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Article: Twins Organizational Depth Chart - Starting Pitchers

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#21 Shane Wahl

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 10:58 AM

I agree that AAA is a valuable step, I agree completely with jorgenswest and Kwak's last post!

#22 DAM DC Twins Fans

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 10:59 AM

I agree with others here. Meyers should start at Rochester where he will (presumably) face better hitters than at New Britain. If he is the ace of the future, why not push him.

My main comment focuses on the bottom end of the Twins system. Why do you have Eades who didn't have a good 2013 at Fort Myers?? Where the heck is Brett Lee (who arguably was the ace at Cedar Rapids last year)?? Why isn't he at Fr. Myers?? (yes I may be biased cause he was my "adapt a prospect" last year--but given his year--he deserves a promotion.

Why do you have Stewart and Gonsalves (both potentially top of the rotation guys) at extended spring training. They should get a shot at Cedar Rapids--will also bring fans to the park. It may be pushing them, but give them a shot--if it doesn't work--send them to E-Town.

#23 william.m.potts

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 11:19 AM

First mention of Vance Worley all off season. Where is he truly at? What are we in on him? As we can't forget, he was the #1 guy at the start of last year, it seems we need to get more out of him.

#24 Seth Stohs

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 11:56 AM

Are you sure that Darnell will be in Rochester?


No. He certainly could go back to New Britain just due to numbers.

#25 Seth Stohs

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 11:57 AM

What good do 5 starts in AA do? What do you do then, if he's the guy they think he is?


Call him up?

#26 Seth Stohs

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 12:00 PM

It's time to eliminate the "non-prospects". Some, we have seen pitch, some came from other teams. Let them duel it out in Spring training--and then cut right-to-the-bone--so those from the lower levels (with upside) get their innings to develop. The "feel-good" stories should not be the operating philosophy.


You just can't do that. You need numbers... There are injuries. There are prospects who become non-prospects. There are non-prospects that become solid MLB contributors. THere is no one way.

#27 Seth Stohs

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 12:03 PM

I agree with others here. Meyers should start at Rochester where he will (presumably) face better hitters than at New Britain. If he is the ace of the future, why not push him.

My main comment focuses on the bottom end of the Twins system. Why do you have Eades who didn't have a good 2013 at Fort Myers?? Where the heck is Brett Lee (who arguably was the ace at Cedar Rapids last year)?? Why isn't he at Fr. Myers?? (yes I may be biased cause he was my "adapt a prospect" last year--but given his year--he deserves a promotion.

Why do you have Stewart and Gonsalves (both potentially top of the rotation guys) at extended spring training. They should get a shot at Cedar Rapids--will also bring fans to the park. It may be pushing them, but give them a shot--if it doesn't work--send them to E-Town.


Brett Lee - I just added him to the Ft. Myers mix... HE was good. He's a sleeper for me in 2014. I just didn't type him.

Ryan Eades - I don't really care about what he did in ET... He could easily go to CR... He's a top college pitcher draftee from last year, and the Twins typically do start them in FM.

I think there's a chance that Stewart and Gonsalves start in EST and are called up in early/mid-May when the weather in Iowa is a little warmer. Also gives a few other guys a chance that they might not otherwise get.

#28 mike wants wins

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 12:40 PM

Call him up?


I hope that's what happens, Seth. Thanks for the full list, btw. Appreciated as always.

What I just typed is probably an opinion, not a fact. I mean, I'm usually right, so you should maybe assume it is or will be a fact soon, but that's up to you. :) Also, I am NOT trying to convince anyone I am correct, I'm just talking here, not arguing.


#29 jorgenswest

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 01:22 PM

The Twins waited too long to call up Gibson last year. He had two high pitch count outings for Rochester after the time he should have been called up.

It was reported that his velocity was sitting at 94 even into the late innings in a May Rochester game. He was 91-92 with the Twins later in the season.

Meyer and Gibson need to enter the majors this year with their best stuff. They will need it as they learn to adjust to major league pitching.

They need to put Gibson in the rotation to open the season. Meyer needs to be there by May 1 (if not opening day). Correia does well from the bullpen.

#30 DAM DC Twins Fans

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 01:30 PM

Brett Lee - I just added him to the Ft. Myers mix... HE was good. He's a sleeper for me in 2014. I just didn't type him.

Ryan Eades - I don't really care about what he did in ET... He could easily go to CR... He's a top college pitcher draftee from last year, and the Twins typically do start them in FM.

I think there's a chance that Stewart and Gonsalves start in EST and are called up in early/mid-May when the weather in Iowa is a little warmer. Also gives a few other guys a chance that they might not otherwise get.


