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The Come Up and Buy in for Odorizzi

Posted by Ted Schwerzler , 01 July 2019 · 1,282 views

minnesota twins jake odorizzi tampa bay rays wes johnson
Needing a starting pitcher, the Minnesota Twins front office send minor leaguer Jermaine Palacios to the Tampa Bay Rays for Jake Odorizzi. Palacios had some hype but was never a top prospect, while Odorizzi had been largely mediocre and was set to turn 28. It’s hard not to see more upside in a big-league starter under team control, but this leap forward has been immense for the former Tampa starter.

Odorizzi was often chided for his efforts by Twins fans last season. He posted a 4.49 ERA backed by a 4.20 FIP. The 8.9 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 were right in line with career norms. On a bad team he was hardly a large issue and generally pitched better than the surface level numbers suggested. In 2019 he’s gone gangbusters though, and he’s made his first All Star game to show for it.

Cooling off some over the last few weeks, Odorizzi still owns a 2.73 ERA and 9.9 K/9 across 85.2 IP. His FIP and xFIP suggest a bit more regression could be coming, but there’s a visible change that’s been made by the pitcher Minnesota trots out as their number two starter. Having been a low 90’s guy his whole big-league career, Odorizzi has added two mph of velocity under the tutelage of Wes Johnson and is now averaging 93.1 mph on the pitch this season. Not only is he throwing harder, but Odorizzi has shifted his repertoire to flip a career high number of sinkers, taking away from both his cutter and splitter.

This new version of Odorizzi is giving up a career high percentage of hard-hit balls, but he’s missing bats at record marks as well. The 12.4% whiff rate is a new high-water mark, while his contact rate is down to just 74.3% and the zone contact rate stands under 80% (78.5%) for the first time in his career. A slight jump in hard hit rate could be explainable through the increased velocity, but even still with that development, missing more barrels is the key component here.

Over the course of his career Odorizzi has averaged 1.2 HR/9 and has never been below the 1.0 mark. Through his first 16 starts he’s allowed just eight homers and is at 0.8 HR/9 on the season. Shedding hits and walks as well, the 1.074 WHIP stands out on its own. Having been integrated into the Twins system a year ago, and now working with a pitching thinktank that’s been overhauled, he’s reaping the rewards.

Next season Odorizzi will find himself on the open market for the first time in his career. The Twins have a couple of holes in their rotation that they’ll need to commit arms to. We don’t yet know how the club will navigate the trade market but extending a guy they already have in house may certainly make some sense.

Last season Jake Odorizzi was getting his feet wet with Minnesota and simply going through the motions he had always practiced to compete. This season he’s been given a few new tools that have taken his game to the next level and everyone involved has benefitted from it.

For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz

  • Blake, DocBauer, nclahammer and 1 other like this



What's makes this year interesting is that the Twins have had lightning strike with 3 pitchers, Pineda, Perez and Odorizzi.

 

As of right now, does the new FO see the arms in the minor league system to replace the above pitchers?

 

If not, does the FO see anything that indicates the success of these pitchers is sustainable?

 

Though, in thinking things through a bit further, I can see 1 or 2 accidents, but, with the emergence of Cron, Perez, Pineda and Odorizzi, I have to think the FO has a darn good idea of what they're doing.

    • brvama, DocBauer, Ted Schwerzler and 1 other like this

What's makes this year interesting is that the Twins have had lightning strike with 3 pitchers, Pineda, Perez and Odorizzi.
 
As of right now, does the new FO see the arms in the minor league system to replace the above pitchers?
 
If not, does the FO see anything that indicates the success of these pitchers is sustainable?
 
Though, in thinking things through a bit further, I can see 1 or 2 accidents, but, with the emergence of Cron, Perez, Pineda and Odorizzi, I have to think the FO has a darn good idea of what they're doing.


Love your comment and agree 100% Blake.

What I find so fascinating about ML SP is the debate about #1 SP and who and what an ACE is. Loving and following BB for over 45yrs now, I have seen TOP prospects fizzle, and more than a few guys who liiked like an ACE very early and then through injury or whatnot, taper off to being very good. Of course, there have been those special pitchers, thinking Clemens as an example, who were good from day one and maintained it. But those guys are RARE. Maybe I'm wrong, and someone could make a lengthy and impressive list to counter me, but it has been my experience over the years that truly top of tbe roation SP usually hit their stride in their late 20's and seem to maintain that status through their early 30's and even maintain until about 34/35. There are exceptions of longer and shorter, of course.

There are arguments that Berrios is not an ACE. But he keeps getting better and better. I think an arguement could be made that his last 3 starts, all no-decision or loss, has been some of the best games he has thrown. Odorizzi was a top prospect who turned out to be solid but not great. Now, late 20's, with a new team and coaches, we are perhaps seeing the best of him and his potential. Despite his numbers and success, he's not often a 7 IP tbe way Berrios often is. That may hold back any discussion as to being a true ACE. And can he sustain what he is now doing for another 2-4 years? Time will tell. But I sure wouldn't dismiss the possibility.

