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Article: Twins Minor League Report (5/20): Slegers Solid,...

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https://www.mlb.com/...ist/c-277417504 Nick err Jake Cave up

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Other Baseball Today, 06:24 AM
totaling 2.1 innings.   If you need two consecutive bullpen games both the manager and the GM should be fired.


A Leap To Prevent A Dive: The Twins Looming Decision

Posted by Ted Schwerzler , 19 June 2017 · 1,430 views

The Cleveland Indians came into Target Field and punched the Minnesota Twins right in the mouth. Not only were the Twins swept, but their lead in the AL Central is all but gone. What's worse is that what took place over the weekend (especially Saturday) may happen more often than not. The unfortunate reality is that the Twins just don't have starting options.

For game one of a double-header against arguably the division's best team, the Twins sent out a sacrificial lamb in the form of Adam Wilk. The journeyman lefty has never been given more than 14 innings in an MLB season, and he owns a 7.36 ERA at the big league level. Simply put, he's not qualified to be attempting to retire major league hitters. All of this information was known going into the tilt with the Indians, and there wasn't much Minnesota could do about it.

Sure, Wilk isn't who the Twins would prefer to run out to the mound (he was DFA'd immediately following his outing), but they are sparse on options as well. Already nine starters deep this season, both Phil Hughes and Hector Santiago is currently shelved. There's been talk of both returning as relievers, but that is likely only to mask the sunk cost and unfortunate truth that effectiveness eludes them both.

That leads us to where the Twins currently find themselves. The 2017 season has 95 games left for the Twins, and they're 2.0 games back in a pretty poor division. Realistically though, the playoffs weren't something seen as a possibility coming into the campaign, and the slate thus far has provided quite a bit of surprise. With the window being fully opened (with a few pieces added) in 2018, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine have to decide what to do with what's left of 2017.

On the farm, there's a few answers, but development will likely need to come into the question. The largest area of deficiency for the Twins still stands on the mound. Both starting and relief options have been lackluster at best, and the system itself has a few options for the big club to consider.

Adding to the starting options, Double-A includes the trio of Fernando Romero, Felix Jorge, and Stephen Gonsalves. Both Romero and Gonsalves have an injury history, and are likely being monitored for health going forward. They represent no less than middle-of-the-rotation upside, and both (at their best) can be impact arms for Minnesota. Making the leap from Double-A is a steep one however, and a promotion may not be in the cards under more normal circumstances. Jorge can be a back-end big league starter, and while a quick promotion may stunt a little development, he could be argued to be the most ready.

If the Twins weren't in a place where they were having to draw straws for a starter every other night, there's probably no talk of any Double-A arms going anywhere but Triple-A Rochester. Given the circumstances though, the front office must at least consider if it's beneficial to provide a boost to the big league rotation with one of the top arms on the farm. There will be innings limits to monitor, and rough patches to be expected, but the alternatives haven't provided much more upside.

Out of the bullpen, similar scenarios reside for the Twins. Alan Busenitz was finally given a shot, but the farm still holds guys like Trevor Hildenberger, Mason Melotakis, Jake Reed, and John Curtiss. Hildenberger has paid his due at Triple-A and would be a worthy call at this point. Melotakis was recently promoted to Rochester, and probably could've skipped the level. Reed has pitched in Triple-A before, and Curtiss looks the part of a guy that can get big league hitters out.

Each of the aforementioned names have their warts, but the present more upside than a handful of the current relief contingent. The Twins would have less to lose throwing a reliever into a big league scenario than the starters they'd be considering, but the jump is still not one to be taken lightly. The pen is an area that needs vast improvement, and having not signed multiple vet replacements this offseason, it would appear that an influx of youth makes the most sense.

For a team that has a terribly negative run differential, and has been playing above water due in large part to offensive performance, real questions need to be addressed. At this point, I think we can safely rule out any reason for this team to be "buyers" in another month, but they maybe should consider supplementing from within. Although they'd likely have to disregard normal timelines, jump-starting a prospect's career at the big league level could provide benefits for all. If a young arm flops right now, they have knowledge necessary to compete a year from now. If things break right, Minnesota ends up with the needed influx of talent.

What is easily apparent however, is that this club can't continue to shuffle bodies on the mound. They won't play competitive baseball that way, and they aren't building for anything in that scenario either.

