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Article: Twins Still Have Room For Pitching

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#1 Thrylos

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 07:43 AM

You can view the page at http://twinsdaily.co...nd-myth-busting
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#2 beckmt

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 08:36 AM

Agreed. A number of pitchers on the Twins 40 man roster are AAA filler. This will hopefully be remedied by the end of 2014. I will consider it a better roster when the likes of Diamond, Albers, Darnell, Kris Johnson and others of this type do not have to be on the roster. One of these might work out, but it remains to be seen. Relief pitchers will be rotated out, but did not see and pitchers that stood out as should not be on the roster.

#3 gil4

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 08:37 AM

Pitchers with options but likely to be on the 25-man roster:

Casey Fien (RHRP)
Caleb Thielbar (LHRP)


Pitchers with options but with a good shot to make the 25-man roster:

Kyle Gibson (RHSP)


Now we're up to 14 from which to select 12 (and likely expose 1 or 2 to waivers.) I guess if Deduno starts on the DL and Gibson starts in AAA, then we're down to 12 pretty easily.

Are there any guys who might make the 25-man that are not on the 40-man right now?

#4 jorgenswest

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 10:00 AM

Of the 8 pitchers in group A and B, there are 4 that have little upside for the long term.

Pelfrey, Correia, Duensing and Swarzak should not be blocking the Twins from developing and investing innings into starters under team control. These starters will be critical to the long term health of the staff.

The Twins stepped up and spent some money. They also need to be willing to eat that money when a short term player is performing at a mediocre level.

The log jam moves from myth to reality when mediocre pitchers are chosen for the short term over giving consistent innings to a younger (likely to be struggling) starter of the future.

#5 drock2190

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 10:12 AM

Don't forget the pen was overworked because of bad starts by the starters.

#6 Don't Feed the Greed Guy

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 10:37 AM

Great acticle, Thrylos, especially myth #2. Way to go, Mythbuster! I expect a lot of this apparent "logjam" will wash out and untangle as the tides rise during Spring Training. It'll play itself out on the field.

#7 Thrylos

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 10:47 AM

Don't forget the pen was overworked because of bad starts by the starters.


I answered a similar question in the original blog. People say that the pen was "overworked" because it logged the most innings in the majors (by a hair btw). However this is deceptive. Here is why:

Actually the correct measurement for overworking a pen is not total innings, but IP/appearance because if a pen has used 10 different pitchers to pitch 400 innings would result to more tired pitchers than if used 15 different pitchers to pitch 420 innings, correct?

As far as IP/Appearance goes, if you round down to one decimal (more decimals does not make sense), you will see that pretty much the whole league is at the same place:

Astros 1.2
Pirates 1.2
Athletics 1.1
Blue Jays 1.1
Mariners 1.1
Marlins 1.1
Nationals 1.1
Padres 1.1
Rockies 1.1
Royals 1.1
Twins 1.1
Yankees 1.1
Angels 1.0
Braves 1.0
Brewers 1.0
Cardinals 1.0
Cubs 1.0
Diamondbacks 1.0
Dodgers 1.0
Giants 1.0
Indians 1.0
Mets 1.0
Philies 1.0
Rangers 1.0
Rays 1.0
Reds 1.0
Tigers 1.0
White Sox 1.0

I think that the difference of 0.2 innings in spread (less than a batter faced) is insignificant for the amount of innings pitched...

There goes another myth about "tired pens..."
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#8 cmathewson

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 10:55 AM

It will play itself out on the field. But I wouldn't want to ad more pitching at this point, unless it is a huge bargain for a clear upgrade.
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#9 John Bonnes

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 11:00 AM

It will play itself out on the field. But I wouldn't want to ad more pitching at this point, unless it is a huge bargain for a clear upgrade.


I'd agree with one letter change:

I wouldn't want to ad more pitching at this point, unless it is a huge bargain or a clear upgrade.

#10 SpiritofVodkaDave

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 11:03 AM

I'd agree with one letter change:

I wouldn't want to ad more pitching at this point, unless it is a huge bargain or a clear upgrade.


