• Starting in September

    The Twins have 41 games to go which seems like a lot. However, there are just ten days before we reach September when rosters can expand. With the Twins moves yesterday, outrighting Nick Blackburn and Tsuyoshi Nishioka, the Twins 40 man roster now sits at 38. This is great because that means that the Twins can add two players to the 40 man roster without dropping anyone else. Then again, there are a few players that could be removed without much heartache in Twins Nation.

    Starting Pitching has been the Twins biggest concern all season. Really, it has been for several seasons, and it will be again throughout the offseason. That said, the Twins have to find out what they have on the 40 man roster for starters. As of right now, the Twins starting rotation is Scott Diamond, Sam Deduno, Brian Duensing and Cole De Vries. We might be able to assume that Liam Hendriks will take Blackburn’s rotation spot, but at this point, we don’t know that for certain.

    Below, I will outline what I would like to see the Twins do with their starting rotation in September, if not sooner:

    THE GOAL

    Again, I think it’s important to understand the logic in what is trying to be accomplished. In my opinion, the Twins front office has to make some tough decisions for next year. Can they count on Liam Hendriks? Which of the starters should stay on the 40 man roster, much less go to spring training attempting to win a 5th starter job or a long-relief job.

    THE PLAN


    To be able to see more pitchers, I would recommend a six-man starting rotation. I’d be against it under normal circumstances, but I think it’s important to see what several of these guys can do when asked to throw five to seven innings.

    WHO IS OUT (OF THE ROTATION)?


    Well, one of my recommendations was going to be to get Nick Blackburn out of the starting rotation. Whether it was to the bullpen of released, I think we have all seen enough of his starts.

    Cole De Vries
    has shown me enough to likely stay on the 40 man roster and be able to compete for a 5th starter/long reliever/#6-7 starter job.

    Brian Duensing
    should be in the bullpen, regardless of how well he pitched last night. He has shown that he can start when needed. His roster spot is very safe as he is a tremendous left-handed reliever.

    WHO STARTS?


    #1 – Scott Diamond – He has made himself into the one given for the Twins Opening Day starting rotation. He has thrown 162.2 innings so far in 2012 after pitching 162 innings last year. If you subscribe to the belief that a pitcher should pitch no more than 20% more innings than the previous season, that means Diamond should throw about 195 innings. Going to six starters will likely mean one less start and they can still monitor his innings because of extra relievers.

    #2 – Sam Deduno – Yes, I know he’s got 36 walks and 30 strikeouts in 46 innings. But he also has a 4-1 record and a 3.33 ERA. I know that there’s like a 99.8% likelihood that his success is not sustainable, but let me live in that other 0.2% for another month. What if he can find a way to relax a little bit and reduce is BB/9 from 7.0 to 4.2 or so? What if? I am so intrigued by how nasty his stuff is and how much movement his pitches get. The Twins have nothing to lose in September, so why not give his ‘stuff’ an opportunity?!

    #3 – Liam Hendriks – Yes, he has struggled with the Twins in a couple of stints this year. He was the Twins minor league pitcher of the year last year when he split time between AA and AAA and then was pushed too quickly to the big leagues in September. This year, he was with the Twins quickly and probably wasn’t quite ready. However, in 16 starts with AAA Rochester this season, he is now 9-3 with a 2.20 ERA. In 106.1 innings, he has given up 76 hits, walked 28 and struck out 82. He’s just 23 years old and has the background of success and the mix of pitches necessary to believe that he will figure it out at some point.

    #4 – Esmerling Vasquez – The Twins claimed Vasquez on the final weekend of the 2011 season. Just before spring training, he was DFAd to make room for Darin Mastroianni. He has been, arguably, the most consistent pitcher in Rochester this season. As a reliever, he is 5-4 with a 2.67 ERA. In 57.1 innings, he has given up 41 hits, walked 25 and struckout 50. However, he was recently moved to the starting staff, and in seven starts, he is 4-1 with a 3.16 ERA. In 37 innings, he has given up 27 hits, walked 11 and struck out 41. That doesn’t count a game that he came into with two outs in the 1st inning and pitched into the 9th inning. That K/rate of more than one per inning is certainly intriguing in an organization where that is a rarity.

