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Twins Still Have Room For Pitching

The major priority of the Minnesota Twins' General Manager, Terry Ryan, has been to re-build a starting rotation that has been at the bottom of the major leagues in pretty much every statistical category in 2013. There is general agreement that the rotation was pretty much a mess in 2013 and needed fixing. There is also the general impression that the Twins' pen was the strength of the team and it is better left alone. However, in 2013 the Twins' pen ranked:

17th out of 30 MLB teams as far as ERA goes
17th out of 30 MLB teams as far as FIP goes
17th out of 30 MLB teams as far as SIERA goes
8th out of 30 MLB teams as far as WHIP goes
19th out of 30 MLB teams as far as K% goes

In other words, the Twins' pen which, compared to the Twins' rotation, seemed great, when compared to the rest of the major league pens is average in a lot of ways.

Busted myth number one: The Twins' pen was not great in 2013 and, while it might have been a bright point in 2013 compared to the rest of the team, it does not cut the mustard compared to the rest of league.

There is a lot of room for improvement and I suspect Terry Ryan will address it before spring training, likely helping the Twins be competitive in 2014.

Originally published at The Tenth Inning Stretch

After the recent additions of new and returning starting pitchers there have been arguments that the Twins have too many starting pitchers and there is a logjam of pitchers on the Twins' roster.

I thought it might be a good time to take a breath and look at what the Twins have on their 40-man roster as far as pitching goes and see whether this argument is true or not.

Here is the Twins' forty man roster broken down in to, groups alphabetically (players in bold are out of options):

Group A: Starting pitchers with no options signed to sizeable contracts the last two seasons.

Kevin Correia (RHSP)
Phil Hughes (RHSP)
Rick Nolasco (RHSP)
Mike Pelfrey (RHSP)

Group B: Relief pitchers with no options signed to sizeable contracts the last two seasons or offered arbitration.

Jared Burton (RHRP)
Brian Duensing (LHSP/RP)
Glen Perkins (LHRP)
Anthony Swarzak (RHSP/RP)

Group C: Starting pitchers with no options and small contracts who have played in the majors for more than three seasons.

Sam Deduno (RHSP)
Scott Diamond (LHSP)
Vance Worley (RHSP)

Group D: Starting and relief pitchers with options and small contracts who have played in the majors for at least one season.

Andrew Albers (LHSP)
Casey Fien (RHRP)
Kyle Gibson (RHSP)
Kris Johnson (LHSP)
Ryan Pressly (RHRP)
Caleb Thielbar (LHRP)
Michael Tonkin (RHRP)

Group E: Starting and relief pitchers with options and small contracts who have never played in the majors.

Logan Darnell (LHSP)
Edgar Ibarra (LHRP)
Trevor May (RHSP)

Broken down this way, the perceived logjam of Twins' staring pitchers becomes less of a logjam:

The Twins usually have a 12 man pitching staff. They currently have 4 starters and 4 relievers (groups A and B) who are pretty much guaranteed a job. This opens 4 more positions, one in the rotation and three in the pen. If you assume the Twins value all pitchers in Group C who are out of options, they have the space to find them all a major league job, as well as allow another pitcher, likely from Group D or potentially outside the organization, to gain a rotation or bullpen position. The others will provide depth in AAA and be available in case of emergency or potentially be offered in trades to fill additional Twins' needs, like position players.

Busted myth number two: There is no pitching logjam on the Twins' roster.

In other words, the Twins do have a lot of pitching depth in their 40-man roster, but they are not in a logjam situation where they cannot accommodate all their pitchers without options on the 25 man roster. And this assumes Samuel Deduno who is recuperating from double (labrum and rotation cuff) shoulder surgery is available to start the season.

While it is too early to name names to complete the rotation and the pen, this early assessment shows the Twins do not have any sort of a pitching logjam and also have plenty of options.

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