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Article: Naming Names: Three Starting Pitchers The Twins Should Target

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#1 Thrylos

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 07:55 AM

You can view the page at http://twinsdaily.co...-in-free-agency
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#2 Brandon

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 11:09 AM

Durabilty is important too. if you can't pitch close to 200 innings are4 you really helping the team if Devries has to get called up to fill in for you? That is why Nolasco or an innings eater is a good idea. I do like the pitchers you mentioned too and the Twins should sign one from your list of 3.

#3 spycake

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 11:33 AM

Boston had an option on Lester, and already exercised it.

Volquez seems to have to lowest potential here. Hasn't been above-average (or even just average and healthy for a full season) since 2008. Could be cheap, but probably just wants a one-year, make-good contract anyway. I'd be tempted to put him in the Johan/Halladay longshot flyer division -- not a bad pickup for the Twins, but not necessarily a priority.

I think if the Twins can get a guy or two from your list (excluding Pelfrey and Volquez), I wouldn't mind if they then pursued a decent guy or two not in the list (i.e. Bronson Arroyo) and one of the longshot flyers (Johan/Halladay/Volquez/etc).

#4 Linus

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 11:37 AM

I like the three that you ended up with. I'm not sure about all the love for Phil Hughes at TD. He basically has been Kevin Correia over the last three years only not as durable. If he gets 3 / 33 like some are suggesting is reasonable, then we need to put up a Terry Ryan statue for signing Correia for 2/12.
Two other off the wall thoughts: I think Worley will surprise next year. He's only 25 and has already been a productive big league pitcher. I also would let Swarzak try starting again. I know he struggled before but he has gained a bunch of experience and pitched quite well last year. He could make a Jeff Samardja(sp) type transition from struggling young pitcher to effective bullpen guy to good starter.

#5 jay

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 11:51 AM

Interesting look.

I think you're ignoring a lot of injury history here, which isn't generally great to do when you're talking about long-term deals. Also, K% is a better indicator than K/9, but close enough for this purpose.

Velocity is fun to talk about, but it doesn't guarantee anything. There's obviously correlation between velocity and K-rate, but it's the K-rate that more concretely ties to results. It kind of seems like double dipping to only look at those two variables. Plenty of good starters don't average 92 mph with their FB. I guess I don't understand why we'd want to exclude them?

#6 nicksaviking

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 12:01 PM

I'm interested in those three names, mostly because, as your criteria states, they throw hard and strike guys out.

Thier durability has been brought up but likely only Kazmir gets multi years and most projections only give him two. I wouldn't mind a longer term guy but I'd be happy if those guys were in the 2014 rotation.

The injury stuff doesn't bother me as much though. I guess I look at it differently; sure you could get nothing out of these guys, but even if you only got 140 innings and had to use Albers/Hendriks/Diamond for the other 60 innings, I think 200 IP from a combination of Johnson/AAAA guy is better than one bargain basement innings eater guy throwing 200 innings. The guys they get are usually no better than the AAAA guys anyway.

#7 Thrylos

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 12:13 PM

even if you only got 140 innings and had to use Albers/Hendriks/Diamond for the other 60 innings, I think 200 IP from a combination of Johnson/AAAA guy is better than one bargain basement innings eater guy throwing 200 innings. The guys they get are usually no better than the AAAA guys anyway.


Durabilty is important too. if you can't pitch close to 200 innings are4 you really helping the team if Devries has to get called up to fill in for you? That is why Nolasco or an innings eater is a good idea. I do like the pitchers you mentioned too and the Twins should sign one from your list of 3.


Actually the starting premise is that they need to sign 3 pitchers better than Correia in order to compete. One out of 3 will not work.

Also, durability and injury proneness is a consideration, but one cannot forecast injury. Very important: If someone gets injured, I hope that the pitcher who will pitch those innings would not be Albers/Hendriks/Diamond, but Alex Meyer. This is what teams with a winning philosophy do. They play their best pitchers, no matter how much "experience" they have or how many years of control might miss. Ask the Cardinals and Mr. Wacha.
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#8 Thrylos

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 12:20 PM

Interesting look.

I think you're ignoring a lot of injury history here, which isn't generally great to do when you're talking about long-term deals. Also, K% is a better indicator than K/9, but close enough for this purpose.

