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Who do we go for next?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 06:05 PM
Who is the next realistic target we are going to persue?
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Article: Can Aaron Hicks Be Fixed?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 05:45 PM
One of the more critical openings the Minnesota Twins will have this year is in center field. If all goes well, that job will be Aaron Hi...
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Astros & later pick Nix settle -- part of Aiken mess

MLB Baseball Today, 05:12 PM
Jon Heyman ‏@JonHeymanCBS  · 16m16 minutes ago  astros & draftee nix, whose $1.5M deal was canceled thru no fault of his ow...
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Rumor: Twins to spend over their Int. bonus limit in 2015...

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 04:03 PM
This is completely a rumor, so huge grain of salt, but Kiley McDaniel, who is a legit source, posted it based on "surveying about a dozen...
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Article: Twins Non-Roster Spring Training Invites

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 03:11 PM
On Friday afternoon, the Twins announced that they have invited 18 non-roster players to major league spring training. Among others, top...
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Recent Blogs


Bullpen Evaluations

Attached Image: kyle-waldrop-pitching.jpg The Twins have been taxing their bullpen lately and are amidst a stretch of 20 games without a day off, so it makes sense that they decided to send down Matt Carson – who became the fifth outfielder after Denard Span returned Thursday – in exchange for relief help.

The pitcher they called upon is Kyle Waldrop. This is his second time getting the nod this year, and he only missed a spot on the Opening Day roster because of an injury. It seems clear that the Twins are very high on him, but it's not very clear why.
[PRBREAK][/PRBREAK]Standing 6'5", Waldrop gets a nice downward plane on his pitches and induces a lot of ground balls. In that sense, he's got some potential. At the same time, he doesn't miss any bats. For his career in the minors, Waldrop has averaged 5.7 K/9; for comparison, Nick Blackburn posted a 5.5 mark in his minor-league career.

It's certainly possible for a reliever with a substandard strikeout rate to be effective if he limits walks and keeps the ball down, but Waldrop's K-rate is beyond substandard. Given that he's averaged 5.7 whiffs per nine innings (including 5.2 above Single-A) there's a good chance he'll rank among the most contact-heavy relief pitchers in the majors.

Currently only two MLB relievers have a K/9 mark below 5.0 – two of them are on the Twins (Alex Burnett and Jeff Gray). Do they really intend to move forward with a bullpen filled with guys that can't come in and get a strikeout?

At this point, the Twins' sole focus should be evaluating players for next year and beyond. In order to give Waldrop another look, they bypassed players like Anthony Slama – who is healthy again and back to putting up cartoonish numbers in Triple-A – and Deolis Guerra, who will be out of options next year. Guerra has a bloated ERA in Rochester right now thanks to a home run spike, but his 50-to-21 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 51 innings is far superior to Waldrop's horrible 16-to-13 in 39 innings. Given his previous ranking as a top prospect and his general success since converting to relief duties, you'd have to think that Guerra is more likely to be a long-term bullpen asset than Waldrop.

Speaking of long-term bullpen assets, Gray very obviously is not one. Why is he still on the roster and holding some of these other guys back? Not only has he been one of the least effective relief pitchers in the game this year, he's 30 with a terrible track record and virtually no upside. His future with the organization won't last past this year (you'd hope) so why do the Twins continue to give him innings while missing an opportunity to work with younger arms that they need to make decisions on, such as Guerra and Slama?

It's been one of the most befuddling aspects of this season, but hopefully it will cease to be an issue when rosters expand in a week.


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