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Nick Nelson
03-28-2012, 10:26 PM
You can view the page at http://www.twinsdaily.com/content.php?371-Position-Analysis-Starting-Pitcher

Ultima Ratio
03-28-2012, 10:35 PM
Pitching wins games. Pitching wins pennant races. Pitching wins championships. A true baseball fan enjoys a 2-1 game. Pitching, pitching, pitching. If these guys don't succeed, it one heck of a long season. Fingers crossed for good health and a team SP ERA below 4.00

Zach
03-29-2012, 12:01 AM
I cant understad how the twins have been without an ace for so long. Santana left 5 years ago now, and I feel we havent seen any real dominant starter since. How has starting pitching been left so obviously mediocre? Are aces that difficult to get? Are any potential phenoms on the way through the farm? thanks for your thoughts all.

USAFChief
03-29-2012, 01:37 AM
Starting pitching is problem 1 for this team, and that's saying something.

Hard to see how it could happen, but if the starting pitching exceeds reasonable expectations, that'd go a long way towards a return to competitiveness for this season.

Not to mention I can't even begin to imagine what the rotation will look like on opening day 2013.

Were I GM, I'd be trying to get Liriano signed to an extension.

twinswon1991
03-29-2012, 06:22 AM
The Twins have 2 #3/#4 in Baker and Liriano. A #5 starter on any other team in Pavano. And 2 guys who have no business being anything other than a AAA starter or a long reliever on a minimum contract in Marquis and Blacky.

I was looking around the majors to try to find a worse rotation and I only found a couple candidates: Astros (easily better than twins if they hadn't moved Myers to the pen), Royals (much higher potential with Sanchez, Duffy, Montgomery but overall close).

This is going to be a PATHETIC year. Might as well bring Liam up and let him take his lumps as opposed to give any meaningful innings to bench fodder like Marquis and Blacky.

THIS HAS A CHANCE TO BE THE WORST ROTATION IN BASEBALL HISTORY!!!

Gernzy
03-29-2012, 08:30 AM
The Twins have 2 #3/#4 in Baker and Liriano. A #5 starter on any other team in Pavano. And 2 guys who have no business being anything other than a AAA starter or a long reliever on a minimum contract in Marquis and Blacky.

I was looking around the majors to try to find a worse rotation and I only found a couple candidates: Astros (easily better than twins if they hadn't moved Myers to the pen), Royals (much higher potential with Sanchez, Duffy, Montgomery but overall close).

This is going to be a PATHETIC year. Might as well bring Liam up and let him take his lumps as opposed to give any meaningful innings to bench fodder like Marquis and Blacky.

THIS HAS A CHANCE TO BE THE WORST ROTATION IN BASEBALL HISTORY!!!

Worst in history? Really? REALLY? wow. Can you at least wait until the season starts before you rip on the team. Thanks.

woolhouse
03-29-2012, 08:51 AM
Hopefully the offensive only improves on it's already decent spring training, because they're going to have to win a lot of 9-8 games...

It's also a good thing the bullpen will have Duensing and Swarzak, two pitchers who can pitch 3-4 innings every couple of days.

jimbo92107
03-29-2012, 09:00 AM
twinswon1991, this also has a chance to be a pretty good starting rotation. If we're really talking about 'chances,' then there's a chance Liriano will be good this year, finally getting control of his sideways cartwheel delivery. Baker I'm worried about, but he's had early season elbow trouble before and still had a good season. Blackburn appears to be in the best shape physically since his early days. Pavano looks no worse than last year. Marquis, yep, he's a complete question mark, but Liam Hendriks looks ready to fill in as needed, and I think Swarzak is a lot better than some do.

I'm not claiming anything spectacular for this staff, but the current starters are all veterans, and none of them appear likely to collapse mentally. The two backups appear to be mechanically sound and mentally tough. No Cy Young candidates, unless Liriano catches fire. The rest are #3's and 4's on most teams, but that's how the Twins have designed their team, mostly ground ball pitchers with good defense behind them. This bunch fits that mold pretty well.

Fanatic Jack
03-29-2012, 09:18 AM
Twinswon1991,

Nice accessment and very truthful. Why is everybody just happy with baseball season starting? What the front office did was really unacceptable and it's not on Ryan. This mess is completely on the shoulders of the Pohlad family and their complete refusal to spend even a fraction of money. They did nothing to improve the starting rotation or bullpen. Basically our biggest pitching acquisition was Jason Marquis. Yes, it it true this was their biggest signing. Why other writers/bloggers protect the front office after they cut $15 million from payroll is mind boggling.

