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Article: Building for Primetime

taylor rogers blake parker trevor may ryne harper
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#21 segagenesisgenius

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 07:49 AM

"After completing a dominant sweep in Anaheim, they have the best record and second-best run differential in baseball."

 

After the full night's action and the Astros surprising loss, the Twins are actually currently tied for the best run differential in baseball!

 

Darn Austin Adams, ruining our chances at independently having the best run differential in baseball....


#22 Alex Schieferdecker

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 08:00 AM

What I've enjoyed seeing from the Twins is that they are showing a lot of trust in guys who few other teams would've trusted—and it's paying off. 

 

Harper, whose first outing was a shaky appearance with a big lead against Cleveland, has settled in and has gotten consistently more important assignments. Same with Magill, May, and Morin, who have all been worked in very nicely. I expect we'll see the same for Duffey in the coming weeks, as he has aced his early tests.

 

Add to those five the reliable work of Rogers and Parker, and the Twins seem to have seven guys who have earned the trust of the manager. As you write, depth is essential now, and that's really the one thing we haven't had, because for every pleasant surprise like Harper, Morin, or Duffey, we've had a guy we were hoping to count on go bad, like Hildenberger, Reed, or Moya. Who are the eighth, ninth, and tenth guys?

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#23 nicksaviking

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 08:11 AM

 

25 year old Cody Stashak's numbers at AA:2.05 ERA, 0.727 WHIP, 14.3 K/9, 0.8 BB/9.He should replace Mr Adams tomorrow, however I think that this 28 year old teammate of his is next in line (ignore the inaccuracies in that write up.)

 

Also, I will really be surprised if Kimbrel is not a Twin in 2 weeks and a day or two (after the draft.)

 

Trevor May is clearly my biggest disappointment in the pen this season.I thought that he broke though last season. 

 

They also need an ace to be relevant during the post-season, but that will have to come in a trade.

 

Yup, Cody Stashak's my guy, and he's being groomed as a multi-inning guy too. He shouldn't be in AA right now

 

Going externally, I think my top priority would be a starter over a reliever (though I'd take some of both). Mostly because I think Pineda's 4-seam/slider combo might play pretty good in the bullpen and shaving his outings down to 1 or 2 innings, he might end up being a better bullpen upgrade than what's available in trade.

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#24 mike8791

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 08:32 AM

This is why I read your postings, Nick.You are a realist and support your arguments with facts rather than just opinions!As you noted, the window is wide open, Twins' fans are giddy and yet there is cause for concern, especially if we take the leap of faith that this is a playoff-bound team.No, this is not a slam dunk, but the not-so-surprising "collapse" by Cleveland(I for one wouldn't be surprised to see the Sox replace the Indians as the Twins principal competitor the rest of the season) and an 8 game lead certainly gives even the most ardent naysayers plenty of room for optimism.

 

Based on results to date, we would certainly expect the FO to cast at least one eye towards the playoffs.With this thought in mind(hopefully), and with a paucity of reliable backend relievers(two at most as of now), is it too much to ask for the FO to recognize this need if they are to surpass the Ryan-led playoff teams in playoff success?Two late-inning shutdown relievers are a must if we are to have any success going deep into October.Kimbrel is a given, yet I personally don't think Falvine will outbid what is sure to be a list of suitors after the draft.Hope I'm wrong, but this still remains in my eyes a risk-averse group.Yes, they have done well this past offseason on the offensive side, and the rotation is certainly better than expected, but they have been derelict in their duties for counting on a bunch of castoffs and AAAA players to fill a bullpen.The window is wide open, the organizational depth gives them sufficient tradable assets and if they refuse to bid high on Kimbrel, they must get creative in the trading market.There is no dearth of good relievers on teams that have no chance of competing this year.Yes, it might be more difficult in May/June than nearer the deadline, but now is when they should be agressive in going after two difference makers to solidify a still questionnable pen.

