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  • Winter Additions Mean Crowded Rotation

    The Twins had one of the worst starting rotations in all baseball last year. In order to remedy the problem, the team has done its best to be aggressive in the open market, recently adding Mike Pelfrey via a two-year $11 million deal. This is the third free agent starter the Twins have added this season as the team has already agreed to terms with Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes. With Kevin Corriea under contract for another year, Minnesota's starting rotation is filling up rather quickly.

    Minnesota has a handful of players under team control for next season and they have to be wondering what happened. Scott Diamond, Sam Deduno, Kyle Gibson, and Vance Worley were all part of the rotation at different points last season and it's looking more likely that a few of these players won't be with the organization when the team leaves Fort Myers.

    Scott Diamond, LHP
    After a rookie campaign where Diamond was the best starter for the Twins, his sophomore season was a slump. He walked more batters in fewer innings and struggled to keep the ball in the park. He looked better in his time at Rochester but he is out of minor league options. This could mean the Twins will have to try sneaking him through waivers and there is a chance another club would be interested in his services.

    Sam Deduno, RHP
    Deduno surprised a lot of people in his first year, 2012, with the Twins as he tended to give up walks and hits but he found a way to get out of some jams. His second season with the Twins was even better as he lowered his ERA by half a run per game and his WHIP dropped from 1.54 to 1.35 over close to 30 more innings than in his freshman campaign. Like Diamond, Deduno is out of options but it seems Deduno has the inside track for the fifth starter spot.

    Kyle Gibson, RHP
    There were high hopes for Gibson entering the season. The former first round pick had looked good in the preceding year's Arizona Fall League and the club was hoping he would make an impact during his rookie season. Gibson struggled throughout his rookie campaign. He still has options remaining so it's looking to be a lock for him to start the year in Rochester. His performance there will dictate when the Twins bring him back to the big leagues.

    Alex Meyer, RHP
    Considered by many the top rated pitching prospect in the Twins organization, Meyer will be knocking on the door to the majors next season. He pitched all last season at Double-A and he finished his year with a strong showing in the AFL. There is no need to rush him at this point but it could be hard to find a rotation spot for him unless a rash of injuries hits the guys in front of him. He has options left so the Twins will likely send him to Rochester for the start of the year.

    Vance Worley, RHP
    Last season's opening day starter struggled through his first season in a Twins uniform. His WHIP was almost 2.00 and his 7.21 ERA was tough to swallow. When Minnesota traded Ben Revere, Worley was supposed to add some depth to a struggling pitching staff. A year later it is looking more like Worley might not be part of the organization. He's out of options and the Twins will likely put some of the names on this list ahead of him for the fifth starter spot.

    Put yourself in Terry Ryan and Ron Gardenhire's shoes. Who gets the fifth starter spot? Is the player currently on the roster? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
    This article was originally published in blog: Twins Rotation Starting To Look Crowded started by Cody Christie
    Comments 34 Comments
    1. Brandon's Avatar
      Brandon -
      If he's healthy its Deduno. He has filthy stuff with just a little wildness. His era was actually 3.18 or so till he pitched his last 3 starts of the year injured. I think the Twins expect to lose Worely or/ and Diamond as evidenced by the Johnson and Gilmartin trades. they have options remaining and should be included in the 5th starter hunt.
    1. ScottyB's Avatar
      ScottyB -
      Meyer's not even on the 40-man yet, so his option clock hasn't started ticking yet. Same with Gilmartin.
    1. Zephrin's Avatar
      Zephrin -
      I agree with Brandon that Deduno will get an early shot, except I think it reasonably likely that Deduno starts the year on IR. I don't think Johnson and Gilmartin are really in the hunt - they are more of emergency backup plans in case the Twins do lose Worley and Diamond and Gibson/Meyer don't look ready.
    1. jorgenswest's Avatar
      jorgenswest -
      I don't think it is a guarantee that Correia is in the rotation. The Twins need to consider a bullpen/6th starter role for him. He is a good fit for the pen. He holds on runners. He maintains the same level performance or better with runners on base. He has a track record of health.

      Gibson needs to be in the rotation from opening day.

      Meyer needs to be up early before he has too many high pitch count games in AAA. I would advocate for opening day, but certainly after he shows any success in 10 AAA starts.

      They can't give up on Worley. He needs to be in the pen and work his way out. His projections are better than any other starter other than Nolasco because they are based on 3-4 years. He was awful last year. Simply using last year to project the next year is not very reliable.

