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Jorge Polanco

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 10:47 AM
He is going to be one of my favorites. He's already a professional hitter from both sides of the plate; doesn't strike out much and walk...

Article: Buxton Not Alone In Early-Season Struggles

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 10:45 AM
In case you haven’t been following the Minnesota Twins to this point in the season, Byron Buxton has started the season really slowly. On...

Well ****, what now?

Minnesota Wild Talk Today, 10:42 AM
What do you do this off season? Who do the wild lose in the expansion draft? I don't think they can afford to lose Coyle, Zucker or Nino...

Game Thread: Twins@Rangers 4/25/17 7:05PM

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 10:42 AM
Nicknames! How many of you remember these words? “A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust and a hearty Hi-Yo Silver...

Computerized Vs. Human Strike Zone

Other Baseball Today, 10:38 AM
When this was first brought up, I was against having a computerized strike zone. I was firmly holding onto my traditional baseball belief...

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The Importance of Phil Hughes and Ervin Santana

Posted by PintoWF , 15 February 2017 · 634 views

phil hughes ervin santana minnesota twins pitching staff roster
The Importance of Phil Hughes and Ervin Santana Minnesota Twins pitcher Phil Hughes had a rib removed last year to help correct an issue that was causing some major problems. The surgery ended the pitcher's season in July. It was unfortunate that the surgery didn't happen sooner. Statistically speaking.

Hughes had some ideas for the rib, which he kept following the surgery. The Twins might have some ideas about Hughes if he can turn things around in 2017. It would include him taking the rib with him, although I don't believe they could use it as a bargaining chip in any trade offers.

New decision makers Derek Falvey and Thad Levine will have to address the pitching issue that has plagued the organization since the beginning of the decade. The two categories would be starting pitching depth and lack of a pitcher that can actually strike a batter out.

How do Hughes and Santana play into this? It's easy, really. They are two veteran pitchers with playoff pitching experience. They've pitched on teams that are the thick of things come October. These things will certainly make them names that will be floated around come trade deadline time.

Santana is most likely to hear his name thrown around. He had solid numbers in 2016 and his durability is great for a team that needs a solid number three or, dare I say, number two starter.

The number that is key for Santana to keep down is the home runs. He gave up an average of 28 home runs a year between 2009 and 2013. The last three years he's dropped that number to 16. Keep the homers down, the innings pitched and quality starts up and he'll have plenty of suitors.

In the case of Hughes, he has to prove that the last two years were more fluke than fact. One stat that stands out is the percentage of 0-2 counts batters faced against Hughes last year. His percentage was a career low 21.6 percent. His career year, 2014, 37.5 percent of batters faced 0-2 counts.

This indicates that something changed in the way Hughes was disguising pitchers early on in the at-bat. It also shows that he didn't adjust to the way batters approached him. Hughes does not walk a lot of batters and so he is always going to be around the strike zone. He was a master of keeping batters off balance in '14. Last year he was the batters puppet.

Even if Hughes turns things around, he's going to be hard to unload. A 31-year old that is owed $39.6 million of the next three years is not appealing. Santana's contract, he's $27 million over the next two years with a $14 million team option in 2019, is much easier to live with.

All of this is great and painfully obvious to Twins fans. Take veterans and trade them to stock up in minors. Throw bodies at the problem. However, we can't just look at these two in the broad spectrum of adding talent by trading talent.

How Falvey and Levine handle Hughes and Santana will show us a lot in how they handle other talented veterans. It will also tell us how far away they feel the Twins are from being competitive.

You could convince some that the Twins are just a couple pitchers away from being competitive. Okay, a few. Okay, like two people. But, it really doesn't matter what those two people believe. It's what the new guys believe.

Is this going to be a slow process and how do these two veterans play into this process?

A question that Falvey and Levine will take time to answer.




I am not saying Hughes will come back in 2017, or at some point in '17, to be the same pitcher he was in 2014, but what a boon to the team if he could? Big time prospect who flashed on the big stage but also showed inconsistency. He comes to the Twins and has the best overall season of his career. And a combination of age/maturity"experience and a change of scenery does this for some guys. (Age as in maturity, not old). A return to that previous form, and the Twins acquiring a top of the rotation starter via trade or FA, with Hughes at #2 could be huge! A bit of wishful thinking on Hughes, but also not unreasonable, IMO.

 

A return to that previous form, and the Twins acquiring a top of the rotation starter via trade or FA, with Hughes at #2 could be huge! A bit of wishful thinking on Hughes, but also not unreasonable, IMO.

I can't see the Twins trading for a #1, but if we add a little more wishful thinking to the equation, Berrios turns into one.

With our resources and reputation is still comes down to developing what we have.  Get the best pitching coaches throughout the season.  Only the young pitchers count.