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

  • Tom Froemming likes this

Aaron Sledgers is a solid back of rotation prospect doing well at AAA too. He should get an opportunity. Also i think Turley can turn into something useful. He needs better command though. He is either middle of the plate or outside the strikezone by a fair margin. Jitters could be part of the issue. I think one moe start to see if he can right the ship before he goes back down is fair at this point.

Again, it is the evil of protecting less than AAA players on the 40-man. Yet, we forget, Cleveland basically jogged out a couple of guys for the double-header -- Merritt and Clevenger -- whli both could be shipped back out (Clevenger was, I believe), but the difference is that both are PROSPECTS.


If the cards had been right and people monitoring things (like having our best pitchers, perhaps, available to face Cleveland in two series), the Twins could've given a cup-of-coffee to Jorge OR Romero, and then return both to the minors to know that big league ball is different from the minors and here's what you really have to work on.


The 40-man roster only has so any shuffle holes. You start dropping guys, and they go thru waivers and can be claimed by other teams. Which is better than the Rule 5, because a team doesn't have to keep the guy on their own 40-man (yes, same process again, but...). The Twins lost Wheeler that way (he is now available again) and no one claimed Wilk or Tepesch or Rucinski. 


So you keep shuffling in guys THAT IT DOESN'T MATTER if they are here for the long haul. Or do you gamble on Hildengerger (hopefully not the next Slama) or otehr guys that you think you can sneak back and forth, and wait for the day you have to add Burdi and Reed and Bard and Hildenberger and the ilk to the roster (which means we don't see them in September, either).


Unless the Twins start jettisoning names like Breslow, Belisle, Santiago, even Kintsler who will be a free agent. If he has options, you send out Hughes once he is healthy, and try and pull a Park...expensive guy putting in time off the 40-man in the minors.


You run the risk of promoting guys too soon and having them fail miserably, at first. But you run the same risk with cast-offs from othr organizations, too. 


Does one fare better if you wish to "lool" like you are fielding a competitive team? As long as the Twins are above .500 -- and the media kinda kept mentioning in passing that the Twins -- with no marketable stars in the community right now -- were in first place, and he crowds (combined with some promotions) were bigger than ever. 


The illusion works to put some more butts in the seats as the new front office juggles the current with the future. You'd like to think they know what they are doing, and no matter any word that speckles out about wanting to win and be competitive right away, I'm sure there is a 3-5 year plan in the works and it doesn't involve spending money hap-hazardly.




What's really needed is a new rule in Major League Baseball to accommodate rookies that could use a cuppa coffee in the bigs. 


The Coffee rule would allow a team to call up five separate non-40 guys per year, but only one at a time, while putting a guy on the 40 into a temporary pool of players that cannot play with the club, but are not off the official 40-man roster. A Limbo guy could play in the minors while the Coffee guy is up. 


The limit for a cuppa coffee would be three starts for a minor league pitcher, or ten games for non-pitcher. At the end of that time, the Coffee guy can either return to the minors, or swap places with the Limbo guy on the 40-man. Otherwise, the Limbo guy simply returns to the 40, with no other changes in status. 


A rule like this would allow Jorge to replace Mejia for a few games, or Garver to replace Gimenez for ten games, with no worries about messing up the 40. This would allow rebuilding teams like the Twins to experiment more, give a veteran a rest, etc. 

    • Dman, hybridbear and nmcowboy like this

Isn't one of the big challenges in doing this determining who has options to send down, who can slip through waivers, and who is on the 40 man roster? If the Twins call up one of these youngsters and he is worse than Belisle, Kintzler, et al, they are going to want to send the rookie back to the minors and stick with the failing veterans.

Deduno Abides
Jun 21 2017 09:56 PM
Pitching Wilk and signing Gee (and pitching Tepesch and Turley) shows the necessity of planning for nine or ten possible starters, not just five.

Next year's starters include Berrios, Mejia and Santana (unless he's traded, which I hope happens). After that, it's a selection between Trevor May (if he's healthy), Kyle Gibson (if he's brought back) and Phil Hughes (if he's capable), which are all big ifs. Then, Gonsalves and Romero are possibilities (I think they could be the second and third best starters, after Berrios). After that, there's an assortment of pitchers who may not be any better than Pat Dean, such as Slegers.

So really, looking ahead, just two pitchers currently slot as starters in 2018, one of whom - Mejia - hasn't really yet shown success. Then, it's a bunch of ifs, well before you get to #9. What's the point? Don't trade Gonsalves or Romero; hope for health from May; hope that Mejia learns how to succeed; and find three or four other candidates who you think can pitch better than Kyle Gibson.