Agreed.

Johan, Garza, Tanaka, Bailey are the only ones I am truly interested in at this point.

No thanks to the Arroyos of the world.

#11 Wookiee of the Year

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 11:26 AM

I answered a similar question in the original blog. People say that the pen was "overworked" because it logged the most innings in the majors (by a hair btw). However this is deceptive. Here is why:

Actually the correct measurement for overworking a pen is not total innings, but IP/appearance because if a pen has used 10 different pitchers to pitch 400 innings would result to more tired pitchers than if used 15 different pitchers to pitch 420 innings, correct?

As far as IP/Appearance goes, if you round down to one decimal (more decimals does not make sense), you will see that pretty much the whole league is at the same place:

Isn't this slightly deceptive, too, because it doesn't factor in how many rest days relief pitchers are afforded? I have no idea how often Twins relief pitchers were called upon to pitch two or three days in a row--maybe it was league average or so, too--but I would think that has to factor into the equation for a "tired bullpen."

#12 halfchest

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 11:51 AM

Isn't this slightly deceptive, too, because it doesn't factor in how many rest days relief pitchers are afforded? I have no idea how often Twins relief pitchers were called upon to pitch two or three days in a row--maybe it was league average or so, too--but I would think that has to factor into the equation for a "tired bullpen."



Agreed, it's not as simple as the IP/appearance. Maybe it should go on, how many innings each reliever pitched in comparison to the league (probably have to include minors). As well as how many innings our starters averaged. The bullpen consisted of 8 core contributors, Perkins, Burton, Fien, Swarzak, Pressly, Roenicke, Duensing, and Thielbar. Then there was about 20 innings or so spread out among other pitchers. I'm not going to do the math but that's a lot of work on just 8 guys for the most part.

I think Thyrlos makes a good point that our pen wasn't great but rather average. I was surprised by his numbers up there. Some of it sure is probably due to being somewhat overworked. Just watching them compared to other years, it seemed like they were pitching a lot more. I'm not going to do the legwork to back my point up because I honestly don't care. Thyrlos points still stands, there's room for improvement in the bullpen as well and we dont' have quite the massive logjam some of us including myself had thought.

I think we can in addition to the points he made expect that 2 of these guys end up on the DL to begin the year making more room. Deduno already sounds like he's unlikely to start the year out healthy and it's pretty safe to assume either performance or injury will land someone else there by the end of spring training.

#13 TheLeviathan

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 12:03 PM

I'm not sure having three starters in the bullpen constitutes a way around the logjam....didn't you just shift it to the pen in that scenario? I doubt all of these guys are going to shift well into being an effective short inning pitcher.

Not to mention, I worry about when we transition these starters into short inning roles. Are they just going to go from failed ST starter to bullpen guy in a week? From Liriano to Slowey we haven't seen that always go well.

If we're going to add more, I'm with Bonnes and his phrasing.

#14 Siehbiscuit

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 12:09 PM

I think that total innings is not the most accurate way to determine a "tired pen," but innings per appearance isn't the most accurate either.

Example: If the Tigers starters go 7 innings at least 5 (out of 6) games per week. Three of those games only the setup and closer pitch as they were save situations (1.0). The other two two other relievers split the last two innings as well (1.0 IP/app). The last game the starter only went 4 innings and 5 relievers split the last 5 inning of mop up duty. 5 relievers at 1 IP each still equals 1.0 IP/app. 15 innings split by 12-13 relievers. Total # of appearences is low and results in a pretty well-rested bullpen. Having good starting pitchers (even innings eaters) will help a bullpen be more rested.

Conversely, the Twins starters average over 6 games in a normal week is 5 innings per game, but three times the starter didn't make it out of or thru the fourth. That leaves roughly 5 innings per day that the bullpen had to pick up. So let's say that's 15 innings for 9 guys to cover (minus the setup guys and Perkins) in these mop-up ballgames. The other three games the Twins starters may go 7, like the Tigers, and only use a setup guy and Perkins each game (1.0). This week the Twins used 19 innings by the bullpen that was split between 12-13 pitchers, it may not seem like a lot of extra taxing on the arms if you break it down, but the overall appearances and daily use adds up.

