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  • Twins Take a Hard Turn With Deduno

    Even before his three-hit shutout on Sunday, I felt that the time had come to promote Kyle Gibson to the major leagues. The Twins seemingly positioned themselves to do so Monday when they announced the removal of Pedro Hernandez from the rotation, opening up Friday's start. But on Tuesday the club ended any such speculation by informing us that Samuel Deduno will be the one to get the nod.

    Even as a confirmed Gibsonite, I can't feign to be overly upset with this move. Because more than I wanted to see the top prospect get a chance, I wanted to simply see the Twins make some sort of change to their stagnating formula. Deduno qualifies in a major way; a step in the exact opposite direction.

    The trademark of Minnesota's rotation was obvious before the season began. This was a group that was going to throw the ball over the plate and allow tons of contact.

    Certainly the starting corps has lived up that expectation, as they've allowed fewer walks than all but one AL team and they rank last in strikeouts by a country mile. Unsurprisingly, this staff makeup has yielded terrible results, as Twins starters have recorded the second-worst ERA in the majors at 5.42. Last year the rotation finished with a 5.40 ERA. The bar was set incredibly low and they've still come up short.

    For the first six weeks of the season, the Twins managed to stay afloat in spite of their shortcomings, thanks in large part to some timely hitting and sterling efforts from the bullpen. But recently, with other units beginning to falter, the rotation's warts have become more exposed as the season has quickly begun to spiral out of control. The Twins have lost seven straight and are in the early stages of their toughest stretch to date; 15 of 20 games on the road, including trips to Atlanta, Detroit and Washington.

    Change was long overdue, and Hernandez in the rotation was a logical starting point given that he probably shouldn't have been starting in the majors to begin with. While Gibson would have been my first choice, Deduno was the next one on my list.

    The 29-year-old Dominican has intrigued me since last season, when he came up and enjoyed a run of success for the Twins. Since then, he has made a name for himself by helping carry his native country to an impressive title run in the World Baseball Classic.

    I'll admit that perhaps I overrate the significance of this event because I was watching it live and was riveted, but in my mind Deduno's performance in that tournament's championship game earned him an extended shot. Pitching against a potent lineup, in the pouring rain, in a game that mattered immensely to him and his teammates, the erratic yet effective righty delivered five dominant innings, standing out in a 3-0 victory.

    A groin injury suffered while toughing out those conditions sidelined Deduno and cost him his chance at an Opening Day roster spot with the Twins, but since returning to the field he's been back to his old tricks. In three starts at Rochester, he's posted a 2.70 ERA despite issuing 10 walks in a 16 2/3 innings.

    In the past I've likened Deduno, whose pitches dart to different locations seemingly at random, to knuckleballer R.A. Dickey. Both are unconventional pitchers with unique styles. Dickey didn't hit his stride until his mid-30's, so I like the decision to try Deduno, who turns 30 in a month, and see if he might prove to be a late bloomer. Certainly there have been positive signs to that end over the past year.

    And in any case, it's nice to see the Twins take such a hard turn from their previous path. The pitchers that have comprised their rotation up to this point Ė Vance Worley, Mike Pelfrey, Kevin Correia, Scott Diamond, Liam Hendriks and Pedro Hernandez Ė have obviously enjoyed varying levels of success but have been virtually indistinguishable in approach. Change speeds, try to hit your spots, hope for the best.

    Deduno couldn't be farther on the other end of the spectrum. He unleashes electric heaters and breaking balls that essentially have minds of their own and end up who-knows-where. The result is very many walks and very little hard contact. When he's going good, he can be nearly unhittable.

    Even if that "unhittable" comes with a considerable caveat, it's still a welcome term for this starting staff.
    This article was originally published in blog: Twins Take a Hard Turn With Deduno started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 39 Comments
    1. greengoblinrulz's Avatar
      greengoblinrulz -
      Purely a money move made for Super 2 to save 500K(maybe) in 3 yrs
      Twins (terry ryans) cheapness goes out for years....there is a reason they are the worst team in AL the last 3yrs
    1. Ibzakster's Avatar
      Ibzakster -
      RELAX people. The world did not just end. Don't go all Minnesotan on me. Deduno was effective last year and in the WBC. Glad he's here. Just say no to pessimism.

      Go Twins!
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by Ibzakster View Post
      Just say no to pessimism.

      Go Twins!
      OK, but can I at least say "maybe" to skepticism?
    1. Oldgoat_MN's Avatar
      Oldgoat_MN -
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
      OK, but can I at least say "maybe" to skepticism?
      Haha.
      I like Deduno coming up. This will at least be something completely different.

      Gibson will be along shortly. 'Cheap' and 'wise' are not the same thing, but can sometimes occupy the same space.
    1. old nurse's Avatar
      old nurse -
      Gibson will get Pelfrey's spot
    1. TKGuy's Avatar
      TKGuy -
      I don't think Ryan is being cheap, I am glad Deduno is getting a shot, he's the anti-Twins starter, wild and with K ability. Gibson's time will come shortly. Pelfrey or Worley will be removed from the rotation.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Every inning Gibson pitches in the minors is one less he can pitch at the MLB level this year. If they are both coming up, Gibson should come up first. heck, they should both be coming up right now, and Pelfrey should be gone. He won't bring back anything in trade, and he isn't going to help them win this year. There is absolutely no reason for him to be on the roster now that Deduno and Gibson are healthy, and they have Albers and other AAAA pitchers ready to go if needed. By the time Gibson is shut down, Meyer can come up. Not sure why this is not the plan right now.
    1. spideyo's Avatar
      spideyo -
      It's not the plan simply because Gibson has been very volatile and inconsistent. This is a kid that they expect to be a solid part of the rotation for 5+ years. If he can't string together 3 back to back good starts in AAA yet, who does it possibly help to shove him into a higher pressure situation against exponentially better hitters?

