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Why all the questions about Twins pitching?

Posted by Supfin99 , 06 February 2020 · 801 views

I just read the ESPN article about possible super teams or teams that will win 100 games. The locks listed were the Yankees, Astros and Dodgers. In the American League the Rays were the teams listed as the Prime Contender and the wild cards were the Twins and the Angels. The fact that we were listed with the Angels, a team that won 72 games last year, is a story for anther post. The question on the Twins was"if their pitching works out". Last time I checked we won 101 games last year and I don't see how our lineup is not at least as good if not even better this year with Arraez and Buxton for a whole year and Donaldson replacing Cron.
So let's discuss our pitching. We have Berrios and Odorizzi back, and I will discuss them in greater detail shortly. The next players that pitched the most innings were Kyle Gibson, Martin Perez and Michael Pineda. Pineda will miss almost exactly a quarter of the season but has a good chance of matching last years innings total of 149 or at least coming close. Big Mike also gets to pitch only in the warmer months which seemed to be his best part of last season. So the staff comparison really comes down to replacing Gibson and Perez. Those 2 combined to make 58 starts and pitch 325 innings last year. Gibson had a 5.12 ERA and Perez had 4.84. They both had WHIP around 1.5. That is what we are replacing. That is not exactly Koufax and Drysdale. Even if the Maeda trade falls thru the leading candidates to replace those 2 are Homer Bailey, Randy Dobnak, Devin Smeltzer and Lewis Thorpe. For Dobnak, Smeltzer and Thorpe their respective ERA's were 1.59, 3.86 and 6.18. Both Dobnaks and Thorpes ERA's were a little misleading. The respective FIP for those 3 was 2.90, 4.58 and 3.47. For comparison sake Gibson and Perez came in at 4.26 and 4.66. Thorpe takes a huge jump due to his excellent SO totals and an unsustainable .438 BABIP. Where is this huge drop-off that would cause our win total to plummet? If anything it looks like we would be slightly better if those 3 combined to eat up the innings pitched by Perez and Gibson. Homer Bailey pitched decent last year after 4 years of not pitching much or well. His 163 IP was the most he had managed since 2013. It was his 1st time with an ERA below 5.5 since 2014. Martin Perez was coming off a similar 2018 in which he didn't much but when he did he was terrible. If Bailey can repeat his 2019, his numbers across the board would be better than what Perez was able to do last season.

However you look at the candidates at the back end of the rotation I don't see how you can make any sensible argument that we are worse off then we were last year at this time. Knowing now what we received from Gibson and Perez and seeing what the peripherals were for the candidates to replace them, it would be hard to not acknowledge that we are at least as well off going into this season if not actually in a better position than last year.

Now let's look at Jose Berrios. I think he will continue his improvement and will climb to be one of the top 20 pitchers in baseball. Last year Jose's overall numbers took a slight downturn from his previous season even though his ERA ended up slightly lower. His H/9 and K/9 were both slightly better in 2018. But a big reason for this very slight downturn we due to a very bad 6 game stretch in Aug and the 1st week of Sept. His numbers during that 6 game stretch were truly awful.

6 G 31.1 IP 47 H 29 R 15 BB 36 SO 8 HR

Those numbers equate to averages of

8.33 ERA 13.5 H/9 4.31 BB/9 10.35 K/9 1.98 WHIP 2.31 HR/9

His number in his other 26 starts were ACE level performance

26 G 169 IP 147 H 53 R 36 BB 159 SO 18 HR

This lead to averages of

2.82 ERA 7.72 H/9 1.91 BB/9 8.46 K/9 1.07 WHIP 0.96 HR/9

So before Aug 1 Berrios was having a season that would have put him among the very best pitchers in baseball and would have definitely garnered him Cy Young votes. Now I know you can't cherry pick numbers and every start counts. But I do think that Berrios had a bad stretch that somewhat misleadingly brought down the rest of his numbers. This was a time when maybe his arm was tired, or he had a little bit of a confidence crisis or maybe just some bad luck. Could have been a mixture of all 3. I love Berrios' work ethic and I feel certain he sent this entire offseason working towards finding a solution for his late season fade. It really is the last step for him to becoming a truly elite pitcher. He may not be the ace of a Verlander or Cole level, but who is. There are maybe 5 pitchers in all of baseball who are at that level. Where Berrios can slide into is the next tier of the top 20 pitchers in baseball. Not sure what everyone else's definition of ace is but I think top 20 is pretty close.

If we do acquire Maeda, it isn't even comparable to last season. He would immediately be a vast improvement over Gibson and Perez.

  • tarheeltwinsfan likes this



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howieramone2
Feb 06 2020 07:15 PM
Well done!
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tarheeltwinsfan
Feb 06 2020 07:36 PM

I agree. Good thought process in this article.

I'm apologizing at the start. I have no idea where I should post this, or how. So it is pretty much completely off topic, but....As an old guy my late onset retardation grows daily. For years I have complained to my friends that the Twins didn't have a pitching coach who was worth paying for the position. For the record, I love what Wes Johnson has done with the staff, and I hope the Twins lock him up for a long time.

