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  • No Room in the Rotation for Trevor May

    So, as you might have heard, Twins pitching prospect Trevor May has been on a heck of a run in Triple-A. The 25-year-old right-hander was named International League Pitcher of the Week on Monday and hasn't allowed an earned run in his last four starts.

    Overall, May is sitting with a 2.62 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in 10 starts this year, while averaging about a strikeout per inning and holding opponents to a .196 batting average.

    That sounds like a guy who should be up on the big-league staff. The only problem -- and this ain't exactly a bad problem -- is that right now there's no obvious spot for May to fill.

    That's a bit of an odd conundrum considering that the Twins have the worst starting pitching ERA in the American League at 4.86. But when you look at the five starters currently comprising the rotation, you can't really argue that any are deserving of a demotion.

    In part, that is because Minnesota's starters have been shockingly healthy. Outside of the ailing Mike Pelfrey, nobody has missed a start in the first two months, which is sort of amazing after the last couple years.

    In terms of performance, there are some ugly overall numbers in the mix, but everyone has been holding their own recently, helping to explain the club's decent 13-16 record in a month of May where the offense averaged only 3.2 runs per game.

    It goes without saying that Phil Hughes is locked in. He's been one of the best starters in the league. Ricky Nolasco also isn't going anywhere, since he's in Year 1 of a four-year deal (he has also allowed three or fewer runs in five of his last six turns). Samuel Deduno hasn't been spectacular since taking over for Pelfrey in early May, but certainly hasn't done anything to put his job in danger.

    Kyle Gibson's performances have been uneven, and his ugly 29-to-20 K/BB ratio in 56 innings is a bit worrisome, but this is sink-or-swim time for the 26-year-old right-hander and the Twins have little to gain by sending him back to Triple-A.

    The most obvious slot for May to take over is, and has been, that of Kevin Correia. The veteran is in the final year of his deal with the Twins, and has had an ERA north of 6 for much of the campaign.

    But even as someone who is clearly not the biggest Correia fan in the world, I can't really advocate for his removal from the rotation at this point. Correia simply hasn't pitched as poorly as his bloated 5.87 ERA suggests. His 5.0 K/9 rate -- while far from good -- is better than any mark he's posted in the last three years, and he has the best walk rate among Twins starters outside of Hughes. Correia has also allowed only six homers in 61 innings.

    The biggest issues for Correia have been a .338 batting average on balls in play and a league-worst 59.6 percent strand rate. Both categories are considered to be -- at least to some extent -- luck-based, and by that convention Correia has been among the most unlucky starting pitchers in the majors.

    You can't really punish a guy for being unlucky. Correia is doing what he needs to do.

    So here's the situation: Barring monumental struggles, contractual and developmental considerations mean that Hughes, Nolasco and Gibson are staying put all year. Deduno and Correia aren't pitching their way out of jobs.

    This means that in order to get his chance, May is going to need to wait until one of the latter two starters falls into a legitimate slump, or someone gets hurt. It also means that if and when Pelfrey finally gets healthy, he's going to have a very tough time breaking back into the rotation.

    Like I said, not a bad problem to have, but certainly a peculiar one for a starting staff that statistically ranks as the second-worst in baseball.


    Since the Twins rallied and took down the Yankees on Sunday to complete a rare series victory in New York, you can get half off your online order at PapaJohns.com on Monday with the promo code 'TWINSWIN'.
    Comments 128 Comments
    1. jharaldson's Avatar
      jharaldson -
      Quote Originally Posted by cmathewson View Post
      A. I wonder where the Twins rank since Pelfrey went down with the nerve problem. My guess is they've moved up.

      They are 29th in starter ERA in March/April:

      http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.asp...rs=0&sort=15,a

      They are 18th in starter ERA in May:

      http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.asp...rs=0&sort=15,a

      These dates don't perfectly line up with Pelfrey but they are close enough to prove your point, removing a turd from the rotation helped and maybe removing another would bring us into respectability as a staff.
    1. 70charger's Avatar
      70charger -
      Quote Originally Posted by tmerrickkeller View Post
      Move Deduno back to the bullpen, release Guerrier (who is also not part of the long-term plans). Bring up May with Matty's roster spot. I like Sam, too, but he hurts bullpens with short starts, and always makes short starts - quality short starts, but short.