 

And looking ahead to October, does anyone truly feel comfortable with Berrios as our Game 1 starter?I sure don't; in fact, right now Odorizzi is steadier, but is he going to maintain this pace in the playoffs?He could, but I'd hate to count on that happening.The FO shouldn't either, which is why landing a playoff-experienced pitcher should be second on their wish list.Not necessarily now, but as we approach 7/31, some studs will likely be available, e.g., Baumgartner, maybe Greinke, or even Thor(unlikely).  

 

Summing up, Falvine should not be complacent here if their goal is the World Series. This is not an unreasonable goal given what we've seen, but there are some obvious holes to fill if those expectations are to be met.Let us hope the FO is as realistic as Nick and is at this moment burning up the trade wires.Chances like this occur very infrequently.Good managment should do everything possible to capitalize.

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#25 LA VIkes Fan

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 09:17 AM

We're all saying the same thing - the risk issue with this Twins team is the lack of pitching depth. Who's the 6th, 7th and 8th starters? Stewart, Smeltzer and Mejia? A little scary. Who are the 8th, 9th and 10threlievers? Ahhh, Stashak, um ,well there's..., no not him, hmmmm, not him either...Add the fact that what we really need is a 3rd and 4th reliever, that's REALLY scary. 

 

Who can/should we get? Look to San Francisco. They stink, need younger position players, and have some decent bullpen arms. Offer Cave, Raley, Rooker, Gordon, Wade, Littel, etc. - some combination of minor leaguers ready for MLB action and development that doesn't include Lewis, Kiriloff, Arreaz, Graterol, Alcala or Smeltzer. Target Will Smith, Trevor Gott, or Sam Dyson.Hell, even the aged Mark Meloncon or Tony Watson could help. I'd even think about a decent prospect for Nick Vincent. The fantasy is one of these guys plus Baumgarner but I don't see that happening - MadBum wants a big long term contract, is in his last year on the one he has, and is beginning to decline. He would just be the least attractive kind of a rental - a guy you have no chance of keeping that will have a big prospect cost. 

 

Who else is there? Anyone good in the Miami, Baltimore, Cincinnati or Washington bullpen? Those teams are already all but out of it and need to start a rebuild or add to one in progress and might be interested in our now surplus positions players. Kimbrel? Love the fantasy but he wants length - 5 years or more. He's waited this long to get past the compensatory pick deadline and he isn't going to settle for a 2 or 3 year deal now.Too much long term risk for a guy that Boston didn't want. 

 

I'll end on a question or two. What would you have called today's Cave, Gordon, Wade, Romero and Littel on the Twins 5 year ago roster? Starters playing every day or in the rotation. What do you call them on this team? MiLB depth we can trade without regret for talent that helps now. Isn't that fun to contemplate?

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#26 rdehring

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 09:55 AM

Perhaps the most beautiful words you have ever written, Nick:"The future is now."

 

But like everyone, I am hopeful the bullpen will be stronger come July than it is today.  

 

A strength of this team seems to be its chemistry.Expect the FO will have to be very careful when adding a reliever, whether via trade or Kimbrel, by asking how they fit?  

 

I am hopeful, however, that part of the solution is already in the organization.Could it be someone already in the pen who takes that next step to dominance, perhaps May or Duffey?Or someone from the minors that comes up and provides that spark.On that front two possibilities are Romero and Graterol, should he be moved to the pen.Could that have been part of the reason for his appearance at Target Field yesterday?Then there is Hildenberger, who has been very good over the past couple years.  

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#27 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 10:17 AM

 

I'm not sure if panic is the right word or if urgent is the right description. 

 

It's really hard to panic or think urgently in such great times. 

 

However... I am absolutely sure that if he we lost a starter and had to rely on the bullpen more to cover for the loss of the starter.  

 

Panic and Urgent will be closer to the right word. 