Seth: Good point on Eades being a high college draftee...still wonder if he starts at Cedar Rapids. Now I understand your thinking on Stewart and Gonsalves (waiting for warm weather--aren't we all).

As always, a great article--just nitpicking a bit. (:-)

#31 AM.

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 02:02 PM

The Twins appear to have several good pitching prospects in the system. It is critical they develop these prospects into major league assets. They have not shown much success in those areas. They might look to organizations like the Cards, A's and Rays. How have they been able to continually find young pitchers? Not only do the pitchers find success but they arrive at the majors at a younger age.

I think the following is important.

- A pitcher must be moved aggressively enough to struggle and learn how to work through it at the minor league level. They will be better prepared to handle the struggle they will certainly encounter at the major league level. They need their confidence shaken and build the character to work through it.

- A pitcher aging curve on fangraphs won an award at SABR this year. It is far different than hitter. Velocity and strike outs begin their decline at an early age. The Twins need to have a plan for their pitchers to reach the majors at younger ages than hitters. They need to make the most of the velocity.

This is a link to the first in the series http://www.fangraphs...s-introduction/

The velocity of Gibson, Meyer and May is likely already in decline. Gibson and Meyer, in particular, need to be in the majors this year. Other teams would do it. May needs to arrive also.

The top prospects like Berrios and Stewart need to be pushed more aggressively than one step at a time. The Twins need to make the most of their velocity at the major league level. If they happen to draft a college pitcher, they need to look at the path of guys like Sonny Gray and Michael Wacha.

The Twins have some young talented pitchers. I am certain Seth is spot on in his projections. This is consistent with the the Twins practice in previous years. It doesn't appear consistent with some other organizations that have successfully developed young pitching. Do the Twins the correct plan for developing the talent? It is critical for their future success.


Agree. And backs up the point implied in my question: which 5 guys would be the best 5 starters for the Twins right now, regardless of service time? I agree that Meyer would be on that list. I think Gibson would be. What would the top 5 be? Would Berrios crack that list? (Would Stewart?)

#32 howieramone1406390264

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 02:33 PM

The Twins waited too long to call up Gibson last year. He had two high pitch count outings for Rochester after the time he should have been called up.

It was reported that his velocity was sitting at 94 even into the late innings in a May Rochester game. He was 91-92 with the Twins later in the season.

Meyer and Gibson need to enter the majors this year with their best stuff. They will need it as they learn to adjust to major league pitching.

They need to put Gibson in the rotation to open the season. Meyer needs to be there by May 1 (if not opening day). Correia does well from the bullpen.


Gibson said at Twins Fest he couldn't get his best pitch, his slider over 7 of 10 starts. Couldn't use it as a first pitch strike. That's a big problem and one that can't be blamed on Rick Anderson. Let him come up when he's ready to shine. That's one of the major reasons why we signed 3 free agent starting pitchers. We need Gibson and Meyer in the starting rotation by the start of 2015, that's all.

#33 Jim H

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 05:39 PM

This thread is kind of funny. After damning the Twins for not getting FA pitching, even before the FA season even started, now that the Twins signed free agent pitchers, a lot of the same people are damning them for not promoting the hot Twins prospects, even before spring training has started.

#34 Seth Stohs

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 07:15 PM

Seth: Good point on Eades being a high college draftee...still wonder if he starts at Cedar Rapids. Now I understand your thinking on Stewart and Gonsalves (waiting for warm weather--aren't we all).

As always, a great article--just nitpicking a bit. (:-)


Nitpicking is the fun part... sometimes... With a blog/article like this, it's all about guessing. Also, there will be 5 or 6 starters at these levels, and I probably have 7+ names in most all of them... These are the names, and there is a trickle-down effect to it all. Some to the bullpen, etc.

#35 jimbo92107

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 09:03 PM

I don't think that Swarzak should start. Leave that carrot out there, but he wasn't a good starter, was a good reliever, there are several other better options for starting.....


I'd work Swarzak into the rotation as a forth or fifth starter, but that would depend partly on spring training and on early season results with the other guys.

Clearly Swarzak is a valuable asset as a rubber-armed short reliever, long reliever and spot starter. He works quickly, delivers the ball in a flash, and he attacks the zone as well as anybody on the staff. That said, he definitely wants to be a starter. Why would he be better now than before? If he pans out, it would come down to better controlling his emotions and further refinement of his approach. To me he looks like a better pitcher now than he did a couple years ago. His poise and mechanics look more consistent. Pitching exclusively from the stretch was a good decision.