These are to extreme examples, but total innings is important, as are individual appearances. Look at the total number of innings that Swarzak had to eat this year due to starters not being able to go very deep. Swarzak was very valuable to our bullpen. Warming up consistently because you MIGHT have to go in everyday isn't getting put in the IP category, but due to the starters inconsistency our bullpen sure had to "warm up" a lot.

Edited by Siehbiscuit, 02 January 2014 - 12:12 PM.


#15 adjacent

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 12:35 PM

This is a very good point. Extremely short starts (4 innings or less) not only tires more the bullpen, but also exposes the worst part of it. Either the designated long man is overworked, or the worse pitchers in the bullpen have to eat more innings, even in situations where the game is still "close".

#16 Kwak

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 01:16 PM

The many short starts caused the bullpen to expand from 6 to 8. Those two roster spots come at the expense of position players. This pretty much eliminates the possibility of platooning players and makes pitch-hitting/running quite iffy. Add to this mess the "need" for three catchers and we find that catchers have to play other position(s)--generally not to MLB standards for that position.

#17 cmathewson

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 01:23 PM

The Twins wouldn't keep 13 pitchers unless they absolutely had to. They kept 13 pitchers for almost the entire second half last year. They also kept a third catcher for much of that time, because 200 pitches a game is not just hard on the pitching staff. Catchers suffer as well. That leaves a two-man bench for actual hitters. Pathetic.
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#18 ashburyjohn

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 01:31 PM

because 200 pitches a game is not just hard on the pitching staff.


In fairness, in such a game only about 150 ever make it to the catcher. :)

#19 edavis0308

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 01:49 PM

I'm in agreement here that IP/Appearance doesn't get you what you need. For every LOOGY getting one out or Perkins getting a cheap save, its canceling out every Swarzak 4IP type outing. It would make more sense to compare bullpens by straight up IP, or even total pitch count.

EDIT: Here is a link to the reliever IP and pitch count on Fangraphs

http://www.fangraphs...ers=0&sort=12,d

http://www.fangraphs...ers=0&sort=13,d

Edited by edavis0308, 02 January 2014 - 01:56 PM.


#20 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 06:15 PM

I answered a similar question in the original blog. People say that the pen was "overworked" because it logged the most innings in the majors (by a hair btw). However this is deceptive. Here is why:

Actually the correct measurement for overworking a pen is not total innings, but IP/appearance because if a pen has used 10 different pitchers to pitch 400 innings would result to more tired pitchers than if used 15 different pitchers to pitch 420 innings, correct?

As far as IP/Appearance goes, if you round down to one decimal (more decimals does not make sense), you will see that pretty much the whole league is at the same place:

Astros 1.2
Pirates 1.2
Athletics 1.1
Blue Jays 1.1
Mariners 1.1
Marlins 1.1
Nationals 1.1
Padres 1.1
Rockies 1.1
Royals 1.1
Twins 1.1
Yankees 1.1
Angels 1.0
Braves 1.0
Brewers 1.0
Cardinals 1.0
Cubs 1.0
Diamondbacks 1.0
Dodgers 1.0
Giants 1.0
Indians 1.0
Mets 1.0
Philies 1.0
Rangers 1.0
Rays 1.0
Reds 1.0
Tigers 1.0
White Sox 1.0

I think that the difference of 0.2 innings in spread (less than a batter faced) is insignificant for the amount of innings pitched...

There goes another myth about "tired pens..."


It's not about a tired pen, it's about how if you continually find yourself digging into the minors for a seventh or eighth reliever, you're not going to be calling up your best bullpen arms. In fact, a lot of the time you'll be calling up pure crap (Jeff Gray logged how many innings for the Twins?).