 

That's why I said we should get a reliever now :)

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#28 Doomtints

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 10:18 AM

Right now, the team OPS+ is 125 and the team ERA+ is 116.

 

Pitching depth is a concern, esp. the bullpen, but right now if you are a front office you let the team keep rolling and don't change anything.

Edited by Doomtints, 24 May 2019 - 10:30 AM.

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#29 strumdatjaguar

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 11:40 AM

I'm hopeful that the Twins can find something in their minor league system to bolster their bullpen.They need one more stud. Maybe Romero or Graterol can be that stud.I'm having having visions of Matt Capps in my nightmares, 


#30 Danchat

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 12:03 PM

I'm hopeful that the Twins can find something in their minor league system to bolster their bullpen. They need one more stud. Maybe Romero or Graterol can be that stud. I'm having having visions of Matt Capps in my nightmares,

Just because the Capps trade happened doesn’t mean they shouldn’t ever attempt to trade for a reliever again. Not to mention this FO is way different than it was back then.

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#31 tarheeltwinsfan

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 12:41 PM

 

Dusten Knight was released by Pensacola three weeks ago, and is now in the Mexican League. I don't know why.

Maybe the Twins "flipped" him for another player.

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#32 Riverbrian

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 05:58 PM

 

I agree with this, but then this is true for all teams.If Aroldis Chapman goes down, the Yankees playoff odds would take a massive hit. I'm not sure the Bosox would have won the World Series last year without Kimbrel.The Astos would probably have a few more losses if it weren't for Pressly.

 

Otherwise, in general, when I looked this up before, playoff teams on average need around 30 starts from outside of their top 5 pitchers.Basically, they need to plan for functionally a full season's worth of starts going to another pitcher.Another way to look at that is that if you need MORE than one season's worth of starts outside of your top five, you are statistically very unlikely to make it into the playoffs.I mean, what team can withstand trying to replace two of their opening day rotation pitchers?

 

As such, my priority is for the twins to patch their current holes, have a contingency plan or two for key positions, and then plan for health, because if you aren't healthy you aren't winning it all anyway. 

 

What you say is true if teams allow it to be true. I'm too far gone on the depth kick to change now.:)

 

The Yankees for example... if they lost Chapman... Still have Britton, Ottovino, Kahnle, Green and Betances if healthy to pick up the slack. The Twins if they lose Rogers... They have Parker, May, Harper and ??? 

 

Speaking of Betances... the Yankees are an example of what I'm talking about. Take a look at their DL... they are building an entire new wing on the hospital to house the patients. 

 

5 Starters on the DL. Paxton, Sabathia, Severino, Montgomery and Loaisiga. They have a rotation of 3 currently and are relying on 40% bullpen games just to get through and it's working because they have that bullpen that can absorb the loss of Betances and the loss of Chapman if it should happen. It ain't much better with the position players either. Judge, Stanton, Gregorious, Andujar, Bird, Tulowitski and Ellsbury are all on the DL. 

 

The Yankees have a current record of 32-17. It's a myth that you have to die when injuries occur. Depth can keep you alive but you have to prepare for the possibility by committing to depth and creating it. 

 

I don't doubt your research and I appreciate and respect the points you are making but the times are changing and baseball has been locked into a 5 man rotation come hell or high water for decades now and I'm not sure if that traditional model applies anymore. 

 

The Dodgers reached the World Series when every single one of their starters spent significant time on the DL. 

 

The Brewers almost reached the World Series with one starter and a damn good bullpen. 

 

The 2018 and 2019 Rays are an example that can't be discounted. 

 

There are new ways to skin a cat. 

 

Pressly has been awesome this year... But the Astros also have Osuna, Rondon, Harris, Devenski, James and Valdez. 