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Doctor Gast
Feb 07 2020 10:23 AM

 

I'm apologizing at the start. I have no idea where I should post this, or how. So it is pretty much completely off topic, but....As an old guy my late onset retardation grows daily. For years I have complained to my friends that the Twins didn't have a pitching coach who was worth paying for the position. For the record, I love what Wes Johnson has done with the staff, and I hope the Twins lock him up for a long time.

Welcome, Oregontwin! My thoughts too!

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Doctor Gast
Feb 07 2020 10:44 AM

Just to remind everyone; last year, Gibson had just gotten over e coli & battled colitis the rest of the year & Perez was not considered as a pure starter but more of a reliever who wanted to start. But yet both pitched several more innings than healthy pure starter Odorizzi. They both pitched phenomenally until they ran out of gas. If they were limited innings like Maeda, their stats would be much better than his. Records show that Maeda`s efficiency drops off drastically w/ batters 3rd time around. I`m tired of Gibson & Perez bashing. Sorry, I was more optimistic w/ last year`s non contending rotation than this year`s contending 

Well done! And I agree 100%. The rotation is as good, probably better, and has more depth. The pen also begins the season stronger and deeper than it began last year.

"Why all the questions about Twins pitching?"

 

To me the answer to that question is how does the first two months go, last year the Twins started out Hot and pretty much stayed that way, but if they don't start out Hot do they have the pitching to play catch up?

Last year at the end of May here is what their 5 starters looked like.

Gibson: 5 - 2 - 4.08

Perez: 7-2 - 3.71

Odo: 7 - 2 - 2.16

Berrios: 7 - 2 - 3.27

Pineda: 4 - 3 - 5.34

 

Can the fans expect that from the current projected starting rotation?No

Hope? Yes

 

That is the thing when looking at the 2019 season, things started out so well on the pitching side and they got out to such a big lead they were able to live with Perez and Gibson not being good in the second half. Odo comparing down closer to earth, Berrios struggling for a while and Pineda not being on the team.

If they don't start out hot again, do they have to the pitching to make a run at the end of the season?

 

    • Dantes929 likes this

 

Just to remind everyone; last year, Gibson had just gotten over e coli & battled colitis the rest of the year & Perez was not considered as a pure starter but more of a reliever who wanted to start. But yet both pitched several more innings than healthy pure starter Odorizzi. They both pitched phenomenally until they ran out of gas. If they were limited innings like Maeda, their stats would be much better than his. Records show that Maeda`s efficiency drops off drastically w/ batters 3rd time around. I`m tired of Gibson & Perez bashing. Sorry, I was more optimistic w/ last year`s non contending rotation than this year`s contending 

 

Just to remind everyone; last year, Gibson had just gotten over e coli & battled colitis the rest of the year & Perez was not considered as a pure starter but more of a reliever who wanted to start. But yet both pitched several more innings than healthy pure starter Odorizzi. They both pitched phenomenally until they ran out of gas. If they were limited innings like Maeda, their stats would be much better than his. Records show that Maeda`s efficiency drops off drastically w/ batters 3rd time around. I`m tired of Gibson & Perez bashing. Sorry, I was more optimistic w/ last year`s non contending rotation than this year`s contending 

 

Take away the final 2 mos and Gibson’s ERA was 4.11. The is decent but hardly phenomenal. Perez was very good for 1st 2 mos but his ERA was over 5 in June and got higher every month after that.  I’m not bashing them. Just taking a realistic view of how they pitched last year and pointing out it should not be impossible to replace. 

 

 

"Why all the questions about Twins pitching?"

 

To me the answer to that question is how does the first two months go, last year the Twins started out Hot and pretty much stayed that way, but if they don't start out Hot do they have the pitching to play catch up?

Last year at the end of May here is what their 5 starters looked like.

Gibson: 5 - 2 - 4.08

Perez: 7-2 - 3.71

Odo: 7 - 2 - 2.16

Berrios: 7 - 2 - 3.27

Pineda: 4 - 3 - 5.34

 

Can the fans expect that from the current projected starting rotation?No

Hope? Yes

 

That is the thing when looking at the 2019 season, things started out so well on the pitching side and they got out to such a big lead they were able to live with Perez and Gibson not being good in the second half. Odo comparing down closer to earth, Berrios struggling for a while and Pineda not being on the team.

If they don't start out hot again, do they have to the pitching to make a run at the end of the season?

They were up 11 games by mid June and I don't think that will repeat itself.What surprised me was that the first half and 2nd half records were only different by a couple games. Keep in mind that as good as their stats were at the end of May their subsequent starts had to be really bad to average out to the mediocre numbers that many feel are replaceable.I fear a bad start but unless there is a some severe statistical anomaly, if the starters hold a combined better than 4.5 ERA, the relievers do better than combined 3.5 ERA and the offense scores over 5.5 runs then we should win a lot of games. 

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strumdatjaguar
Feb 08 2020 08:33 AM
So it looks like we are presuming the Kenta Maeda era is over.
Every pitcher has a tough stretch or two...Berrios’s numbers are his numbers. The ‘concern’ regarding the Twins pitching has been, for the most part, how it stacks up in the playoffs. It’s relatively easy (in 2019, it was historically easy) to have success in the regular season playing in the AL Central. If your best starter is struggling to be a top 20 pitcher, you’re going to be at a disadvantage in the playoffs...and probably right out of the gate.