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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?