 

The Red Sox... it is not my intention to diminish the value or talent of Kimbrel... I'd be all smiles if the Twins signed him but... when you say "I'm not sure that the Red Sox would win the series without Kimbrel". You are placing a lot of value on someone who threw 10.2 innings in the playoffs and coughed up 7 runs. I'd be more inclined to make that statement and apply it to Eovaldi or Steve Pearce who the Red Sox picked up at bargain prices at the trade deadline.

 

In total... I'm more inclined to say that the Red Sox made the playoffs and won the World Series because they had depth.

14 Position players made significant contributions during the regular season.

8 starters started more than 10 games... 6 were above average... 1 was average and 1 was bad (Pomeranz).

12 Bullpen arms pitched in a significant amount of games over the course of the season and of that dozen... only one (Thornburg) would have been classified as bad.  

 

It is my strong opinion and many can attest that I've been unbending, unabashed and frequent expressing it. Depth and flexibility is the silver bullet. If a team doesn't have the ability to cover for injuries and poor performance... it is the fault of the front office and it can be avoided.:)

 

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#33 Riverbrian

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 06:09 PM

 

 

 

As such, my priority is for the twins to patch their current holes, have a contingency plan or two for key positions, and then plan for health, because if you aren't healthy you aren't winning it all anyway. 

 

BTW... Great Post. 

 

My Priority is for the Twins to find 25 players who can play and play them all. They have done what I have been asking for all off-season with the position players... I have depth and flexibility so I have no complaints.

 

Now I'd like them to turn their attention to the depth of the pitching staff. We will have injuries... it's only a matter of time. I'm not sure what the answer is or will be... but this team can win it all so they will need to have an answer. Laying down and dying will not be acceptable. 

 

I'll bet money right now that the Indians will be selling at the deadline. They already dipped that toe... they will finish the plunge into those waters. The White Sox are young, The Tigers and Royals are just starting the rebuild. Our offense can compete with any offense... Go get some depth on the mound.:)

 

 

 

 

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#34 jkcarew

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 06:41 PM

“(Graterol’s) been absurdly dominant in Double-A.”

It’s a narrative that is getting kinda out of hand. Is he doing really well...great for a 20 year old? Yes. Meanwhile, Smeltzer, Poppen, Alcala all have better FIP and K/9 at Pensacola as starters. And then there’s Stashak. Graterol’s ERA benefiting from unsustainably low BABiP. So, if we’re going to continue with the Graterol is dominant in AA narrative we at least need to acknowledge the other ‘dominant’ performers there.

#35 DocBauer

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 07:22 PM

First, another great and realistic article Nick.

I'd like to break down my thoughts in 3 parts:

Injuries: They happen. We've had a couple already, though not severe, but the player roster clearly has depth and versatility.

Personally, I DO believe that MOST teams would feel a real crunch if a top arm went down. Yes, you try to and need to build and provide depth. To compare the Twins to the Yankees or Dodgers is a bit of a tough pill to swallow, however. Those teams need do their diligence, but they generally have more $ available, period, to take shots/chances on guys. That doesnt mean the Twins cant improve their depth, however!

So let's move to the primary 2 points:

Rotation: Pineda has a solid history, and is showing signs of improving and returning to more "normal" production. There is no problem with him as the 5th SP, IMO. He'd be the Twins #3 starter most of the past 5 years or so.

Part of the hope here remains in AAA. I say that because the team likes something about Stewart, and he did look decent his last Twins start. Gonsalves is finally back, opinions vary on his future. Despite some inconsistencies, most believe Thorpe will be at least a solid rotation piece. I am holding out some belief on Smeltzer at this time, but we may have found something there. On the radio yesterday, not sure who was in the booth, but they were talking about some things they told him to work on before the start of the season. He seems to have listened.

This is not all daisies and songbirds. This is to suggest that if someone goes down at some point, if we are OK until say July, we may have a decent/solid arm or two to call up and fill in.

I am not saying dont get someone. But realistically, unless we are all being fooled, Pineda, our #5 SP, would technically be the guy replaced. We are talking a healthy pricetag to acquire a 1-3 rotation arm.