Dantes929
03-29-2012, 09:28 AM
"allowing that much contact in front of a substandard defense led to a league-worst 1,086 hits allowed." They also walked 100 more batters than in 2010. It was just a horrible year all around. However, this is almost the exact same rotation as the team that won 94 games in 2010.

mike wants wins
03-29-2012, 09:30 AM
This staff is not very good, probably. I'd guess it won't be any better than 20th or so, which is criminal in a stadium this unfriendly to hitters.....as a real fan that has been watching baseball since the 60s, I like 6-5 games just as much as 2-1 games, but it sure would be nice if there were more games under 5 runs allowed this year.....

Dantes929
03-29-2012, 09:34 AM
The Twins have 2 #3/#4 in Baker and Liriano. A #5 starter on any other team in Pavano. And 2 guys who have no business being anything other than a AAA starter or a long reliever on a minimum contract in Marquis and Blacky.

I was looking around the majors to try to find a worse rotation and I only found a couple candidates: Astros (easily better than twins if they hadn't moved Myers to the pen), Royals (much higher potential with Sanchez, Duffy, Montgomery but overall close).

This is going to be a PATHETIC year. Might as well bring Liam up and let him take his lumps as opposed to give any meaningful innings to bench fodder like Marquis and Blacky.

THIS HAS A CHANCE TO BE THE WORST ROTATION IN BASEBALL HISTORY!!! Blackburn has been wildly inconsistent. If you look at his career month by month you will see 10 months with ERA above 5.00, 2 moths betwee 4.00 and 5.00 (one would think this is where he would be most months), 6 months with an ERA between 3.00 and 4.00 (which is very good) and 6 months with an ERA below 3.00 which is fabulous. It all combines for a 4.50 ERA which is very good for a back of the rotation MAJOR LEAGUE starter and pretty close to the MAJOR LEAGUE average.

Dantes929
03-29-2012, 09:36 AM
Yes, aces are that difficult to get. According to one of the Strib blogs there only exist 12 aces in all the majors.

jmlease1
03-29-2012, 10:01 AM
The Twins have 2 #3/#4 in Baker and Liriano. A #5 starter on any other team in Pavano. And 2 guys who have no business being anything other than a AAA starter or a long reliever on a minimum contract in Marquis and Blacky.

I was looking around the majors to try to find a worse rotation and I only found a couple candidates: Astros (easily better than twins if they hadn't moved Myers to the pen), Royals (much higher potential with Sanchez, Duffy, Montgomery but overall close).

This is going to be a PATHETIC year. Might as well bring Liam up and let him take his lumps as opposed to give any meaningful innings to bench fodder like Marquis and Blacky.

THIS HAS A CHANCE TO BE THE WORST ROTATION IN BASEBALL HISTORY!!!

Baker & Liriano only get discounted if you punish them for inability to stay healthy. On talent, Liriano is a #1, Baker is a #2. Pavano is a 3-4 at this point in his career, but he's not a 5 because he seems to be able to stay healthy and grind out 200+ innings now. I don't understand why you hate Blackburn so much. Healthy he's absolutely a MLB starter. Marquis is the definition of a "veteran presence, back of the rotation" guy, and as a 5th starter he'll be fine if he can keep the ball on the ground. If not, well, he's a 5th starter and we have other options to fill that role with Hendriks, Swarzak, etc.

Also, if you were able to find a couple of candidates in MLB that could be worse than the Twins rotation, even with your deeply pessimistic and seemingly anti-Twins attitude...how can this be the worst rotation in baseball history? I mean seriously.

Scott Baker: ERA+ of 128 last season.
Tim Lincecum: ERA+ of 130 last season.

Nick Blackburn: ERA+ of 89 last season, with injuries
Detroit's 2-4 starters last season (Scherzer, Porcello, Penny): 92, 86, 79 respectively
Still think he's not MLB-worthy?

The real issue with the Twins rotation is health, not ability. There's enough talent there for this club to compete, but if guys like Liriano, Baker, and Blackburn aren't healthy/can't stay healthy, then the team is going to have problems. But it's hard to bet on health one way or the other. Is Carl Pavano a workhorse or injury-riddled? FLA fans would call him a workhorse, after seeing back-to-back 200+ inning seasons. Yankee fans think of him as an injury-riddled mess with 3 straight seasons where he could get on/stay on the field. Since then he's been back to workhorse mode with 4 straight 200+ inning seasons! (ok, I rounded up a bit; the first 2 of those 4 he was actually at 199 1/3 in each of them) Which should we project/count on?