      Deduno looked good last year, but his longer track record is shaky. I would hope the Twins give him a short leash in the rotation to start the year (Correia in pen). If he is successful, they can trade Pelfrey for anything they can get and make room for Meyer.

      Diamond has one good year behind him. Does he profile in the pen? I think he has the least upside of the three pitchers with out options. He is left handed and that may keep him around.

      Ideally, the Twins end the season with three pitchers in the rotation with service time that they can count on for the next few years while Correia spends the year in the pen and Pelfrey has some BABIP luck and is traded for something mid summer.
    1. Zephrin's Avatar
      Zephrin -
      Jorgenswest - I agree that neither Correia or Pelfrey are locks for rotation spots long-term this season, but I would be shocked if they don't both start the year in the rotation.
    1. Zephrin's Avatar
      Zephrin -
      Ideally, I would like to see Gibson seize the opportunity in Spring Training for the #5 slot. Deduno will be added to the 25-man in some capacity once he eases his way back from injury - either as a starter for someone who falters, or as a reliever so they don't lose him. Meyer will be told the same thing Gibson was last year - go be consistent for 6-8 starts at AAA and we'll give you a shot. Hopefully that happens by early summer.
    1. PopRiveter's Avatar
      PopRiveter -
      Unlikely that all 4 veteran starters will be healthy enough to start the season. Starting pitchers are just too fragile to expect all those arms to be sound.

      Chances are, the 1 opening we see today will be 2 when camp breaks. Between Deduno, Gibson, Diamond, there will also be at least one starter disqualified either by injury, or meltdown. It is easy to imagine scenarios whereby Diamond is the odd man out of the organization.

      I hope Deduno is healthy and forces his way in, as he is my favorite to watch out of this year's group, but it is way too soon to know who will really be the final five.
    1. DocBauer's Avatar
      DocBauer -
      Four spots are set barring injury or a trade of Correia. (A possibility depending how ST and the various candidates shake out) No way on Meyer or Gilmartin. Down the road sure. Meyer could be special and Gilmartin solid. But they are young, lack innings, and aren't even on the 40 man roster yet and currently behind guys who are that we have to sort out. Johnson is AAA depth, possibly bullpen help or fill in starter at some point.
      I am a big believer in Gibson and have no doubt he'd be established firmly at this point sans injury and rehab. But reality is he was injured, rehabbed, and last season was his first season back. We all know timetables and histories of TJ injury. I'd love to see Gibson kick butt and earn job right out of spring. But with options on his side, it wouldn't hurt a bit if the Twins decide to let him pitch every fifth day, stretch out and gain a little more experience at Rochester for a few weeks or month.

      Deduno, Diamond, Worley, probably in that order, are your candidates. Will Deduno be 100% at the start of ST? I hope so, but he might not be.

      Thankfully we have depth and potential here. Remember, how the season starts doesn't necessarily mean it will stay that way for long. How awesome would it be for Deduno to be or get healthy, Gibson fully arrives, and we'd have the luxury of trading a Correia to a needy team?
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      I would add at least Swarzak, K. Johnson and Duensing to the list because they all were told that they will compete for a spot. Fien and Pressly have options left in the pen, Roenicke is gone so there is room for all 5 pitchers (Deduno, Diamond, Duensing, Swarzak, Worley) without options in this group.

      Let's look at the career numbers of those 5 (I even include ERA ) as starters:

      Deduno: 4.09 ERA, 1.433 WHIP/.283 BABIP, 15.3% K%, 1.32 K/BB
      Diamond: 4.43 ERA, 1.405 WHIP/.304 BABIP, 10.9% K%, 1.92 K/BB
      Duensing: 4.57 ERA, 1.428 WHIP/.320 BABIP, 15.2% K%, 2.38 K/BB
      Swarzak: 5.79 ERA, 1.507 WHIP/.316 BABIP, 12.7% K%, 2.05 K/BB
      Worley: 4.12 ERA, 1.449 WHIP/.334 BABIP, 18.1% K%, 2.37 K/BB

      Got to love the people who think that Duensing was a "failed" starter and think that Deduno is the best of the group and exalt Diamond's 2012. ERA-aside, Duensing's numbers are better overall.

      I think that the job will be won in ST, with the 3 losing pitchers from this group not named Deduno (who will start in the DL) in the pen or traded.