Bullpen: There is no denying what the pen has done so far. We can debate the FO plans/Hope's for Reed, Hildy, Mejia and Romero. What we cant deny is poor results. The good news part is Mejia and Romero are young and have live arms. Could either or both still be ready come July 1st? Fortunately, there is still time to see.

I am disappointed in May thus far, but not giving up. I've seen too much to like to do so. Again, I dont know who, but someone was talking on the radio the other day that they may have been focusing too much on a couple of pitches instead of letting him use all of his stuff. We shall see. I dont know if I'm still counting on him, but I haven't given up.

Regardless, and no matter how well this pen has done, sustainability is the issue. There is a real chance Magill's stuff is for real and he can be a useful piece. It's also very possible Harper and his incredible mix of curves and changes of speed can continue to be effective. Its is also possible Johnson's work with Duffey, and his new velocity to work with his CB could allow him to turn a corner. But as Nick states, to buy in to all of that is a fool's errand.

What this team/bullpen needs is a reverse Pressly deal. (And please, let's not re-hash the same arguement about something that has already happened). There is enough depth in this system to give up a couple really good prospects without touching certain elite prospects to bring in a quality pen arm, hopefully with an additional year of control.

Further, if we can wait until July, we not only have a little more time to work with what is on hand, but by then a few more teams may simply decide they are out of contention and be willing to sell. Yes, there could be additional teams looking. But a couple of this teams, barring injury, may not be as anxious to add to their already solid/expensive pen.

To sum up, add a high quality BP arm around July 1 to strengthen and deepen the pen with Parker and Rogers. By that time, not only could May settle in, but one more arm could rise up. Depth could/should very easily come from all the other names mentioned.

I'm still a bit uneasy about adding a rotation piece, and at what cost. Despite the window/door being wide open, the fit has to be right. I want to win as much as anyone. But if it takes Lewis, Kirilloff or Graterol for a rental, just not sure I could do that.

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#36 Doomtints

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 07:26 PM

Graterol being only 20 years old and already at AA is huge. Him dominating at that level is more huge. And yes I would call what he is doing out of the ordinary to put it mildly.

 

I was unaware FIP existed for the minor leagues, but Graterol's 3.14 FIP seems impressive if FIP is your thing.

 

His low BABIP is an artifact of his dominance of right handed batters who ground out or hit weak pop flies to the infield. Lefties have a completely normal BABIP against him. I read an article some time ago that showed that "aces" are good because they induce more of weak infield outs than other pitchers do.

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#37 Darius

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Posted 25 May 2019 - 04:19 AM

There is no doubt in my mind that this bullpen is going to cost this team at some point. There will come a time, whether regular or postseason, that we’ll need to win a game 2-1, 3-2, etc. I don’t feel good if anyone in the pen, aside from Rogers, coming into a late-inning tight score situation against the Astros or healthy Yankee squad. Not one guy outside of Rogers.

This team needs to address the bullpen yesterday, IMO. What are they waiting for?
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#38 Kelly Vance

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Posted 26 May 2019 - 10:37 AM

 

"After completing a dominant sweep in Anaheim, they have the best record and second-best run differential in baseball."

 

After the full night's action and the Astros surprising loss, the Twins are actually currently tied for the best run differential in baseball!

 

Darn Austin Adams, ruining our chances at independently having the best run differential in baseball....

You said that with a big Paul Bunyan smile, I bet.Yeah, we are all smiling these days.May stats don't really matter though, do they. Its nice to have a nice start, but that's all it is. Still, its been so long since the Twins fielded a dominant lineup that its nice to be able to criticize the tiniest little things. 

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#39 USAFChief

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Posted 26 May 2019 - 11:02 AM

May stats don't really matter. Its nice to have a nice start, but that's all it is. Adams is a keeper

wasnt Adam's DFA'd?
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