In Burton, Fein, Perkins, Swarzak, Thielbar, and Duensing, the Twins have a solid bullpen core. That's six guys. Add in a guy like Pressley or Tonkin and you're probably looking at a pretty good pen if the starters aren't awful, forcing the Twins to reach back and call up pitchers who either aren't very good or aren't ready.

#21 IronMike

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 07:22 PM

When I check ERA for Twins on MLB.com I come up with an ERA of 3.50 which is 14 of 30. That also places them 5 of 15 in the AL. WHIP 1.22 which shows 6 of 30 (3 of 15 in AL). I think when you finish in the top 3rd of the AL you have a pretty decent bullpen.

#22 Rosterman

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 08:00 PM

When I check ERA for Twins on MLB.com I come up with an ERA of 3.50 which is 14 of 30. That also places them 5 of 15 in the AL. WHIP 1.22 which shows 6 of 30 (3 of 15 in AL). I think when you finish in the top 3rd of the AL you have a pretty decent bullpen.



I agree, too. It seems some guys had a few bad outings and many ahd very good outings. And then you had Duensing pitching like a short-lefty relief guy this year. You also were using Perkins in non-save situations, in which he stunk whenever he did that, but he needed to get an inning in or so some times.

The joy is, you have 6 or so strong guys in the bullpen and the other (or two) spots you can rotate guys out of. You don't do that in the rotation where how many pitchers were the #4 and #5 spot in the rotation?
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#23 Trevor0333

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 08:45 PM

I answered a similar question in the original blog. People say that the pen was "overworked" because it logged the most innings in the majors (by a hair btw). However this is deceptive. Here is why:

Actually the correct measurement for overworking a pen is not total innings, but IP/appearance because if a pen has used 10 different pitchers to pitch 400 innings would result to more tired pitchers than if used 15 different pitchers to pitch 420 innings, correct?

As far as IP/Appearance goes, if you round down to one decimal (more decimals does not make sense), you will see that pretty much the whole league is at the same place:

Astros 1.2
Pirates 1.2
Athletics 1.1
Blue Jays 1.1
Mariners 1.1
Marlins 1.1
Nationals 1.1
Padres 1.1
Rockies 1.1
Royals 1.1
Twins 1.1
Yankees 1.1
Angels 1.0
Braves 1.0
Brewers 1.0
Cardinals 1.0
Cubs 1.0
Diamondbacks 1.0
Dodgers 1.0
Giants 1.0
Indians 1.0
Mets 1.0
Philies 1.0
Rangers 1.0
Rays 1.0
Reds 1.0
Tigers 1.0
White Sox 1.0

I think that the difference of 0.2 innings in spread (less than a batter faced) is insignificant for the amount of innings pitched...

There goes another myth about "tired pens..."


The problem is this also assumes that these rates are consistent throughout the season which obviously doesn't happen. With stretches of 2-3 straight weeks of starters crapping out early and Gardy going to the pen excessively.

When that is followed by the pen getting crushed on flat pitches with depressed speeds. It can be obvious the pen is overworked even if it adds up to league average usage rates over the course of a season.

Edited by Trevor0333, 02 January 2014 - 08:58 PM.


#24 Trevor0333

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 08:52 PM

I still would like to see if TR can get the Phillies to bite on an offer of Corriea, Burton, & May for Dominic Brown & Papelbon's contract opening a roster spot for Garza.

They are desperate for cheap young SP & payroll space to sign a #5 & replacemetn closer.

Edited by Trevor0333, 02 January 2014 - 08:54 PM.


#25 Thrylos

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 09:05 PM

The problem is this also assumes that these rates are consistent throughout the season which obviously doesn't happen. With stretches of 2-3 straight weeks of starters crapping out early and Gardy going to the pen excessively.

When that is followed by the pen getting crushed on flat pitches with depressed speeds. It can be obvious the pen is overworked even if it adds up to league average usage rates over the course of a season.



Every other ball club has the same considerations as well... Those are average rates and it happened throughout baseball :)
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#26 Dave T

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 09:16 AM

One reason we thought we had a superior bullpen: The starting pitching was sooo bad. Un-watchably bad.