      Keeps potential starter in the bullpen and handy, showcases KC to maximize (any) value, gives May a shot, gives fans a new face to cheer for, and clears two hurdles - gets May up and gives a second path for Meyer when KC is gone. If May implodes, go back to Sam, and move up a reliever, or straight out swap Meyer for May, as we'd be past super-two by then.
      This is exactly what I'd do. Where's the downside. Plus, if you can trade Correia at the deadline, you'll be able to slide Deduno back into the rotation, or better still, you could bring up another guy tearing up AAA.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by 70charger View Post
      This is exactly what I'd do. Where's the downside. Plus, if you can trade Correia at the deadline, you'll be able to slide Deduno back into the rotation, or better still, you could bring up another guy tearing up AAA.
      Plus, following tmerrick's gameplan, moving MattyG out not only opens up a 25-man spot for May (who is already on the roster), he also opens up a 40-man spot for Meyer (or perhaps for another major league CFer, but that's for a different thread).
    1. SarasotaBill's Avatar
      SarasotaBill -
      Super Two, Working on secondary pitches and FB command, AAA all star game, July Futures Game in MN, and trade deadline - all possible reasons to delay until mid-July or later.

      Let's see May and Meyer have great Junes and discuss then.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      So, having the probably better player in MN is not a priority? Some day that will be the priority in MN, someday.
    1. Dantes929's Avatar
      Dantes929 -
      Quote Originally Posted by tobi0040 View Post
      Lets get rid of the garbage and give the fans something to be excited about. I agree 100%, worrying about depth and keeping more talented pitchers in AAA is exactly how you end up with the worst staff in the league for three years.
      I am with you but it is harder after he just gave up a single run against the Yankees in his last start. Finally under a 6 ERA and trending down just makes it tough to cut him. He was pretty good for us last year which gives him a little longer leash. I think he earned another start. I said this yesterday that I fear that he will be just good enough for the Twins not to demote him but bad enough for the fans to want him replaced. I would say several good starts in a row would make him attractive trade wise and a couple more bad ones in a row will be enough to pull the trigger. The tough part comes when he throws a good game every other start. After a bad one you say ok, another one like that he is gone but then he throws a good game so you give him another chance and so on.
    1. Dantes929's Avatar
      Dantes929 -
      Quote Originally Posted by jharaldson View Post
      They are 29th in starter ERA in March/April:

      http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.asp...rs=0&sort=15,a

      They are 18th in starter ERA in May:

      http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.asp...rs=0&sort=15,a

      These dates don't perfectly line up with Pelfrey but they are close enough to prove your point, removing a turd from the rotation helped and maybe removing another would bring us into respectability as a staff.
      Except it is trending down even without Pelfrey in the equation. Every other starter has a lower ERA now than at the end of April. Correia for example went from 7.33 down to 5.87. Not great but hard to demote guys that are trending in the right direction.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by Dantes929 View Post
      I am with you but it is harder after he just gave up a single run against the Yankees in his last start. Finally under a 6 ERA and trending down just makes it tough to cut him. He was pretty good for us last year which gives him a little longer leash. I think he earned another start. I said this yesterday that I fear that he will be just good enough for the Twins not to demote him but bad enough for the fans to want him replaced. I would say several good starts in a row would make him attractive trade wise and a couple more bad ones in a row will be enough to pull the trigger. The tough part comes when he throws a good game every other start. After a bad one you say ok, another one like that he is gone but then he throws a good game so you give him another chance and so on.
      All fine and dandy. Except this wasn't a good start from Correia. And a series of the starts like yesterday's will be of interest to absolutely no one in negotiating a potential meaningful trade.
    1. drivlikejehu's Avatar
      drivlikejehu -
      I must say, that is a truly novel argument - when a pitcher gets his ERA below 6.00, you cannot remove him from the rotation.

      That's the great thing about a 7.33 ERA I guess... even one of the worst pitchers in MLB can improve on it.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Quote Originally Posted by ChiTownTwinsFan View Post
      I'm in the minority on this, but I'm kind of waiting for Deduno to, well, not last. Not that I want him to falter, but I still wonder if his shoulder can stay healthy for a whole season. The 'luck' our rotation has seen can't last even though I hope it does.
      +1. Deduno has done nothing to prove he deserves a job in the rotation. Averages 5.5 IP/GS, less than 2 Ks per BB, has been regressing (6.75 ERA & .360 OBA the past 7 days, 4.91 ERA & .295 OBA the past 14 days and 4.50 ERA & .252 OBA the past 28.) Add the facts that at 30+ he is not part of the future and he has benefited from a ridiculous HR/FB ratio and I cannot see a way that he is taking a spot away from May.

