Diamond, Maloney, Swarzak, Blackburn
The Twins rotation seems hopeless. Can they find anyone who can claim a spot next year? Diamond is the next one who gets a chance.
Pitchers are so hard to evaluate based on data. The sample size for any relief pitcher is so small (even over a year). The sample size for all pitchers is so small after a month of a season. How do the Twins react to the poor or encouraging results over one month?
One reaction is to send Hendrick to AAA and give Diamond a shot. Very reasonable given Hendricks age. Is Diamond the correct choice for the spot? Hard to know. Below is the minors league numbers for Maloney, Diamond, Blackburn and Swarzak. All have significant innings over several years. Based on one month this year, Diamond will get a chance. In his favor, he is left handed and the youngest of the group. He also has a lower hr/9 rate compared to the others. Could be park effects. Howevere, the data represents many innings over several different teams. Should we give up on Maloney based on some poor relief outings? Maybe. Compared to the others, both his k/9 and h/9 in the minors stand out. He is also left handed. On the other hand, he is 2.5 years older than Diamond. Neither Diamond or Maloney's previous organizations had enough confidence in their ability to protect them. Do the Twins keep giving Blackburn starts because of the contract they awarded him? What about giving Swarzak more starts?
In truth, it is likely none of the four should be a major league starter. However if the Twins can find a starter in at least one of these pitchers, they will be better off next year.
Who would you invest the starts in this year? How about Marquis and Liriano? It is unlikely either will be a Twin next year. Should they keep getting starts in hopes of being able to trade them later in the year?