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The Possibility of a Minnesota Six-Man Rotation

Posted by Cody Christie , in Twins 28 May 2015 · 2,009 views

tommy milone trevor may ervin santana mike pelfrey kyle gibson
The Possibility of a Minnesota Six-Man Rotation Earlier this week, it was announced that the Mets would start using a six-man rotation. Their plan is to stick with having an extra starter in the rotation through early-to-mid-August. New York's reasoning behind the move is to shave innings totals without the need to shut down pitchers before the end of the season.

The Mets have three young pitchers in their rotation who need to be watched closely. Matt Harvey is in his first season back from Tommy John surgery while fellow starters Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard both threw under 180 innings last year.

This isn't the first time an organization has tried shifting to a six-man rotation. In 2012, the Colorado Rockies, the Atlanta Braves, and the Chicago White Sox all toyed with using an extra starter. The results were mixed at best but it's certainly a trend to watch as injuries continue to plague baseball starters.

So far this season, the Minnesota Twins starting rotation has performed surprisingly well. Kyle Gibson and Mike Pelfrey both have ERA's under 2.80, Ricky Nolasco has five wins, and Phil Hughes and Trevor May have been showing signs of improvement. That being said, there is an argument that could be made for Minnesota switching to a six-man rotation.

Besides the pitchers mentioned above, Tommy Milone is the only other Twins pitcher to start a game this season. In four starts, he posted a 4.76 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP. He has since been demoted to Rochester where he has been putting on a pitching clinic. In four Triple-A starts, he's allowed one earned run and struck out 41 in 31.2 innings.

Minnesota's top brass is keeping an eye on Milone in fact Twins general manager Terry Ryan called a call-up "inevitable." Both manager Paul Molitor and Ryan are pleased with what the current rotation has been able to do. Molitor said, "The guys we have up here are holding their own."

The other looming pitching situation is the fact the team is a handful of weeks away from Ervin Santana making his debut. Santana is suspended for the first 80 games this season after failing a drug test this spring. This puts him on track to rejoin Minnesota near the beginning of August. The Twins will have to make room for him in the rotation or be creative with how they use their starters.

If Minnesota's current starting pitching crop continues to pitch well, it would be interesting to see if the team would consider switching to a six-man rotation. Hughes, Nolasco, and Santana are likely locked into rotation spots. Gibson and Pelfrey have been performing well so it seems unlikely for their spots to be in jeopardy at this point. This could leave May on the fringe with Milone breathing down his neck.

An injury or poor performance could plague the staff in the coming weeks so it seems unlikely for a six-man rotation to pop up in Minnesota in the near future. Starting pitching has been a problem in Minnesota during the last four years so it's nice to finally have a pitching surplus to worry about.

For more from Cody Christie make sure to follow him on Twitter @NoDakTwinsFan and to read his other work at http://www.NoDakTwinsFan.com

JaleelWhite FanClub
May 28 2015 03:19 PM

Interesting idea. Besides tradition and shying away from the norm, I don't see much wrong with a 6-man rotation. That said, if the extra day of rest screws up the routines of the pitchers, then it may not be worth it.


Also, I still don;t get the Nolasco guaranteed spot. I have posted several times wondering if Twins fans would be more mad about demoting a high salary guy becasue of bad performance or keep running him out there because of the big contract. For me, it'd be the latter. The Twins are winning. Forget about salaries, the best pitchers should pitch. Nolasco has easily been the worst starter this year. He's racked up a few wins while surrendering tons of hits and escaping numerous jams because of good luck and run support. 


Milone for Nolasco should happen NOW. When Santana comes back, then we'll talk again.

    • Hosken Bombo Disco likes this
Not saying yes or no, but I assume you are talking about a continuous 6 day rotation vs each pitcher missing a turn every 5th week?
Hosken Bombo Disco
May 29 2015 12:20 PM
Ugh. The "not fair to the other guys" philosophy just kills me sometimes. Just my opinion. :)

All these guys are paid obscene amounts of money to play a child's game. When they leave the playing field they will have credentials to get a job in baseball in some capacity. They should be set for life, or if not, let them scramble like the rest of us and carry their memories the rest of their lives. /soapbox

There's nothing unfair about calling up Milone and demoting Nolasco to the bullpen. Better now than when Santana returns.

EDIT: yeah the 6-man might be a possibility temporarily so long as it wouldn't create havoc on the routine of the other 5 guys. I'd be hesitant to change too much just yet, maybe not until they start slipping back to .500-- not sure. It's an interesting idea.

No No No No No No ... a thousand times NO !Let them go to a 4 man rotation first. There is no reason to give them an extra day off so that they lose their sharpness and control. NO NO NO NO NO!!!:)




Also, I still don;t get the Nolasco guaranteed spot... Nolasco has easily been the worst starter this year. He's racked up a few wins while surrendering tons of hits and escaping numerous jams because of good luck and run support. 


Milone for Nolasco should happen NOW. When Santana comes back, then we'll talk again.

Not the way Nolasco has been pitching lately. He's finally shaken off the rust, and he's back to his game, which is peppering the zone from various angles with fastballs, then mixing in his big bender.


Right now I'd say Phil Hughes is the most hittable starter. He's throwing the ball too flat (remember Matt Capps?), and his stuff's not moving enough. Any lineup with a lot of flat swingers - like the Twins - would chase Hughes in about three innings. Hughes needs to start finishing his follow-through before an infielder gets killed.


As for a 6-man ro, why not? Whatever wins games. The Twins don't have guys that finish games, so maybe the best thing is to have a lot of starters that are more like long relievers. Or have a few legit starters in the pen...what's so bad about that? I could see May go to the pen (seniority) when Santana gets here, then either add Milone to the starters or put him in the pen, too. Maybe we're just being too hide-bound about the difference between starters and relievers. Can you get guys out? Wanna great, big major league paycheck? Don't be so picky about the role!