      Does he have a role in this team? Sure: Guerrier's...
    1. howeda7's Avatar
      howeda7 -
      Corriea will be traded or DFA'd by 7/31 and an injury will eventually happen. Both will get their shot to make at least 10 or so starts at the Major League Level in 2014. I wouldn't get too anxious about it yet. The failure to use Pinto and Santana while here is far more disturbing.
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      Cut/Option Matt Guerrier. Correia finally finds that hole I've been looking for awhile with him - it's not as nice as I'd like, but the bullpen will do for now.

      Call up Josh Brolin...er....May. Seriously...are we sure that isn't Brolin?
    1. matthew0211's Avatar
      matthew0211 -
      Anyone else have a problem with human beings being called "garbage" and "turds," no matter how inadequate they are as major league baseball players?
    1. crarko's Avatar
      crarko -
      Quote Originally Posted by matthew0211 View Post
      Anyone else have a problem with human beings being called "garbage" and "turds," no matter how inadequate they are as major league baseball players?
      Yup. Click the little triangle widget at the bottom of the offending post(s) to report them.
    1. Beezer07's Avatar
      Beezer07 -
      Quote Originally Posted by matthew0211 View Post
      Anyone else have a problem with human beings being called "garbage" and "turds," no matter how inadequate they are as major league baseball players?
      I highly doubt people are using those adjectives/nouns in any context other than their skills compared to other major league players.
    1. Brandon's Avatar
      Brandon -
      Quote Originally Posted by Dantes929 View Post
      Except it is trending down even without Pelfrey in the equation. Every other starter has a lower ERA now than at the end of April. Correia for example went from 7.33 down to 5.87. Not great but hard to demote guys that are trending in the right direction.
      Corriea had a 4.76 ERA in May. its moving in the right direction but still too high. I am fine waiting till the allstar break. After that I hope the Twins are able to find a way to get atleast one of Rochesters deserving pitchers up here.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Quote Originally Posted by matthew0211 View Post
      Anyone else have a problem with human beings being called "garbage" and "turds," no matter how inadequate they are as major league baseball players?
      Indeed
      humans who think of other humans as "garbage" or "turds" or "less" based on some thing, like if that thing is male or a female or that thing's skin has A, B, C or D pigmentation or whether on can hit 500 ft HRs are "lesser" than humans who do not, are... (fill your adjective)
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      Quote Originally Posted by Thrylos View Post
      Indeed humans who think of other humans as "garbage" or "turds" or "less" based on some thing, like if that thing is male or a female or that thing's skin has A, B, C or D pigmentation or whether on can hit 500 ft HRs are "lesser" than humans who do not, are... (fill your adjective)
      My my are we a sensitive bunch lately around here.
    1. h2oface's Avatar
      h2oface -
      It is certainly time to do whatever you can to remove Correia. Even the last game he pitched he pitched to a .375 batting average against. The Twins were quite lucky to only have the one run scored against him/them. I, for one, am not one to keep trotting (is it OK to refer to humans as trotting? I mean, horses trott to the two beat diagonal gait..... I don't want anyone to think I would be calling Correia a horse!) out a pitcher that gives me a lesser chance to win if I have better available and am 5-6 games back.

      I would much rather have the call-ups be pitching toward the middle of their season and with a fresher arm, giving them a better opportunity to succeed, than waiting until they are almost thrown out for the year, and find they are all of the sudden pitching like Pefrey last September.

      Originally Posted by tobi0040
      Lets get rid of the garbage and give the fans something to be excited about. I agree 100%, worrying about depth and keeping more talented pitchers in AAA is exactly how you end up with the worst staff in the league for three years.

      I don't see this as calling anyone garbage, but more of a metaphor, and a gentle one at that.
    1. blairpaul715's Avatar
      blairpaul715 -
      Quote Originally Posted by kblack1011 View Post
      This really shows the problem with signing players like Correia and Pelfrey to 2 year contacts. The Twins have marginal big league pitchers holding back prospects and the pitchers you signed really don't have much trade value.
      I really had no problem with 2 yr signings(actually like them), but we needed to sign someone like Correia last year, but didn't need to this year, after we already had Nolasco and Hughes signed.......it was not a good signing healthy or not, well unless he was 6-0.......then even I would have been jumping for joy LOL..........but I think most of us knew he was a 5th starter(Correia clone), and we didn't need another of those.
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