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Front Page: Filling Out the Rotation: Behind Berrios, Dobnak Is Best Internal Candidate for Starting Spot

randy dobnak
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#1 AJ Condon

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Posted 29 October 2019 - 07:30 AM

With the Minnesota Twins’ starting rotation most likely losing some of its pitchers from last season, Randy Dobnak is the best internal option to remain in the rotation with Jose Berrios. Though he didn’t join the team until late in the season, he looked like a viable option for the future.Randy Dobnak was a guy many baseball fans didn’t know about until he was announced the starter of Game 2 of the ALDS. Even at that point, it was his 4.99 Uber rating or beautiful mustache that was getting talked about more than his pitching.

What Dobnak does well

Dobnak relies on four pitches: sinker, curveball, four seamer and changeup. His two favorite pitches are the sinker and curve which he uses 64.4% of the time. His curveball is also his best strikeout and put-away pitch. When throwing the curve, he strikes out batters 50% of the time and puts them away 27.5%.


He doesn’t have an overpowering fastball, which averages 93.4 MPH, but he is able to get batters to chase and whiff at the ball at an above-average rate. His chase rate is 37.8% compared to a league average of 28.3% and a whiff rate of 27.0% compared to a league average of 24.3%. This also helps him set up his curveball for that putout pitch.

Another aspect of Dobnak’s game that is very appealing is his low walk rate. He had a walk rate of 4.2% while league average was 8.3%. Though he does have a below-average strikeout rate, keeping the walks down ensures a lower WHIP, which helps keep runners off the bases. Dobnak also had a LOB% of 77.4 LOB% (league average is 71.43).
Another reason why I think Dobnak should be in the first man in the rotation over the other internal candidates is he's proven capable of going longer in games. In the three games he started, not opened, Dobnak gave up just two earned runs while going at least five innings.

I don’t think there was much surprise that Dobnak didn’t go deeper into games, even though he pitched well enough and seemed able to continue the game. With how he pitched in games he started this season, however he deserves to have the best chance from the internal candidates to have the starting spot.

I asked Twitter who they thought the best candidate was and here are the results:



Please share your thoughts in the comments below, and let me know who you think is the best internal candidate. Not registered? Click here to create an account. To stay up to date, follow Twins Daily on Twitter and Facebook.

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#2 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 29 October 2019 - 09:39 AM

I'd argue that spot is his to lose, and I'm comfortable leaving a spot open to competition between Dobnak and other minor leaguers.

 

I think if they retain Pineda that Graterol will take that spot to start and then move to spot starter/long relief as he will have an innings limit next year...

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#3 TwinkieTownKiller

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Posted 29 October 2019 - 10:14 AM

If Dobnak is our number 5 then the FO has done a pretty good job this offseason. He'll likely never be league average in strikeouts, but he dominates the other two points of the triangle with ground balls and control. It's not a direct comparison, but pitchers like Mike Soroka are an example of proof you can have success with this method despite it being less common in 2019.

 

Dobnak could easily flame out given just the sheer historical context of pitchers with his path to the majors. That being said, his minor league numbers are pretty impressive at least in terms of consistency. There's no reason he can't carve out a nice career as a back end of the rotation starter. He's already shown more at the major league level than any other in house options we have.

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#4 2wins87

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Posted 29 October 2019 - 10:47 AM

Not sure they will be ready to plug Graterol into the rotation on day 1, but I'd much rather see him in the starting rotation long term.

 

I don't see Dobnak being a particularly good starter long term, but his stuff could play up in a bullpen role like Littell's this year.

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#5 DocBauer

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Posted 29 October 2019 - 10:48 AM

Wasn't openly stated if you are simply saying next man up as the roster sits now, or projecting best man up for the 5th rotation spot. I am assuming the latter as...

1] Berrios/Acquisition
2] Acquisition/Berrios
3] Odorizzi
4] Pineda/Acquisition

...would seem logical.

I agree Dobnak makes the most sense at this point as 1st choice for the last spot. His stuff is decent and he knows how to pitch. How good he can become, obviously, is to be determined.

Smeltzer, Thorpe and Graterol will all offer still competition. And all 4 will help at some point. Should also point out that if Pineda is back, we are going to need a couple of these guys the first 30 days or so.
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#6 mikelink45

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Posted 29 October 2019 - 11:32 AM

I hope not.This is a nice story, but I am not buying into him for the long run. I do want him on the roster and if he is number 5 in the rotation I am fine, but I want a World Series appearance and if the cast last year was not good enough Dobnak is not going to raise the level.Graterol has the stuff to dominate and that is what I want in the rotation.  

 

I am not big on the large FA contract - the success of those big payouts is not very good. Just for a refresher read this https://www.sportsca...gs-mlb-history/Pitchers usually do not age well - Verlander is an outlier in this discussion and he is a sure fire HOF pitchers.That being said I am interested in younger FAs who have shown an ability that our pitching coach can work with.

 

 


#7 brvama

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Posted 29 October 2019 - 11:32 AM

If we get league average at #5, then we should have a very good staff. He may not be flashy, nor any of the non-Graterols, but there have been solid success with pitchers with his skill set for years.These guys are young and have learning curve like many of the better prospects (ie, Berrios), but some or all could surprise us and have a good career in MLB. Also I like their “no fear” composition on the mound.