The Twins are betting their starters will be healthy enough this season. There's definite risk in that position, especially since Gibson won't be ready to step in this year. I'd feel a lot better about where the starters are if we had BOTH Gibson and Hendriks waiting in AAA if Baker has arm trouble, Marquis is ineffective, or Pavano finally runs out of gas. But it's not an unreasonable risk.

birdwatcher
03-29-2012, 10:20 AM
jmlease, excellent post! And Fanatic Jack, perhaps it isn't a question of us "protecting" the Pohlads. Maybe we disagree with your incredibly negative opinions.

I recall, in 1987, many negative opinions when they marched out Les Straker as the #3 starter. Les friggin' Straker! I could probably find you a post or two from that spring proclaiming a distinct possibility of that rotation have the potential of going down as the WORST ROTATION IN BASEBALL HISTORY!!!

Fanatic Jack
03-29-2012, 10:31 AM
Birdwatcher,

Do you work for the Twins?? Before you criticize my thoughts think about this. Would cutting payroll after losing 99 games be acceptable in NY, Boston, Phily, LA, or even Detroit. The answer is no way in million years. The reason why because fans and sports writers would go after the front office. I just don't understand why fans are not more outraged by a team that did absolutly nothing to improve itself. I guess we should just be happy because the Twins are still in Minnesota. Sorry that is not good enough for me. Welcome to the 90's all over again and the fans are buying it hook, line, and sinker..

whydidnt
03-29-2012, 11:03 AM
Twinswon1991,

Nice accessment and very truthful. Why is everybody just happy with baseball season starting? What the front office did was really unacceptable and it's not on Ryan. This mess is completely on the shoulders of the Pohlad family and their complete refusal to spend even a fraction of money. They did nothing to improve the starting rotation or bullpen. Basically our biggest pitching acquisition was Jason Marquis. Yes, it it true this was their biggest signing. Why other writers/bloggers protect the front office after they cut $15 million from payroll is mind boggling.
Have to agree. Rumor has it that revenue was in excess of $230 million last year. They have historically spent 50% of revenue on payroll, yet now when revenue goes up thanks to a Tax Payer funded stadium, they decide to pocket more of the money. Completely frustrating! I was thinking of buying season tickets this year, but decided since the owners refuse to invest in the team, why should I?

whydidnt
03-29-2012, 11:06 AM
jmlease, excellent post! And Fanatic Jack, perhaps it isn't a question of us "protecting" the Pohlads. Maybe we disagree with your incredibly negative opinions.

I recall, in 1987, many negative opinions when they marched out Les Straker as the #3 starter. Les friggin' Straker! I could probably find you a post or two from that spring proclaiming a distinct possibility of that rotation have the potential of going down as the WORST ROTATION IN BASEBALL HISTORY!!!
Except in '87 they also had Frank Viola and Bert Blyleven. I've seen Viola and Blyleven pitch, my friend, and it's an insult to those men to compare ANY of the current pitchers to those two.

whydidnt
03-29-2012, 11:12 AM
This: "
The front office didn't focus much on adding reinforcements during the offseason, signing only one new player who figures to be the fifth starter. Instead, they'll rely on improved health, effectiveness and accountability from the incumbents."
is all you need to know. They basically have no plan, but are simply hoping and praying the guys they had are better than they have shown in the past. It may be even worse than last year, when you consider the lack of reinforcements at AAA this year. Other than Hendricks, who are the Twins hoping to get help from if, or rather when a couple of these guys fail or get hurt? Is anyone really comfortable with the fact they are thinking of using Maloney and Swarzak as their 4 and 5 to start the year...making an already questionable bullpen even more questionable?

whydidnt
03-29-2012, 11:19 AM
I'll take this a step further, if the Twins had been willing to spend even couple million more they could have landed someone like Eric Bedard, or Chis Capuano instead of Jason Marquis. Both are injury risks (just like Marquis) but both have a much higher upside. I'd go so far as to say they would have been better off adding the 2 million they spent on Carroll to what they spent on Marquis and sticking with Dozier at SS. Oh, by the way Colon signed for 1.5 million. The Twins couldn't have "stretched" to give him 2 million? Sure he's a risk, but he was also darn effective last year.

My gripe is that if they hadn't been so married to the guys that have proved to be questionable or ineffective in the past, they could have certainly improved. It's almost as if they didn't try.

twinswon1991
03-29-2012, 11:34 AM
Baker & Liriano only get discounted if you punish them for inability to stay healthy. On talent, Liriano is a #1, Baker is a #2. Pavano is a 3-4 at this point in his career, but he's not a 5 because he seems to be able to stay healthy and grind out 200+ innings now. I don't understand why you hate Blackburn so much. Healthy he's absolutely a MLB starter. Marquis is the definition of a "veteran presence, back of the rotation" guy, and as a 5th starter he'll be fine if he can keep the ball on the ground. If not, well, he's a 5th starter and we have other options to fill that role with Hendriks, Swarzak, etc.