      It's not like a couple Gibson starts are all that's standing between the Twinkies and a title.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      As opposed to Pelfry and his starts here? Or Deduno and his starts this year or last being consistent? he's going to be 26 this year, there aren't that many pitches left in his arm, frankly. Use them, or lose them. You really expect him to be super effective in 6 years, when he is 31/2? I don't.
    1. spideyo's Avatar
      spideyo -
      I have no idea what Gibson will be like in 6 years. But I want him to be a solid piece next year, and rushing him up here so he can get shelled by Detroit helps no one.
    1. USAFChief's Avatar
      USAFChief -
      Quote Originally Posted by spideyo View Post
      I have no idea what Gibson will be like in 6 years. But I want him to be a solid piece next year, and rushing him up here so he can get shelled by Detroit helps no one.
      If you're sure he'd get shelled by Detroit Friday, then there's not much hope he'll be a "solid piece" next year.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      How is it rushing? If he's healthy at the start of the year, he's already on the roster. he's going to be 26 this year. How is pitching in AAA less impactful to his arm? Or are you suggesting he's not mentally ready?
    1. Brad Swanson's Avatar
      Brad Swanson -
      Career K% for the following:

      Vance Worley - 18.5%
      Sam Deduno - 17%
      Kevin Correia - 15.1%
      Mike Pelfrey - 12.7%
      League Average in 2013 - 20.0%

      Deduno is hardly a strikeout pitcher and the only reason he doesn't qualify as a "pitch-to-contact" pitcher is because he walks so many batters.
    1. jun's Avatar
      jun -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      Every inning Gibson pitches in the minors is one less he can pitch at the MLB level this year. If they are both coming up, Gibson should come up first. heck, they should both be coming up right now, and Pelfrey should be gone. He won't bring back anything in trade, and he isn't going to help them win this year. There is absolutely no reason for him to be on the roster now that Deduno and Gibson are healthy, and they have Albers and other AAAA pitchers ready to go if needed. By the time Gibson is shut down, Meyer can come up. Not sure why this is not the plan right now.
      Deduno should be up first. He has been more consistent than Gibson. He had some success last season. He has been dominant in WBC against best hitters in the world. His weakness is that he is not as efficient and he could not pitch deep into the game. Gibson should be the next to be called up if he could be more consistent. Walters and Albers should also get their chance.
    1. Nick Nelson's Avatar
      Nick Nelson -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brad Swanson View Post
      Career K% for the following:

      Vance Worley - 18.5%
      Sam Deduno - 17%
      Kevin Correia - 15.1%
      Mike Pelfrey - 12.7%
      League Average in 2013 - 20.0%

      Deduno is hardly a strikeout pitcher and the only reason he doesn't qualify as a "pitch-to-contact" pitcher is because he walks so many batters.
      Career opponents' batting average / slugging:

      Worley - .280 / .424
      Deduno - .248 / .399
      Correia - .273 / .430
      Pelfrey - .287 / .419
      League average in 2013 - .255 / .413

      Deduno may not be a pure strikeout pitcher but he's legitimately tough to hit, and that's been true everywhere -- minors/majors/whatever. He might pitch to contact when he's not issuing walks but he doesn't pitch to hard contact. In contrast to the current suspects, that intrigues me. I also suspect he'll be above his career K-rate this year if he keeps throwing the way he has been.
    1. Brad Swanson's Avatar
      Brad Swanson -
      At AAA this season:

      Start 1 - 5.1 innings - 4 Ks, 4 BB, 5 hits, 0 ER, 100 pitches
      Start 2 - 5.2 innings - 5 Ks, 4 BB, 4 hits, 1 ER, 99 pitches
      Start 3 - 6.1 innings - 8 Ks, 2 BB, 5 hits, 4 ER, 93 pitches

      He had little to no success last season:

      6.5 K/9
      6.0 BB/9
      4.44 ERA, 1.544 WHIP
      15 starts - 79 innings

      The WBC was an exhibition and he made three starts, totaling 13 innings.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      WBC may be an exhibition to US, but the other countries are taking it serious, that's for sure.
    1. Brad Swanson's Avatar
      Brad Swanson -
      Quote Originally Posted by Nick Nelson View Post
      Career opponents' batting average / slugging:

      Worley - .280 / .424
      Deduno - .248 / .399
      Correia - .273 / .430
      Pelfrey - .287 / .419
      League average in 2013 - .255 / .413

      Deduno may not be a pure strikeout pitcher but he's legitimately tough to hit, and that's been true everywhere -- minors/majors/whatever. He might pitch to contact when he's not issuing walks but he doesn't pitch to hard contact. In contrast to the current suspects, that intrigues me. I also suspect he'll be above his career K-rate this year if he keeps throwing the way he has been.
      Career innings pitched:

      Worley - 322.2
      Deduno - 84.2
      Correia - 1123.2
      Pelfrey - 936.2

      I don't really have a problem with anyone being excited for Deduno. The argument that he was a better choice than Gibson doesn't make sense to me. And I do realize that Gibson's hasn't thrown an inning yet. Personally, I'd rather watch Gibson pitch on Friday.
    1. jun's Avatar
      jun -
      Quote Originally Posted by old nurse View Post
      Gibson will get Pelfrey's spot
      Walters should get Worley's spot. Albers should be the 6th starter.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Quote Originally Posted by Oldgoat_MN View Post
      Haha.
      I like Deduno coming up. This will at least be something completely different.

      Gibson will be along shortly. 'Cheap' and 'wise' are not the same thing, but can sometimes occupy the same space.
      Though usually when those two words are used in the same space, the rewards reaped are soley for the person being cheap and wise.
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