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#8 beckmt

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Posted 29 October 2019 - 11:38 AM

Dobnak to me is a #5 starter on a good to great team.We still need to sign at least 2 starters if not 3.If Dobnak is supposed to be more than a #5 starter,Twins will have another make the playoffs, and depart quickly when we see a team with better pitching.

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#9 Major League Ready

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Posted 29 October 2019 - 12:56 PM

 

I hope not.This is a nice story, but I am not buying into him for the long run. I do want him on the roster and if he is number 5 in the rotation I am fine, but I want a World Series appearance and if the cast last year was not good enough Dobnak is not going to raise the level.Graterol has the stuff to dominate and that is what I want in the rotation.  

 

I am not big on the large FA contract - the success of those big payouts is not very good. Just for a refresher read this https://www.sportsca...gs-mlb-history/Pitchers usually do not age well - Verlander is an outlier in this discussion and he is a sure fire HOF pitchers.That being said I am interested in younger FAs who have shown an ability that our pitching coach can work with.

 

I have looked at the history of FA starters quite closely. It’s true the success rate is low but we can’t rely completely on our farm system. What are the options? I have not examined trades for well-established SPs as closely but I don’t think the success rate there is any higher. Plus, those trades cost a king’s ransom in prospects. It’s just a different form of risk and there are lots of examples where the team getting prospects comes out waaaay ahead in the long-run. 

 

The Twins young core has positioned them to be able to afford FA pitching even given our modest revenue compared to top markets. The next wave of prospects should allow the team to get even better within a payroll structure the team can afford. 

Cole is a real longshot. I think Wheeler is the key. They need to land him. There are enough options for another starter that would be our #3 that we should be able to have at least 3 very good SPs.

 

Young and FA pitcher rarely go together. Who would that be this year? .

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#10 jkcarew

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Posted 29 October 2019 - 03:22 PM

"...Randy Dobnak is the best internal option to remain in the rotation with Jose Berrios."

 

Even if you disagree...the fact that this is even arguable should scare all Twins fans...and hopefully, it will scare the FO just as much.

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#11 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 29 October 2019 - 04:08 PM

 

I have looked at the history of FA starters quite closely. It’s true the success rate is low but we can’t rely completely on our farm system. What are the options? I have not examined trades for well-established SPs as closely but I don’t think the success rate there is any higher. Plus, those trades cost a king’s ransom in prospects. It’s just a different form of risk and there are lots of examples where the team getting prospects comes out waaaay ahead in the long-run. 

 

The Twins young core has positioned them to be able to afford FA pitching even given our modest revenue compared to top markets. The next wave of prospects should allow the team to get even better within a payroll structure the team can afford. 

Cole is a real longshot. I think Wheeler is the key. They need to land him. There are enough options for another starter that would be our #3 that we should be able to have at least 3 very good SPs.

 

Young and FA pitcher rarely go together. Who would that be this year? .

Woah... you're arguing to spend... I like it :)

 

I think Cole should be the shot personally, but I wouldn't complain if they got Wheeler. I think I'd rather target MadBum personally as I'm not nearly as confident in Wheeler, but to be fair, I'm guessing the FO has much more data than we do. 

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#12 mikelink45

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Posted 29 October 2019 - 04:29 PM

 

I have looked at the history of FA starters quite closely. It’s true the success rate is low but we can’t rely completely on our farm system. What are the options? I have not examined trades for well-established SPs as closely but I don’t think the success rate there is any higher. Plus, those trades cost a king’s ransom in prospects. It’s just a different form of risk and there are lots of examples where the team getting prospects comes out waaaay ahead in the long-run. 

 

The Twins young core has positioned them to be able to afford FA pitching even given our modest revenue compared to top markets. The next wave of prospects should allow the team to get even better within a payroll structure the team can afford. 

Cole is a real longshot. I think Wheeler is the key. They need to land him. There are enough options for another starter that would be our #3 that we should be able to have at least 3 very good SPs.

 

Young and FA pitcher rarely go together. Who would that be this year? .

Great response.That is my question too.Who is young enough to not be on the back end of their career like Archer and Kershaw?How do we find a 24 - 29 year old who needs just a few adjustments to move up as an excellent starter?

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#13 mikelink45

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Posted 29 October 2019 - 04:32 PM

 

Woah... you're arguing to spend... I like it :)

 

I think Cole should be the shot personally, but I wouldn't complain if they got Wheeler. I think I'd rather target MadBum personally as I'm not nearly as confident in Wheeler, but to be fair, I'm guessing the FO has much more data than we do. 

Wheeler and Odorizzi are the best two options behind Cole and I would be happy if we sign both.

 

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#14 Richard Swerdlick

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Posted 31 October 2019 - 05:16 PM

How can you not love Devin Smeltzer's life story. Still to me he seems like the 2nd coming of Tommy Milone.

#15 mikelink45

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Posted 31 October 2019 - 07:10 PM

Randy was a nice story.If he is in the rotation we have not done enough.

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#16 h2oface

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Posted 01 November 2019 - 02:53 AM

Thinking that Dobnak is the best internal option for the 2019 rotation is like thinking Diamond was going to progress. Same with Smeltzer. I still can't believe he started game 2 of the ALDS instead of Odorizzi. Or that he started a plyoff game, at all! If that is what happens, then the FO will have failed us when it comes to pitching, just like they did this year. Depth. OK. The first options? It makes me cringe.

Edited by h2oface, 01 November 2019 - 02:55 AM.




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