#27 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 10:06 AM

I'm going to voice some more concerns about these statistics:

- MLB.com is showing the Twins as having the 14th best bullpen ERA.

- Comparing NL teams to AL teams in pitching statistics only slants things against the AL team. When isolated to league, the Twins had the 5th best bullpen ERA.

- The Twins bullpen pitched a full 118 innings more than the best bullpen ERA in the AL, the Royals. That's basically two full seasons of relievers the Twins had to account for that the Royals did not. Surprisingly, the Jays had the fourth best bullpen ERA, despite being right behind the Twins in bullpen innings (552 for Jays, 579 for Twins). Nonetheless, the 1, 2, and 3 spots in bullpen ERA went to teams whose starters allowed their pens to pitch 461, 491, and 475 innings (again, the Twins had to throw 579 innings).

#28 Thrylos

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 10:25 AM

I'm going to voice some more concerns about these statistics:

- MLB.com is showing the Twins as having the 14th best bullpen ERA.

- Comparing NL teams to AL teams in pitching statistics only slants things against the AL team. When isolated to league, the Twins had the 5th best bullpen ERA.
.


mea culpa. Double-checked 14th ERA indeed. I would agree about AL and NL as far as starters go, but by the time the pen is in, usually the other starter is out of the game and pinch hitters are hitting for him. Not that much difference here.

And bullpen ERA is kind of a bogus stat because if a reliever gives up an inherited bases loaded triple with two outs that empties the bases and get the next guy out, he looks like he had a clean appearance and has a zero ERA for the game.

That's why xFIP is a better measure here and the Twins' pen was 24th in the majors... Actually David Appelman's Clutch measurement might be an even better measure for pen effectiveness because it combines win probability added with leverage. The Twins' pen ranks 20th in the majors with 0.08...

Edited by Thrylos, 03 January 2014 - 10:30 AM.

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#29 cmathewson

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 10:28 AM

In the course of doing some research for this thread, I came across an incredible stat line on Anthony Swarzak: Last year he threw as many innings (96) as in 2012 while starting in five fewer games (0). His ERA was 2.91. His ERA+ was 139. He had his best year in terms of k/9 (6.4), BB/9 (2.1) and WHIP (1.15). I think it's safe to say he has found his niche. And he is way more valuable in that role than his trade value (long relievers are some of the most underrated players on a team).
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#30 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 10:43 AM

mea culpa. Double-checked 14th ERA indeed. I would agree about AL and NL as far as starters go, but by the time the pen is in, usually the other starter is out of the game and pinch hitters are hitting for him. Not that much difference here.

And bullpen ERA is kind of a bogus stat because if a reliever gives up an inherited bases loaded triple with two outs that empties the bases and get the next guy out, he looks like he had a clean appearance and has a zero ERA for the game.

That's why xFIP is a better measure here and the Twins' pen was 24th in the majors... Actually David Appelman's Clutch measurement might be an even better measure for pen effectiveness because it combines win probability added with leverage. The Twins' pen ranks 20th in the majors with 0.08...


I agree that ERA is not the best statistic for a bullpen but given the 580 innings pitched by the Twins' bullpen, those things tend to equalize in time. If the bullpen is bad at allowing inherited runners to score, they're going to be bad at preventing runs at all over a nearly 600 inning sample size.

While the NL/AL split isn't as dramatic for the bullpen, it still exists. After all, there were only four AL teams in front of the Twins while there were nine NL teams.

In the past few years, here are the NL/AL team counts for the top 15 bullpen ERAs:

2013 - NL: 9, AL: 6
2012 - NL: 8, AL: 7
2011 - NL: 10, AL: 5
2010 - NL: 7, AL: 8
2009 - NL: 9, AL: 6

Even though the bullpen doesn't get to face the pitcher as often in the NL, they still get to face a lot of really bad pinch hitters. The NL doesn't stack up against the AL offensively no matter what inning you're in.