Also, if you were able to find a couple of candidates in MLB that could be worse than the Twins rotation, even with your deeply pessimistic and seemingly anti-Twins attitude...how can this be the worst rotation in baseball history? I mean seriously.

Scott Baker: ERA+ of 128 last season.
Tim Lincecum: ERA+ of 130 last season.

Nick Blackburn: ERA+ of 89 last season, with injuries
Detroit's 2-4 starters last season (Scherzer, Porcello, Penny): 92, 86, 79 respectively
Still think he's not MLB-worthy?

The real issue with the Twins rotation is health, not ability. There's enough talent there for this club to compete, but if guys like Liriano, Baker, and Blackburn aren't healthy/can't stay healthy, then the team is going to have problems. But it's hard to bet on health one way or the other. Is Carl Pavano a workhorse or injury-riddled? FLA fans would call him a workhorse, after seeing back-to-back 200+ inning seasons. Yankee fans think of him as an injury-riddled mess with 3 straight seasons where he could get on/stay on the field. Since then he's been back to workhorse mode with 4 straight 200+ inning seasons! (ok, I rounded up a bit; the first 2 of those 4 he was actually at 199 1/3 in each of them) Which should we project/count on?

The Twins are betting their starters will be healthy enough this season. There's definite risk in that position, especially since Gibson won't be ready to step in this year. I'd feel a lot better about where the starters are if we had BOTH Gibson and Hendriks waiting in AAA if Baker has arm trouble, Marquis is ineffective, or Pavano finally runs out of gas. But it's not an unreasonable risk.

Huh??????? Comparing Baker to Lincecum??? Comparing Blacky to Detroit's pitching?? Do you honestly think Leland would even bother to have cannon fodder like Blacky pitch for him? I am a Baker fan when on the field which is never.

The pathetic thing about these pitchers is they make half their starts in the most fly ball friendly park in the league and still produce below mediocre numbers.

You should tell Terry Ryan to call Sabean and offer Baker for Lincecum because your cute little stat says they are equal pitchers. HaHaHa

twinswon1991
03-29-2012, 11:40 AM
I'll take this a step further, if the Twins had been willing to spend even couple million more they could have landed someone like Eric Bedard, or Chis Capuano instead of Jason Marquis. Both are injury risks (just like Marquis) but both have a much higher upside. I'd go so far as to say they would have been better off adding the 2 million they spent on Carroll to what they spent on Marquis and sticking with Dozier at SS. Oh, by the way Colon signed for 1.5 million. The Twins couldn't have "stretched" to give him 2 million? Sure he's a risk, but he was also darn effective last year.

My gripe is that if they hadn't been so married to the guys that have proved to be questionable or ineffective in the past, they could have certainly improved. It's almost as if they didn't try.

Marquis should have never recieved a major league deal but clueless Terry Ryan went ahead and bid against himself and wasted precious dollars that couldve went towards useful assets. The Twins couldve signed Marquis to a minor league deal and I wouldve said good job as no other teams would offer this bum a guaranteed mlb deal. As they say all you have to find is one sucker and Marquis's agent found Terry Ryan.

Fanatic Jack
03-29-2012, 11:49 AM
Whydidnt,

I would just be happy with signing Michael Wuertz but apparently he is worth too much. Glad we spent $850.000 on a injury prone reliever who had not pitched in two years. The concept this year should be more open and transparent but instead it's all about HOPE. Hope does you no good when the talent is not there.

kevinlillie
03-29-2012, 11:50 AM
here's a scary thought.. i heard on 1500 this morning that blackburn is the only pitcher that is signed through the end of this season... we are gonna need to do a lot of shopping this offseason

StormJH1
03-29-2012, 12:07 PM
There are so many reasons to be concerned here. Baker and Liriano are the only two out of the 5 that even have the POTENTIAL to miss bats. Baker is already quasi-hurt, and Liriano was hittable and erratic again last year. Apart from Pavano, the 2 through 5 starters didn't make it to 150 innings last year, due to injury.

In other words, even if you were satisfied with these 5 guys (I'm not), they're not going to all be available by June or July, maybe even earlier. And given that there's no up and coming stud in the entire upper levels of the organization ready to step in like we thought Gibson might last year (before his injury), those innings are going to end up going to batting practice guys like Hendricks, Swarzak, and Wimmers. Look out...

