats, bounced back and forth a bit before he found his footing in the majors. If either of these two guys take off, we'll forget about signing outside help, and if not, they can go back down for some more seasoning and prepare for a late-season call-up. 

 

Frankly, I'd rather do that, knowing that they'll probably be on a short leash, than take the Terry Ryan approach of waiting until after June 1 before calling these guys up just so they don't reach Super Two status, assuming that they'll stick and not have to go back down.

    • mikelink45 likes this

 

They have? Gonsalves has 22 IP at AAA, and he gave up 14 runs. Romero has yet to throw a pitch in AAA, and had a 3.53 ERA in AA where the league ERA was 3.60.

 

It's a chemical that's being added to the water in some towns.When you're supposed to see Stephen Gonsalves and Fernando Romero, it shows up as Tom Glavine and Felix Hernandez.

    • Vanimal46 likes this

If the team feels that Romero and Gonsalves are long-term rotation pieces, then this April (before Santana returns and if they don't add anyone new by FA or trade) might be a perfect time to get their feet wet and see how they perform. You'll recall that Berrios, even with his sparkling AAA stats, bounced back and forth a bit before he found his footing in the majors. If either of these two guys take off, we'll forget about signing outside help, and if not, they can go back down for some more seasoning and prepare for a late-season call-up.

Frankly, I'd rather do that, knowing that they'll probably be on a short leash, than take the Terry Ryan approach of waiting until after June 1 before calling these guys up just so they don't reach Super Two status, assuming that they'll stick and not have to go back down.


Right, Berrios struggled mightily in the majors even with sparkly AAA stats. So Romero and Gonsalves are different and do well in the majors with no AAA experience to think of?

I don't think some realize how huge of an ask it is to jump from AA to MLB as a pitcher.
    • Twins33, Ben Noble, slash129 and 2 others like this
Photo
Brock Beauchamp
Feb 13 2018 09:38 AM

 

Right, Berrios struggled mightily in the majors even with sparkly AAA stats. So Romero and Gonsalves are different and do well in the majors with no AAA experience to think of?

I don't think some realize how huge of an ask it is to jump from AA to MLB as a pitcher.

Never mind that calling up a legitimate prospect for Opening Day is kind of a bad idea.

 

In that situation, you're secretly hoping the player will struggle and force a demotion so you get back that extra year of control.

 

So where's the upside? If you give that player a month or two in AAA, get a better read on his ability, then you can promote him, let him struggle through issues, and gain an additional year of control.

 

I don't give a rat's ass about Super Two status but that extra year of control is important, especially if the downside is losing three weeks at the front of that player's career.

    • Carole Keller, Vanimal46 and howieramone2 like this

I don't think there's even a 1 percent chance of Romero breaking camp with the Twins.

 

 

    • Carole Keller, Twins33, Oxtung and 2 others like this
Photo
Brock Beauchamp
Feb 13 2018 09:42 AM

 

I don't think there's even a 1 percent chance of Romero breaking camp with the Twins.

Considering how many pitchers have AAA experience in front of him, I don't see why the Twins would even consider promoting him.

 

Fernando Romero is a good, not great, prospect who has several capable pitchers (of varying degrees) in front of him in the organization. Why would you leapfrog that guy to the majors before he pitches a single inning of AAA ball?

Never mind that calling up a legitimate prospect for Opening Day is kind of a bad idea.

In that situation, you're secretly hoping the player will struggle and force a demotion so you get back that extra year of control.

So where's the upside? If you give that player a month or two in AAA, get a better read on his ability, then you can promote him, let him struggle through issues, and gain an additional year of control.

I don't give a rat's ass about Super Two status but that extra year of control is important, especially if the downside is losing three weeks at the front of that player's career.

I forgot about that. Great point. At the very least, wait until whatever that date is to get the additional year of control.

Like you though I want both of those players to get a month or 2 of AAA experience before considering a call up.

Spring Training is all about the pitching staff for this club. Figuring out the rotation, settling roles in the bullpen, and working out whether or not this team can survive the first month with only 12 pitchers.

 

I have to assume they're going to either make a trade or sign someone for the rotation. There's just no way we can start the season with it being Berrios, Meija, Gibson, May, and Duffey (or any of the minor league guys filling out the back end.) we'd need 14 pitchers, minimum, to stay afloat until Ervin comes back because none of those guys has shown consistent ability to go late in games. (I just can't trust Gibson any longer. I promoted him for the last two spring trainings as a guy ready to take the leap forward and he's crushed my hopes every time with his secret identity as The Tease. Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it's enemy action. Not letting it happen to me again!)

 

I feel better about the bullpen than I have in a while; the combination of MLB-ready prospects, guys returning from injury, and veteran reinforcements makes me think we might be solid out the gate instead of floundering.

 

The lineup is good to go: Garver slots in at backup catcher and helps gives some guys a day off if he shows he can hit enough. I'd like to see Granite as a 4th OF, but I'm not sure he's going to hit enough. but he'd make a great late-game defensive replacement and let Buxton get some days off.


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