Velocity is fun to talk about, but it doesn't guarantee anything. There's obviously correlation between velocity and K-rate, but it's the K-rate that more concretely ties to results. It kind of seems like double dipping to only look at those two variables. Plenty of good starters don't average 92 mph with their FB. I guess I don't understand why we'd want to exclude them?


This was just an exercise looking at free agents who fit these specific 3 criteria.

The reason that pitchers with slow stuff are excluded (from this exercise) is that the Twins and their system are full of them. And if someone does not have a plus fastball, to be a top of the rotation pitcher in a competitive team (this is what we are looking for here) he would need to have two other plus pitches. And that is a very tough order. And that would likely be a junk ball type of pitcher...
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#9 Thrylos

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 12:23 PM

Two other off the wall thoughts: I think Worley will surprise next year. He's only 25 and has already been a productive big league pitcher. I also would let Swarzak try starting again. I know he struggled before but he has gained a bunch of experience and pitched quite well last year. He could make a Jeff Samardja(sp) type transition from struggling young pitcher to effective bullpen guy to good starter.


I like Worley too and I think that it is up to him to get back in shape and improve. Again, I think that the Twins need 3 pitchers better than Correia to compete of whom at least a couple need to be top of the rotation types. Swarzak and Worley are not that and a rotation of Swarzak, Worley, Correia, Gibson, Deduno/Diamond will be one of the same. Swarzak has been very valuable in the pen, why mess with that?
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#10 Linus

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 01:04 PM

I understand the notion of leaving Swarzak alone now that he has figured it out. However, no matter who they target as FA aquisitions there will still be people pitching at the bottom of the rotation that could be improved upon. That's where I hope Worley and Swarzak fit in, not that they would be answer to the top two or three spots in the rotation.

#11 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 01:30 PM

I'm not sure they should target 3 guys, though short term deal guys like Johnson I don't have too much of an issue with. I really think they need to get one guy on a long term deal as someone is going to have to function as a decent placeholder until Berrios/Stewart/etc. come of age. All 3 of your guys will be available for 1 or 2 years. That's nice from a risk standpoint, but the same problem will exist next year.

Also, I think it's a bit too soon to give up on May.

#12 jay

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 01:40 PM

Thier durability has been brought up but likely only Kazmir gets multi years and most projections only give him two. I wouldn't mind a longer term guy but I'd be happy if those guys were in the 2014 rotation.


You're right about the years. What doesn't quite make sense to me is focusing on age as a qualifier because as the article states, "Remember, we are looking not only for 2014, but we are looking beyond", but then the recommended pitchers are only guys that any team would sign short-term. I'm not sure how that fits the "beyond" portion.

#13 Thrylos

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 02:24 PM

You're right about the years. What doesn't quite make sense to me is focusing on age as a qualifier because as the article states, "Remember, we are looking not only for 2014, but we are looking beyond", but then the recommended pitchers are only guys that any team would sign short-term. I'm not sure how that fits the "beyond" portion.


Opinion and not a fact.

I think that all three will get something like 2+1 or 3+1 contracts. Even Correia got a 2 year contact :)
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#14 #24 Sano

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 05:45 PM

Problem with Worley is, drum roll please...
He's too fat. He needs to lay off the donuts (he found Gardy's stash). In 2010 when he made his debut he looked pretty fit, hopefully he starts doing sit ups this offseason to lose some of those donuts (fat).

#15 Oldgoat_MN

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 05:55 PM

I'm still all in on Kazmir.
So much so that I expect someone to remember I wrote this and give me hell if he fails/gets injured for us or any other team.

I really believe he's back.

I'm on a whiskey diet. I've lost 3 days already.


#16 The Wise One

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 08:36 PM

1. Age is an arbitrary thing
2. Average fastball velocity is arbitrary. Movement is a lot more important. Did Hoey blow it by people
3. K/9 >8 is fairly meaningless when the splatter rate of the offerings in between the outs leads to multiple runs. See some of the average era by these people.

#17 Major Leauge Ready

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 08:47 PM

I'm still all in on Kazmir.
So much so that I expect someone to remember I wrote this and give me hell if he fails/gets injured for us or any other team.

I really believe he's back.


Me too. I really don't even know why but I will go down with you if he tanks.

