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Time to Decide

Posted by stringer bell , 06 July 2015 · 1,702 views

shortstop outfield rotation bullpen
Okay, we're past the statistical halfway point in the season. Sometimes it takes a while to flesh out who can help a team for the present and the future and sometimes circumstances make that decision. However, the Twins still haven't made decisions about several positions and players. The team is in the race for a wild card and they have not solidified several positions on the team. Here's my take on the key decisions that need to be made.

1-Shortstop. Danny Santana started the season as the regular, got demoted and now is back on the team. He showed some signs in the most recent series that he might start hitting and his tools at short are very good. Eduardo Escobar has started more in left field than short, but played over half the season at short last year and did well. Eduardo Nuñez has also been given several starts presumably in an effort to add offense. Nuñez isn't capable enough defensively, Santana hasn't produced after a standout rookie season, mostly played in center field, and Escobar has regressed from last year's numbers. My pick would be Escobar, who provides the highest floor and least risk going forward. Jorge Polanco also could figure in, but I can't see that he's ready to contribute.

2-Outfield. Eddie Rosario has emerged as a regular outfielder. Torii Hunter has been a solid right fielder for the Twins. That leaves one person. The guy who has the most at-bats after Rosario and Hunter is Escobar. He's a novice in the outfield, but has been acceptable. Aaron Hicks has provided excellent defense in center, hasn't hit much, but seems much closer than he has been in previous trials. Byron Buxton played a week+, showed his tremendous potential, but also showed that he has a long way to go before he's an offensive force. Buxton is currently on the DL, and won't return for at least a few weeks. It is unknown whether he could step in right away or might need rehab. The Twins could also use an option and give him time at AAA. It is probably a no-brainer to go with Hicks until Buxton comes off the DL. The big question is what to do then. My guess is that Buxton goes to Rochester for rehab and unless he tears it up, is optioned there perhaps until September 1st. The other factor is Hicks. If his BA continues to dive and the OPS doesn't get above .600, it might be time to give up on him being a productive everyday player.

3-Rotation. For now the decision has been made, Mike Pelfrey stays in the rotation and Trevor May is in the bullpen. May has a future in the Twins' rotation and this demotion really doesn't change that. I actually think that May can help the struggling Twins bullpen. He has strikeout ability and can get the fastball up to near-dominating numbers. I do believe the leash for Pelfrey can't be that long. His last two starts were failures and his peripherals suggest he isn't as good as his ERA might suggest. Pelf is a free agent after this year. Some have also suggested Tommy Milone should be optioned or put in the bullpen. I think Milone provides a bit too much to be pushed aside. He is still relatively young and under team control. Ricky Nolasco has missed over a month with an ankle issue and so far he hasn't solved the problem. I wouldn't be surprised to see Nolasco get surgery and miss most of or the entire remainder of the season. I agree with the Twins decision, but if Pelfrey gets knocked around in his next start, it might be a short demotion for May. Pelfrey throws hard enough that maybe he also can help the bullpen.

4-Bullpen. This isn't about changing roles, it is about changing faces. Aaron Thompson was a good story and a fine contributor for the first six weeks of the season. He just can't get people out anymore. He needs to be optioned immediately. Blaine Boyer was a surprise, but has done a slow fade for the last month. Boyer probably deserves to stay on the team, but should not be the high-leverage bullpen piece as he has been used thus far. Brian Duensing was miserable, but has shown some signs of improvement lately, no runs and only two hits, one walk and five strikeouts in the last 7.2 innings. The temporary addition of a starter in the bullpen might mean that only one pitcher should be added. I think AJ Achter has pitched well enough to get another start. Lefty Taylor Rogers has shown he can dominate AAA left handed hitters as a starter. I think he should be moved to Rochester's bullpen immediately and if he flourishes, should get a chance to help the big team. If Ryan Pressly is disabled, another name to consider is Mike Tonkin, who seems to be able to dominate in AAA, but hasn't done well enough to stick in the majors. For the record, demote Thompson, move up Achter and see if there is a good bullpen arm available on the trade market.




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HitInAPinch
Jul 06 2015 01:31 PM

1.Biggest problem with the shortstops is the sporadic playing time they're getting. It's the classic hit vs. fielding between Nunez and D Santana.Escobar showed both last year and I still feel he should have been the shoo-in starter this year.

2. I like Rosario a lot.He looks like a classic LF'er, who is a good fill-in at CF.Hicks' stats don't show it, but he's performing a lot better at the plate.I think he may just needs more AB's.Buxton:AAA.He's got something weird going on with his swing.Hunter is solid and replaceable.If Arcia get's his head on straight, he may be the answer.

3.IMHO, May is in the pen for a very short time.Pelfrey is imploding, NY Mets-style.He gets 1 maybe 2 starts and he's out.Agree on Milone and Nolasco.

4. OMG....If I'm in charge of a bullpen that's deeply into auditioning, everyone is on a short leash.After some success, they get 2 bad outings before they get sent down.Correct the problems at AAA.

 

 

1. Escobar. Agree with you.

2. Buxton/Hicks. Agree with you. Maybe an occasional Arcia start (in place of Hunter) against righties when he's not on the bench or DH'ing.

3. Pelfrey to the pen, May back to the rotation, with Nolasco somewhere else.

4. Perkins, Pelfrey, Fein, Boyer, Graham . . . yeah, I'd agree and give Achter and Rogers a shot.

My pick would be Escobar, who provides the highest floor and least risk going forward. Jorge Polanco also could figure in, but I can't see that he's ready to contribute. I agree with much of the post, and everyone has their personal opinions on players. But I am not looking for players with high floors, I want players with high ceilings. Especially as this is in essence audition time. As far as opinions on players, Polanco seems Santana 2, but without the arm! He is destined to end up looking at the back of Doziers jersey for years. Or, some teams would take a chance, find a good catcher and offer BD as bait. Yes that's dicey, but Suzuki is not going to get any better.