@kevinlillie - That thought would frighten me more if we had 5 guys (or even 3) worth keeping. Baker and Liriano are intriguing, but guys off the waiver wire/trade heap could do roughly the same as the other guys we throw out there.

jmlease1
03-29-2012, 03:48 PM
Huh??????? Comparing Baker to Lincecum??? Comparing Blacky to Detroit's pitching?? Do you honestly think Leland would even bother to have cannon fodder like Blacky pitch for him? I am a Baker fan when on the field which is never.

The pathetic thing about these pitchers is they make half their starts in the most fly ball friendly park in the league and still produce below mediocre numbers.

You should tell Terry Ryan to call Sabean and offer Baker for Lincecum because your cute little stat says they are equal pitchers. HaHaHa

Well, since ERA+ accounts for park factors, it's a pretty reasonable stat to look at general value. Try to keep in mind, Tim Lincecum hasn't been the same pitcher the last 2 seasons as those 2 Cy Young years, mmmkay? No, Sabean's not going to deal the guy for Baker (who is 2 years older and has trouble staying healthy), but last season they were fairly comparable until Baker got hurt. And Baker's numbers show pretty clearly that he's capable for being a nice #2 starter if healthy.

I think Jim Leland would have been happy to have a guy like Blackburn pitching for him last season, again, before Blackie got hurt. If Nick Blackburn is your 2nd or 3rd guy, that's not good. If he's your 4th or 5th guy, that's not bad at all.

I'd rather use stats to look at how good our pitching staff is or can be, than rely on memory. If you're remembering those games at the end of July when he went back-to-back giving up a gazillion hits, runs in bunches, and couldn't get through more than 3-4 innings...yeah, you'll think he stinks. If you remember May when he went 5 straight starts pitching into the 7th inning including a complete game, never giving up more than 2 ER, then you probably think he's a really good pitcher. The truth lies somewhere in between: healthy, Nick Blackburn should be the 4th or 5th starter on a decent pitching staff.

JB_Iowa
03-29-2012, 05:06 PM
here's a scary thought.. i heard on 1500 this morning that blackburn is the only pitcher that is signed through the end of this season... we are gonna need to do a lot of shopping this offseason

According to Cot's Baseball Contracts, the Twins do have an option on Baker for 2013. For $9.25 million. That may or may not make you feel better. ;)

Teflon
03-29-2012, 06:17 PM
Does an outfield of Willingham, Span, and Plouffe strike anyone as being an improvement defensively over last year? Willingham in left has the potential to make Delmon Young seem mercurial by comparison and Plouffe has only handled 30 more chances as an outfielder than I have.

The pitching staff is going to have to be content with whatever defensive improvement Jamey Carroll provides on his lonesome* over last year's Nishioka/Plouffe/Casilla/Tolbert consipracy.

*I estimate Carroll's impact to be a 20 run improvement based on last year's Total Zone Total Fielding Runs Above Average. Considering Carroll was 5 runs below average in a third of a season at SS for the Dodgers, how sad was our 2011 bunch? (-36 runs)

Higuys
03-30-2012, 10:33 AM
I cant understad how the twins have been without an ace for so long. Santana left 5 years ago now, and I feel we havent seen any real dominant starter since. How has starting pitching been left so obviously mediocre? Are aces that difficult to get? Are any potential phenoms on the way through the farm? thanks for your thoughts all.
Kyle Gibson was a lefty in our Triple-A system that had the potential to be a good 3rd starter in any rotation but didn't pitch at all during the 2011 season due to Tommy John surgery.

LaBombo
03-30-2012, 01:24 PM
Kyle Gibson was a lefty in our Triple-A system that had the potential to be a good 3rd starter in any rotation but didn't pitch at all during the 2011 season due to Tommy John surgery.

Gibson is actually a lefty? No wonder he needed TJ surgery! When I saw him pitch he was throwing with his right arm, which is very unhealthy for a lefty.

And for the person comparing Baker to Lincecum, take a deep breath. Baker is a fine pitcher when healthy, but the Lincecum comparison is a stretch. FIP is a better yardstick than ERA+, and to almost no one's surprise but yours, lincecum led Baker by nearly a run and nearly a half run over the past two seasons respectively.

And that's not even allowing for the strong possibility that Baker's entirely new level of performance in 2011 may be unsustainable for 200+ innings. The injury bug may catch up to Lincecum, but so far he's been an unbreakable workhorse, averaging about 220 innings over the past 4 seasons. Baker is 30 and has yet to exceed 200.