I would love to see Nolasco, Feldman, and Kazmir. That might have even been possible if the damn TV money did not hit this year. If they got two of these three I would consider it a win. They could easily be able to afford Crain and Loney or Morales.

#18 nicksaviking

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 11:34 PM

1. Age is an arbitrary thing
2. Average fastball velocity is arbitrary. Movement is a lot more important. Did Hoey blow it by people
3. K/9 >8 is fairly meaningless when the splatter rate of the offerings in between the outs leads to multiple runs. See some of the average era by these people.


I would trust a strikeout rate much more than an ERA to determine the quality of a pitcher. Strikeouts are hardly meaningless. There are always a few outliers, but check out the strikeout rates of the top pitchers each year, they are usually quite high. The ability to keep the ball out of play is clearly the biggest advantage any pitcher can get.

#19 Jim H

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 11:26 AM

I would trust a strikeout rate much more than an ERA to determine the quality of a pitcher. Strikeouts are hardly meaningless. There are always a few outliers, but check out the strikeout rates of the top pitchers each year, they are usually quite high. The ability to keep the ball out of play is clearly the biggest advantage any pitcher can get.


What you say here is true, most top pitchers have good strikeout rates. What you are replying to is also true, most of those guys with good strikeout rates that are being targeted in free agency weren't very good pitchers in 2013. There is no contradiction, it is easy to get in trouble with these kind of projections if you only focus on one criteria.

Hughes, Liriano, Edwin Jackson and many others have managed good strikeout rates throughout their careers. What they haven't done is been consistently good throughout their careers. While it is true that most top pitchers have good strikeouts rates, the reverse is not true, not all pitchers with good strikeout rates are top pitchers.

#20 nicksaviking

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 12:58 PM

What you say here is true, most top pitchers have good strikeout rates. What you are replying to is also true, most of those guys with good strikeout rates that are being targeted in free agency weren't very good pitchers in 2013. There is no contradiction, it is easy to get in trouble with these kind of projections if you only focus on one criteria.

Hughes, Liriano, Edwin Jackson and many others have managed good strikeout rates throughout their careers. What they haven't done is been consistently good throughout their careers. While it is true that most top pitchers have good strikeouts rates, the reverse is not true, not all pitchers with good strikeout rates are top pitchers.


I didn't claim that strikeouts guarantee positive results but the previous poster discounted them completely. They are however one of the best indicators if only using basic stats. Did any strikeout heavy free agents have a poor year last season?

#21 Brandon

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 03:19 PM

Me too. I really don't even know why but I will go down with you if he tanks.

I would love to see Nolasco, Feldman, and Kazmir. That might have even been possible if the damn TV money did not hit this year. If they got two of these three I would consider it a win. They could easily be able to afford Crain and Loney or Morales.


I am going to go with Nolasco and Kazmir, then maybe Arroyo if they get 3 starters with Feldman as a back up option. The benefit of Kazmir is he is a lefty and only looking for a 2 year deal. Pay an extra 2 million and be done at 2/18 or 2/20. I think we could get Nolasco with a 5 year deal but i dont think the Twins will go over 4. Arroyo will be good for 2 seasons maybe 3. 2/25 or 3/36. Still money for a 1B and back up IF who can play good defense at SS and 3B and a Johan Santana make good contract...

#22 Shane Wahl

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 03:30 PM

Now I realize why Volquez was so sneaky--it's because he's bad. Fantastic in 2008. Declining ever since.

#23 Rosterman

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 04:58 PM

I agree that the Twins need to take a chance on not just one, but perhaps two pitchers who will be on the team for 4-5 seasons (again, you can always trade them). Come the 2015 or 2016 season, you can then get that 1-2 year stop gapper. You don't need the 1-2 year stop gapper now, unless you go totally into the trade after a season mode...which is also a gamble (didn't happen with Pavano or Pelfrey). You also need to see if you can get value up for the likes of Worley, Diamond, Deduno and now in 2014 Correia. Frankly, none of those names I pictures being around in 2016.

#24 howieramone1406390264

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 07:19 PM

I agree that the Twins need to take a chance on not just one, but perhaps two pitchers who will be on the team for 4-5 seasons (again, you can always trade them). Come the 2015 or 2016 season, you can then get that 1-2 year stop gapper. You don't need the 1-2 year stop gapper now, unless you go totally into the trade after a season mode...which is also a gamble (didn't happen with Pavano or Pelfrey). You also need to see if you can get value up for the likes of Worley, Diamond, Deduno and now in 2014 Correia. Frankly, none of those names I pictures being around in 2016.