I argued before the season began that Pineda would be solid, and get better, as long as he was healthy and his IP were monitored. I stated that Gibson and Pineda may be the 2 guys we tried to bring back. Not saying I was wrong, but I may have been short-sighted in regard to Odorizzi.

I was wrong about bringing Perez onboard. Then can't believe it, but I was actually defending him when he slumped. But I felt he was victim to a couple bad plays, mistake pitches, and was still showing some very good moments. Then he goes out and pitches a great rebound game in that disappointing 18 inning marathon.

I don't have answers to the future but like you, I think this FO and staff is pretty smart. Cost and years will be the deciding factor, of course. But right now, I think this team has a budding ACE. I would love to see both Gibson and Odorizzi brought back. History and age would tell me Gibson will not break the bank. But I do wonder about the cost for Odorizzi. Perhaps comjng in to his own in his late 20's, does a depressed market make him affordable even after a career year? Or does past career numbers and a career year prove to be an outlier and nobody will offer the big 4-5yr deal at $20M and make him more easily extendable/re-signed by the Twins?
    • brvama and kenbuddha like this
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Kelly Vance
Jul 02 2019 10:03 AM

I think Odorizzi wants to come back. He has said so, if I remember correctly. This coaching staff has led him to his best year ever. He might like the idea of more of that. Gibson is just one of those good guys who is loyal to an organization. But the organization has forced him into arbitration when it normally tries to settle with players.  

 

Perez and Big Mike, I am not so sure. Maybe Pineda will feel some love for a team that paid him to recover from an arm injury. Perez is the one I think will move on to greener pastures. But he has to get back what he had in the beginning of the year to create a demand.  

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Ted Schwerzler
Jul 02 2019 10:15 AM

 

I think Odorizzi wants to come back. He has said so, if I remember correctly. This coaching staff has led him to his best year ever. He might like the idea of more of that. Gibson is just one of those good guys who is loyal to an organization. But the organization has forced him into arbitration when it normally tries to settle with players.  

 

Perez and Big Mike, I am not so sure. Maybe Pineda will feel some love for a team that paid him to recover from an arm injury. Perez is the one I think will move on to greener pastures. But he has to get back what he had in the beginning of the year to create a demand.  

Perez has a team option at $7.5MM, which even at the lesser version of himself, is great value.

 

I'd extend Odo and think about offering Gibson. Pineda moves on.

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ChrisKnutson
Jul 02 2019 07:38 PM
Bring back Perez and Odorizzi, move on from Gibby and Pineda.

All depends on money, but if expensive the Twins will be better served looking elsewhere, sadly, on all three. Happily they will have an opportunity to get more looks at Stewart and Smeltzer and Thorpe and hopefully Gonsalves.

 

If the Twins are going to spend money on, they can do better in the off-season. Too abd they are in contention and none of these guys tradable. They could get 20 prospects for them from pennant contenders!

It should be noted how much he has cooled off.

 

Last 30 days

6.29 ERA, 5.51 FIP, 5.19xFIP

 

Teams faced: Royals x2 (23rd in runs scored), Tigers (30th), Rays (19th), Athletics (10th)

Baseball is such a long season and other than the Verlanders and Scherzers, it is normally a roller coaster of ups and downs. It has already been that way for Odorizzi and Perez. I was skeptical but hopeful when they dominated, but in baseball stats tend to revert to career averages and that is what is happening with these two "serviceable but mostly mediocre" pitchers. Their ERA's are approaching their career averages--3.88 for Odorizzi and 4.58 for Perez--and likely will end the season around those figures. Kyle Gibson has not been hot and cold like those two but is in the same boat with a career ERA of 4.44.

 

Pineda gets a longer look before passing judgment as to what we have with his TJ surgery, but let's face it we have Berrios and then no clue as to what to expect with our other starters. With the success of the Twins this year I don't follow the daily minor league box scores as I did in past years, but I don't see any starters there to step up with eye popping stats or stuff so I am hoping for a trade from our surplus of young talent to land a #2 or #3 starter. I have total confidence in our front office that they will make smart moves to improve the team for today without mortgaging our future. I'm afraid Cleveland is pushing them to make those moves sooner than they would like to.

Great trade for the Twins: Odorizzi has become an All-Star. Unfortunately for TB, Palacios's offense has gone MIA for the last two seasons.

 

Though, in thinking things through a bit further, I can see 1 or 2 accidents, but, with the emergence of Cron, Perez, Pineda and Odorizzi, I have to think the FO has a darn good idea of what they're doing.

I agree, except Cron is an exception as they got him through dumb luck. It's bizarre that he was on waivers in the first place.

 

I also think the Marwin pickup was huge for this team, and might be more luck in the sense that his market never developed this year.

 

But now that they have a track record, I think free agency will be ever better in the future. Players should start wanting to come here instead of settling to come here.