Game Thread, Blue Jays v. Twins May 21 1:10pm
Starters: Happ (5-1, 3.40 ERA) v. Dean (0-1, 4.50 ERA)
1: Pat Dean
So, who is this Pat Dean guy? Let’s take a look at this AAA numbers from 2015 and 2016.
AAA 2015 – ERA 2.82 – H/9 8.5,BB/9 – 1.8, K/9 – 4.9
AAA 2016 – ERA 3.00 – H/9 8.2,BB/9 – 1.8, K/9 – 5.0
The first thing that pops out to me is that K/9. In a full season of AAA last year, Dean struck out 4.9 per 9 innings (for those who don’t know, 4.9 is inordinately low). And this is in AAA! Yikes. This is one of the prime reasons why many people here at Twins Daily didn’t want Dean to be added to the 40 man roster. In my opinion, Dean definitely deserves a cup of coffee in the majors – he did have a great ERA with precise control and three shutouts – I don’t think he belongs in a major league rotation. Dean reminds me of a couple past Twins, namely:
Anthony Swarzak: (career numbers) 4.45 ERA, 9.9 H/9, 2.6 BB/9, 5.6 K/9
Tommy Milone: (career numbers) 4.04 ERA, 9.5 H/9, 2.2 BB/9, 6.5 K/9
Yeah, I think Dean’s numbers might end up like these. Maybe he can hang on as a long reliever, but I don’t think he can do much more than that. But I do hope that he can show some promise for now, as the Twins desperately need whatever pitching they can get.
Does anyone remember the last time the Twins faced J. A. Happ? I didn’t have the time to fact-check this, but I do believe it was last season when he was playing with the Mariners, starting at Target Field. I was actually at the game, and the Twins shelled him for 7 runs over 3.1 innings. Happ gave up home runs to Dozier, Rosario, and Hicks. Eddie Rosario also hit a 2B & 3B and ended up a single short of a cycle. Too bad only Dozier’s with the team right now.
Happ was traded to the Pirates in what I thought was a head-scratching move, but the Pirates coaches are pitching wizards. Happ turned his Mariners 4.64 ERA – 10 Hits/9 – 6.8 K/9 into a 1.85 ERA – 7.4 H/9 – 9.8 K/9. Then he parlayed that success into a multi-year deal with his former team, the Blue Jays. So far Happ has performed pretty well, with a 3.40 ERA – 8.9 H/9 – 5.7 K/9. He’s not throwing quite as many strikeouts right now, but outside of that, he’s a solid starter who’s not going to wow you. The Twins will have their chances to hit off Happ, hopefully like they did last year.
1. Brian Dozier ® 2B
2. Eduardo Nunez ® SS
3. Miguel Sano ® DH
4. Trevor Plouffe ® 3B
5. Byung Ho Park ® 1B
6. Robbie Grossman (S) LF
7. Darin Mastroianni ® RF
8. Kurt Suzuki ® C
9. Danny Santana (S) CF
1. Jose Bautista ® RF
2. Josh Donaldson ® 3B
3. Edwin Encarnacion ® DH
4. Justin Smoak (S) 1B
5. Troy Tulowitzki ® SS
6. Michael Saunders (L) LF
7. Russell Martin ® C
8. Kevin Pillar ® CF
9. Darwin Barney ® 2B
My thoughts: Oh goody, Brian Dozier is back to leading off while batting .208, but at least his OBP is .292. Dozier’s been pretty terrible since July of 2015, and he’s still batting leadoff… I don’t get it.
Joe’s got a day off, and he probably needs it. No complaints there.
Finally, we get an outfield of Grossman-Santana-Mastroianni. Yikes. I’m fine with Grossman getting another start, but Mastro has never shown an ability to hit in the majors. I don’t think he’s suddenly going to start hitting major league hitting.
4: The Twins Bullpen
Ugh. I don’t want to be negative, but I want to take a closer look at the Twins’ bullpen and where their issues are coming from. Let’s take a look at stats from our struggling relievers:
Kevin Jepsen: ERA 4.96 (FIP 4.93), H/9 11, HR/9 1.7, BB/9 2.8, K/9 6.6
Trevor May: ERA 5.14 (FIP 4.76), H/9 9.9 H/9, HR/9 2.1, BB/9 3.9, K/9 12.9
Ryan Pressly: ERA 5.25 (FIP 5.13), H/9 9.8, HR/9 1.5, BB/9 5.3, K/9 9.0
Michael Tonkin: ERA 3.43 (FIP 3.85), H/9 7.7, HR/9 1.3, BB/9 3.0, K/9 10.7
Analyzing these stats, I’m seeing a couple trends here. First off, everyone but Tonkin is giving up too many HRs. May especially. Another problem is with walks – Pressly has been struggling massively with giving up walks, and May’s numbers are troublesome, too. Tonkin’s numbers look fine, but he’s been a disappointment in pressure situations.
I know May, Jepsen, and Pressly can be good relievers. But what’s going on? Have they thrown too many innings/pitches? Does Eddie Guardado have no idea how to coach the bullpen? Was the loss of Glen Perkins this devastating?
5: Not So Fun Fact!
According to Baseball-Reference.com, Brian Dozier has a WAR of 0.2. After one game with the Twins, Robbie Grossman’s WAR is also 0.2.
Anyways, thanks for reading. Enjoy the game and stay classy!