I think it's safe to say, the Twins will not be adding 2 starting pitchers with 4-5 year contracts, and even safer to say you can not always trade them. As is, I believe our farm system will take care of our starting pitching needs no later than 2017. I look for us to add several mid-range free agents with 2-3 year contracts. If Ryan pulls a rabbit out of his hat, it will be a trade involving some of our prospects in the 5-15 range.

#25 Thrylos

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 07:27 PM

Now I realize why Volquez was so sneaky--it's because he's bad. Fantastic in 2008. Declining ever since.


Define "bad". I bet he would had been the Ace for the Twins in 2013.

Edited by Thrylos, 09 November 2013 - 07:34 PM.

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#26 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 12:00 AM

I like the three that you ended up with. I'm not sure about all the love for Phil Hughes at TD. He basically has been Kevin Correia over the last three years only not as durable. If he gets 3 / 33 like some are suggesting is reasonable, then we need to put up a Terry Ryan statue for signing Correia for 2/12.


We're bullish on Hughes because he is a pretty good pitcher when he's not in Yankee Stadium. That stadium punishes guys like Hughes. Looking at his overall stat line doesn't tell the entire story. Get him out of that park and he could easily be the second coming of Scott Baker.

#27 Shane Wahl

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 12:45 AM

Define "bad". I bet he would had been the Ace for the Twins in 2013.


He had a 5.71 ERA and the worst of it was in San Diego! He has been *bad* for three years and only had one great season to begin with. A career 83 ERA+ is not a good sign. Maybe for much younger pitchers, but not here. No way.

#28 Thrylos

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 08:39 AM

He had a 5.71 ERA and the worst of it was in San Diego! He has been *bad* for three years and only had one great season to begin with. A career 83 ERA+ is not a good sign. Maybe for much younger pitchers, but not here. No way.



ERA? Really?
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#29 TopGunn#22

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 09:49 AM

Thrylos...Great article. This is why we go to Twins Daily, to read a well thought out, well written piece about our favorite baseball team and how they could become fun to watch again (someday). We can all quibble on the specifics...that's what makes this fun, entertaining and educational. I'm intrigued by the premise that the Twins need to bring in 3 guys, and I agree, that whoever they bring in needs to be viewed as our #1, #2 and possibly #3. Meyer, Deduno, Worley, Gibson etc...give us a lot of options but a lot of unknowns. What we do need to do is improve this sorry SP rotation. The best guy to bring in is Tanaka. He fits all the criteria to a "T" but if the Yanks, Dodgers, Red Sox etc...are going all in on him, we will be out bid. It disappoints me to have to accept that, but that's reality. I agree with those who are bullish on Kazmir. Good grief, the Twins couldn't hit him a lick last year. I agree with those who are high on Hughes. Get him out of Yankee Stadium, we could very well get lucky with that. If we start with Kazmir and Hughes we are already 200% better than last year. Who would be #3. Ubaldo would be a terrific signing but our #2 will be pretty high, that's a negative. If you can get a Josh Johnson or Volquez fairly cheaply and leave yourself a little $$$ to add a bat I would give Terry Ryan an "A" for his off season. Since I'm much more accustomed to giving him D's and F's I'll remain skeptical. The Twins FO and the Pohlad's have to know the Twins have lost 50% of their TV audience in the last 3 years. I'm sure the radio audience is even worse. When that starts happening, attendance is set to tank in the not too distant future. If they don't get their #*#@! together this off season even when they young talent comes up, they might not see the interest in their ballclub come back right away. The clock is ticking...

#30 pierre75275

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 01:26 PM

I think the Twins almost HAVE to sign Kazmir. He won't be expensive...per se...and they need a lefthander in the rotation. Im not sold on either Canadian being able to cut it in a lefthander starting role as much as I hope they do. I also would sign Tanaka. Period.He will be expensive. But he wont cost a draft pick and would still be pitching for the next wave. And we could always flip him for prospects down the road unless he really tanked. I would not sign any other pitchers.

Edited by pierre75275, 10 November 2013 - 01:29 PM.