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At what point do we start to believe in this year's T...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 06:07 PM
I must admit, what they did in Baltimore has started to get me a bit excited.    I'm still skeptical that they will finish .500...

SERIES: My Twins Pre/Postgame Columns for Zone Coverage

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 06:04 PM
In case you don't see these on Twitter and Facebook, I'm going to share my pre and postgame stuff from Zone Coverage in this thread....

Article: Game Thread: Twins v Rays, 5/26 @ 7:10pm CT

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 05:56 PM
Our Twins return home carrying a four-game winning streak. It was a quick, three-win roadtrip to Baltimore and right back home to face th...

Outside Starting Pitching Help Primer

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 05:51 PM
I can't be the only one very uncomfortable with our current back end of the rotation (Specifically the #5 spot) Santana is continuing his...

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Lifelong Aces a Thing of the Past?

Posted by Trautmann13 , 23 August 2014 · 628 views

kershaw verlander lincecum sparts
Lifelong Aces a Thing of the Past? Pitching wins World Series'.

That is a simple fact about the game of baseball; pitching is key. Take a quick look at our Minnesota Twins over the last three years. Hmm, terrible pitching and a terrible team. Coincidence? Well...no.

If a team wants to make it to the post-season, they need pitching. If a team wants to make a run at a title, they need an ace. The problem isn't finding your ace as much as it is keeping them an ace. Clayton Kershaw is the best pitcher in baseball and has been for a few years now. So far, the dodgers have not been able to give their ace a ring. If history repeats itself for Clayton, they may need to hurry.

Lets take a look at two of the best pitchers of the late aughts (Is that what we are calling the 2000 decade?) and early twenty-tens. Big Time Tim Lincecum out there in San Fran and The Motor City's own Justin "is currently dating Kate Upton and is the bane of every man's existence" Verlander.


Tim Lincecum was baseball's best in 2008 and 2009. He won the NL Cy Young both of those seasons to a nice 33-12 record and an average ERA of around 2.50. Not to mention his astronomical strikeout numbers and great ERA+. But as 2012 rolled in, Timmy just was not the same. His ERA skyrocketed from 2.74 in '11 to 5.18. He led the way in earned runs allowed at 107 and has never been the same pitcher sense. He is currently 10-9 for a good Giants team with an ERA above 4.50. His ERA+ has also steadily dropped sense 2011 (127) to now (77, not including today's start in which he gave up 4 ER in 2 2/3.) Almost all of his important stats have gone from great to worse than league average (FIP, SO/9, WHIP) His average fastball velocity has dropped as well.

Now, Justin Verlander was baseball's best in 2011 and 2012* (minus David Price, of course.) He won the AL Cy Young and MVP in 2011 and was runner up to the Cy Young in 2012. He had a nice 41-13 record and an average ERA around 2.50. Not to mention his astronomical strikeout numbers and ERA+. But as 2013 rolled in, Mr. Kate Upton just was not the same. His ERA jumped from 2.64 in '12 to 3.46. He has not been the same pitcher sense his Cy Young/ MVP season. He is currently 10-11 for a good Tiger's team with an ERA above 4.50. His ERA+ has also steadily dropped sense 2012 (161) to now (87, not including today's start in which he gave up 4 ER in 5 2/3.) Almost all of his important stats have gone from great to worse than league average (FIP, SO/9, WHIP.) His average fastball velocity has dropped as well.

To avoid being too redundant, I'll pass on writing that whole thing out for Clayton Kershaw. But he is very comparable to both Verlander and Lincecum in their best two seasons. I understand that two examples are not enough to say that a rapid decline is inevitable for Clayton. You can also point to Felix Hernandez or Adam Wainwright and say that decline is more rare. Ether way, I find it very interesting how both careers have gone recently. Who knows, both guys I've mentioned could just be going through a bad spot in their careers and may turn it around again.

All I am saying here is this may be the end of the 'career ace' type like Nolan Ryan and Sandy Koufax; but then again, maybe not.

-Noah Trautmann




Perhaps the emphasis on mid to high 90's fastball pitchers is the problem.When pitchers like Verlander lose that extra-fast pitch, they don't have the control or secondary pitch to compensate. They talk about control. They talk about moving the ball up and down and in and out, changing speed with every pitch, but who actually does that ?

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Trautmann13
Aug 24 2014 10:46 AM

I think that may be it. It might just not be possible to keep a mid 90s fastball for 6/7 years.

The pitchers who are able to go from being a mid-90s fastball with plus secondary pitches into guys who sit in the 90-92 range with even better secondary stuff are the ones who have a chance. But to be able to maintain 96+ for more than 6-8 years (or after age 31) isn't likely.

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Paul Pleiss
Aug 26 2014 12:44 AM

More evidence that throwing a baseball with precision and velocity is difficult, even for the best of the best. Hitters are better than before, they seem a heavier dose of mid-90s+ fastballs and as a result, i belive, are better trained to murder high-80s low-90s pitching. See entire roster of Twins pitchers for confirmation of the latter.