      If I were to hand a job on paper before ST, I'd say that it is Worley's to lose, unless they want a lefty in the rotation and then it should be Duensing's...
    1. ScottyB's Avatar
      ScottyB -
      Swarzak and Duensing were told to report as potential starters before all of the FA signings. I doubt that's still the case.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Quote Originally Posted by ScottyB View Post
      Swarzak and Duensing were told to report as potential starters before all of the FA signings. I doubt that's still the case.
      Here: Hear it straight from the horse's mouth (5 days ago, after all the signings)
    1. DAM DC Twins Fans's Avatar
      DAM DC Twins Fans -
      Given the number of free agents signed--Gibson who in all honesty showed little last year will start at Rochester. As will guys not on 40 man roster (Meyer, Gilmartin, etc.) Assume Deduno starts on the DL. That leaves Swarzek, Worley, Diamond, Duensing and maybe Albers to fight for 5th and 6th spots. Given April weather--5th and 6th spots will be in bullpen.

      The winner will be decided in ST. None of us can know who will be sharp then (or for that matter in May after spending April in the pen). My guess Worley--but as Thrylos points out none of these guys have stellar career numbers.

      My hope is that by June Meyer and Gibson will be ready and we can dump most of these guys. The Braves had little faith in Gilmartin--till he does something in minors--I also have little faith.
    1. tjsyam921's Avatar
      tjsyam921 -
      If Deduno is healthy it is him without question. If not he ends up on the DL and Diamond gets the shot with Worley trying to get sent through waivers.
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      Deduno has a lot of movement on his pitches and he keeps the ball in the yard. Even if he regresses a little bit from last season, I think he has a future at the back end for a couple years.
    1. beckmt's Avatar
      beckmt -
      Deduno could be a #3 starter, based on movement and performance. He should be the first option for the #5 slot.
    1. SpantheMan's Avatar
      SpantheMan -
      I honestly hope and think that Swarzek and Duensing will be in the bullpen, with no chance at the rotation.Duensing is a below average at best starter because he has so much trouble against righties. Swarzek is an average long man.

      I assume we are talking about one rotation spot. Correia and Pelfry should be in the rotation and then at least one of them traded in July. Then we could bring up Meyer or Gibson, who should start in AAA.

      I wouldn't mind losing diamond add much, but I really don't want to lose either Deneudo or Worley, so if they're both healthy i would keep one if them in the pen. But more than likely Deneudo will start on the DL and then Worley should get the spot IMO.
    1. Tibs's Avatar
      Tibs -
      How does Deduno, Diamond, and Worley being out of options affect the chances they are traded?
    1. Dman's Avatar
      Dman -
      I agree with Thrylos on this. There is room for all of them if the Twins want to. Spring training is going to be really huge for those pitchers. I agree with most posters that Diamond is likely the odd pitcher out as he appears to have the least upside. It looks like the Twins have set themselves up to see if several players can generate trade value at the trade deadline. I think the goal is to try and get something for the marginal players and then make room for the guys who are performing well in AAA.
    1. Rosterman's Avatar
      Rosterman -
      Deduno starts on the DL.

      The Twins entertain offers for Duensing and Swarzak once arbitration salaries are decided.

      Diamond and Worley start in the pen. Diamond is a lefty so might be considered more for the rotation. Spring training is always interesting. Some pitchers don't work out. Some shine. The Twins do have enough potential bullpen depth to be active players if other teams are seeking relief from both sides.

      Gibson starts in the minors.

      Is there a logjam at Rochester, though. Darnell Logan, Gibson, Meyer, May, Albers, Dean, Velasquez amongst others. Who starts at New Britain just for the heck of it.

      Sadly, there isn't a market for players like Diamond, Worley, and even Parmelee (and Hendriks, as shown). They get released and picked up if a club has an open spot for a chance to be roster fodder. The otehr joy is if any of the guys have horrid spring trainings so no one sees a need to touch them and keep them on the 40-man.
    1. zchrz's Avatar
      zchrz -
      I wonder if Duensing and Swarzak are being told to prepare to start so they can be evaluated in the same pool as Deduno, Worley, Diamond. One open spot in the rotation, two spots in the pen, and 2 guys go. That is assuming no one else, Gibson/ Meyer, blows them away in spring and earns a spot.

      Deduno has probably earned the right to the rotation spot if hes healthy and good in spring. I think Worley has the most potential of the group so he has the inside track on a pen spot. Diamond is probably the odd starter out but may stick as a Duensing replacement. I think Duensing is probably gone, Swarzak was pretty damn good as the long man last year but then again long relievers are pretty replaceable.
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