    #5 – Jeff Manship – Next spring, Manship will be out of options. Since making five starts for the Twins in 2009 (including his first big league win in a must-win, last weekend start against the Royals), Manship has made just one start for the Twins, and that was in 2010. However, as a starter in Rochester this season, he has gone 4-2 with a 2.29 ERA in 10 starts. In 51 innings he’s given up 47 hits, walked 19 and struck out 32. I would give him a five to six start opportunity in September before making a decision, either way.

    #6 – PJ Walters – Although his overall numbers in seven starts for the Twins from mid-May through mid-June were not great, he certainly showed some glimpses. In his first four starts, he went at least six innings and pitched a complete game against the White Sox. But when the calendar turned to June, his struggles began. He didn’t go more than five in his first two starts, and then he didn’t get out of the first inning in a June 13 start against the Phillies. He hasn’t pitched in the big league since. He’s now working in his second rehab stint in Rochester, and went three innings and threw 59 pitches. Another start or two for the Red Wings and he should be able to make five more starts with the Twins.

    SUMMARY


    Terry Ryan and his front office staff have some difficult decisions to make on many players as they plan for 2012. I think a good way to get a look at a few of them would be to go to a six man starting rotation. Guys like Cole De Vries, Brian Duensing and Anthony Swarzak will become very important as well because there will be short starts and innings to eat, in all likelihood. Five or six extra starts is probably too small of a sample size to make final decisions, but coupled with AAA reports, it’s something more.

    What do you think of this plan? What do you think will or should happen, in your opinion?


    Photo by StarTribune.com
    This article was originally published in blog: Starting in September started by Seth Stohs
    Comments 31 Comments
    1. JP3700's Avatar
      JP3700 -
      Quote Originally Posted by thrylos98 View Post
      Seth, I really know that for some reason you are high on Manship, but he has been worse that Blackburn in any of the 3 chances he got to pitch in the majors. Out of options in 2013. I think we can pretty much say that he is not in the Twins' plan for 2013. Also, the same with Walters. Horrible peripherals, horrible 88 mph FastBall etc. Matter of fact, I'd rather see them add BJ Hermsen to the 25 man roster and have him start a couple of games instead of Walters and Manship who are not going anywhere in 2013. Hermsen might make himself part of the equation next season and he needs to be added to the 40-man next season. And doing this this September instead nor they use any option neither his clock starts. Or Pedro Hernandez. He should be in the equation as well, maybe ahead of Hermsen. But no Manship. (and no Walters either.)

      At this point, Manship is out there with Gray and Blackburn, IMHO. (and speaking of, DFA Gray and Free Anthony Slama where we are at it)
      I agree with you on Manship.. But I'm curious if you watched PJ's starts. His fastball was hovering around 89-91 before he hurt his shoulder(same velocity as Diamond). He has a nasty curve ball and a solid changeup. If you're basing it on stuff.. Hermsen and Hernandez have similar velocity as Walters. I do believe in Hernandez more due to the fact he has an out pitch.. His change up. Hermsen still hasn't developed a plus pitch.. So he needs more work.
    1. twinsnorth49's Avatar
      twinsnorth49 -
      Quote Originally Posted by JP3700 View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by thrylos98 View Post
      Seth, I really know that for some reason you are high on Manship, but he has been worse that Blackburn in any of the 3 chances he got to pitch in the majors. Out of options in 2013. I think we can pretty much say that he is not in the Twins' plan for 2013. Also, the same with Walters. Horrible peripherals, horrible 88 mph FastBall etc. Matter of fact, I'd rather see them add BJ Hermsen to the 25 man roster and have him start a couple of games instead of Walters and Manship who are not going anywhere in 2013. Hermsen might make himself part of the equation next season and he needs to be added to the 40-man next season. And doing this this September instead nor they use any option neither his clock starts. Or Pedro Hernandez. He should be in the equation as well, maybe ahead of Hermsen. But no Manship. (and no Walters either.)

      At this point, Manship is out there with Gray and Blackburn, IMHO. (and speaking of, DFA Gray and Free Anthony Slama where we are at it)
      I agree with you on Manship.. But I'm curious if you watched PJ's starts. His fastball was hovering around 89-91 before he hurt his shoulder(same velocity as Diamond). He has a nasty curve ball and a solid changeup. If you're basing it on stuff.. Hermsen and Hernandez have similar velocity as Walters. I do believe in Hernandez more due to the fact he has an out pitch.. His change up. Hermsen still hasn't developed a plus pitch.. So he needs more work.

      I agree, I saw Walters pitch against Detroit back in May (when Capps gave up the 0-2 shot to Cabrera to blow the save). At that game Walters fastball was getting up to 89-90 regularly, he was spotting his curve and his change-up had that lineup flailing. I think once healthy he's worth a bit of a look.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Quote Originally Posted by JP3700 View Post
      I agree with you on Manship.. But I'm curious if you watched PJ's starts. His fastball was hovering around 89-91 before he hurt his shoulder(same velocity as Diamond). He has a nasty curve ball and a solid changeup. If you're basing it on stuff.. Hermsen and Hernandez have similar velocity as Walters. I do believe in Hernandez more due to the fact he has an out pitch.. His change up. Hermsen still hasn't developed a plus pitch.. So he needs more work.
      I think I probably missed 3 games the whole season. Here is PJ Walter's fangraphs page. You can see that per PitchFX has 3 FBs, a 4seamer, a two-seamer (these average at 88.x) and a cut FB that averages around 85 mph. Also a couple breaking balls and a change. If you look down a bit at his pitch values, you can see that only his slider is a decent pitch. Also he got a K/BB around 1.5, a K/9 around 5.5 and a WHIP at 1.5+ Not that great.

      I have never seen Hernandez pitch. Cannot say much. Saw Hermsen pitch at Spring Training and, yes, he does not have overwhelming stuff. I saw his FB sit a tad higher than Walters' values in the Twins' gun behind home plate last ST. But Brad Radke never did either and neither does Scott Diamond. (I am not comparing any of these 3 players btw, just giving examples of Twins' pitchers will less than great stuff who had success.)
    1. JP3700's Avatar
      JP3700 -
      Quote Originally Posted by thrylos98 View Post

      I think I probably missed 3 games the whole season. Here is PJ Walter's fangraphs page. You can see that per PitchFX has 3 FBs, a 4seamer, a two-seamer (these average at 88.x) and a cut FB that averages around 85 mph. Also a couple breaking balls and a change. If you look down a bit at his pitch values, you can see that only his slider is a decent pitch. Also he got a K/BB around 1.5, a K/9 around 5.5 and a WHIP at 1.5+ Not that great.
      I knew you would bring up overall stats but the reason why I asked if you watched him pitch is because he was a much different pitcher after the complete game against the Sox. His velocity dropped and his command wasn't the same. He reportedly had bad bullpen sessions prior to his last 3 starts and it showed on the mound which tells me that he was already hurt. Much like Pavano they kept running him out there. Take a look at first 3 games. 21.1 innings 2.95 ERA WHIP under 1 and a K/BB of 3. Keep in mind this was against the Blue Jays, Tigers and White Sox. I'm not saying he is a guarantee but I think you have to give him a long hard look when he's 100%
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Quote Originally Posted by JP3700 View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by thrylos98 View Post

      I think I probably missed 3 games the whole season. Here is PJ Walter's fangraphs page. You can see that per PitchFX has 3 FBs, a 4seamer, a two-seamer (these average at 88.x) and a cut FB that averages around 85 mph. Also a couple breaking balls and a change. If you look down a bit at his pitch values, you can see that only his slider is a decent pitch. Also he got a K/BB around 1.5, a K/9 around 5.5 and a WHIP at 1.5+ Not that great.
      I knew you would bring up overall stats but the reason why I asked if you watched him pitch is because he was a much different pitcher after the complete game against the Sox. His velocity dropped and his command wasn't the same. He reportedly had bad bullpen sessions prior to his last 3 starts and it showed on the mound which tells me that he was already hurt. Much like Pavano they kept running him out there. Take a look at first 3 games. 21.1 innings 2.95 ERA WHIP under 1 and a K/BB of 3. Keep in mind this was against the Blue Jays, Tigers and White Sox. I'm not saying he is a guarantee but I think you have to give him a long hard look when he's 100%
      OK. It makes sense then. (but his velocities have been consistent throughout his career) If he will accept another minor league contract. He will be a MiLB free agent after this season. I would not mind giving him September (if healthy) and 2013 Spring Training to win a job (but I hope that the Twins would really get 2 pitchers better than Diamond, so that would make Diamond number 3 and talking about #4 and #5 competition here...)
    1. JP3700's Avatar
      JP3700 -
      Quote Originally Posted by thrylos98 View Post
      OK. It makes sense then. (but his velocities have been consistent throughout his career) If he will accept another minor league contract. He will be a MiLB free agent after this season. I would not mind giving him September (if healthy) and 2013 Spring Training to win a job (but I hope that the Twins would really get 2 pitchers better than Diamond, so that would make Diamond number 3 and talking about #4 and #5 competition here...)
      There's a big difference between 88-90 and 84-86 which is what he was throwing in his last few starts. Plenty of starting pitchers do just fine at 88-90.

      I created a projected 2013 roster recently and my rotation had:

      1. Acquired pitcher
      2. Scott Diamond
      3. Acquired pitcher
      4. Liam Hendriks
      5. PJ Walters

      AAA depth:
      Kyle Gibson
      Sam Deduno
      Esmerling Vasquez
      Pedro Hernandez
      Cole Devries
      Nick Blackburn
      BJ Hermsen

      *Not sure if Deduno and/or Vasquez would still be in the organization. Or Walters for that matter but I think he's the best option to start the season
    1. ScottyB's Avatar
      ScottyB -
      Why do I have a bad feeling that 2013's starting rotation will include Pavano coming back on a contract similar to the one he signed in 2009 - $1.5M base with a whole bunch of incentives. Of course, if he is in fact healed, he might be tradable at the dealine next year.
    1. twinzgrl's Avatar
      twinzgrl -
      What I want to know is has there ever been another MLB team to completely turn over their entire pitching staff by mid-Aug.? I feel bad for Duensing. He will do whatever is asked of him, but we all know he needs to be in the pen. I say bring them all up and let them throw. Shut Diamond down. See if anyone can emerge as a possibility for '13...but, the Pohlads need to open up the checkbook and let Terry Ryan find us some proven and competent pitchers. Someone in another thread used this word the other day--suckitude. Brilliant word. Twins Territory is tired of the suckitude.
    1. Jack Torse's Avatar
      Jack Torse -
      Why would they shut down Diamond? Recomended max innings? Is this in the field manual? Doesn't he need to get used to pitching a 6 month season? What about next year? Will holding him back this september help him next september or beyond if needed? Dhokay! Wouldn't the same be true for all their pitchers who have been starting throughout the season like Hendricks? I'm sure the Twins probably have discussed the IP with Diamond but I think it's silly. It's not like they have a track record of healthy pitchers.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      I agree with Seth, though once Diamond hits his innings mark, I would substitute in Pedro Hernandez. DeVries can take over Swarzak's spot next year (and be better . . . and be less of a moron) and has proved himself. I want to see the other six each get 5 starts to close the season.

      Thrylos, I have to say your position taken against Manship is odd given your position on Casilla. It's really odd that you don't see the similarity in situations (though Manship *actually* has not been given adequate time in his proper role as a starting pitcher).

      In any event Diamond, DeVries, and those 6 together provide me with a bit of encouragement going into an offseason that will likely involve signing only one near-top level pitcher (Marcum might be my choice there). Ideally, Diamond, Hendriks, and X would make up the bottom 3/5 of the rotation next year, but that isn't going to happen.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jack Torse View Post
      Why would they shut down Diamond? Recomended max innings? Is this in the field manual? Doesn't he need to get used to pitching a 6 month season? What about next year? Will holding him back this september help him next september or beyond if needed? Dhokay! Wouldn't the same be true for all their pitchers who have been starting throughout the season like Hendricks? I'm sure the Twins probably have discussed the IP with Diamond but I think it's silly. It's not like they have a track record of healthy pitchers.
      It's a lost season and Diamond has never thrown this many innings in a season. At this point, why push the guy? The team badly needs him for 2013 and he's the only solid point in a rotation in chaos.
©2014 TwinsCentric, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Interested in advertising with Twins Daily? Click here.