I'd let him try his hand at starting as a reward for getting better. It's important for a team to show that a player's improvement is respected and rewarded by chances to move up. Give him a fair shot to start, and if it doesn't work out, Swarzak himself will be the first to admit it.

#36 ashburyjohn

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 10:24 PM

To me he looks like a better pitcher now than he did a couple years ago. His poise and mechanics look more consistent.


Much as I usually say I'm opposed to trying to mind-read, in the case of Swarzak I can't help but continue to wonder whether that cracked rib from horseplay matured him up and he became more serious about his career, in which case he might be worth another shot in the rotation at some point, because there'd actually be reason to hope for better results than before.

#37 TRex

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 10:15 AM

I think the reason Swarzak is doing better as a reliever is that he has pretty much shelved his changeup, which has a cumulative value of -15.3 over his career (compared to +5.5 for his 4-seam FB, 3.2 for his 2-seam, and -4.3 for his curveball)!

His changeup is just as bad now, and I don't think he can survive as a starter with 2 pitches.

#38 mike wants wins

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 11:05 AM

I don't think anyone clamoring for Gibson to be up here thought having KC and Pelfrey both here again was the best possible answer.....but I will only speak for myself on that. I fail to see how that is inconsistent with wanting them to sign 2 good pitchers in FA.

What I just typed is probably an opinion, not a fact. I mean, I'm usually right, so you should maybe assume it is or will be a fact soon, but that's up to you. :) Also, I am NOT trying to convince anyone I am correct, I'm just talking here, not arguing.


#39 perkins7

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Posted 19 February 2014 - 10:24 PM

The Twins appear to have several good pitching prospects in the system. It is critical they develop these prospects into major league assets. They have not shown much success in those areas. They might look to organizations like the Cards, A's and Rays. How have they been able to continually find young pitchers? Not only do the pitchers find success but they arrive at the majors at a younger age.

I think the following is important.

- A pitcher must be moved aggressively enough to struggle and learn how to work through it at the minor league level. They will be better prepared to handle the struggle they will certainly encounter at the major league level. They need their confidence shaken and build the character to work through it.

- A pitcher aging curve on fangraphs won an award at SABR this year. It is far different than hitter. Velocity and strike outs begin their decline at an early age. The Twins need to have a plan for their pitchers to reach the majors at younger ages than hitters. They need to make the most of the velocity.

This is a link to the first in the series http://www.fangraphs...s-introduction/

The velocity of Gibson, Meyer and May is likely already in decline. Gibson and Meyer, in particular, need to be in the majors this year. Other teams would do it. May needs to arrive also.

The top prospects like Berrios and Stewart need to be pushed more aggressively than one step at a time. The Twins need to make the most of their velocity at the major league level. If they happen to draft a college pitcher, they need to look at the path of guys like Sonny Gray and Michael Wacha.

The Twins have some young talented pitchers. I am certain Seth is spot on in his projections. This is consistent with the the Twins practice in previous years. It doesn't appear consistent with some other organizations that have successfully developed young pitching. Do the Twins the correct plan for developing the talent? It is critical for their future success.



Now I'm by no means an expert or even avid amateur on pitcher development, but it strikes me that you mention the Rays in the same argument as the A's and the Cards. Wacha and Gray are exceptions in the sense that their ability was enough to start with something resembling success in the majors (a fair amount of success too!). The Rays, however, have an approach that is actually much closer to the Twins' than you're giving them credit for in some sense. They hold their pitching guys at each level for the entire season with rare exception, and they have arguably had the best 1-5 rotation in baseball year in and year out since Friedman took over. The main difference between the Twins and the Rays (as far as I can tell) is the commitment to a conditioning and training program that leads them to have far fewer injuries (especially ones requiring surgery) each year than the Twins. Although I don't have easily referenced numbers to cite for this, the Rays have had very few of their pitchers require TJ than the Twins and that's in large part due to the patience in developing and conditioning these young men so that they are maximizing efficiency (i.e. number of innings each season) and minimizing injury. The Twins' approach seems more to value establishing consistent performance at each level, the keyword there being "consistent", and moving prospects up when they demonstrate success.

I got a little wordy saying it, but the Rays do not develop pitching talent like any other team. They set the standard by which other teams should try to repeat.

#40 Jim H

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 09:20 AM

Certain things get repeated to the point that they are accepted as truths even when there are numerous counter examples. The Twins are often cited as promoting their prospects too slowly, but I don't believe that is particularly true. Since this thread is about pitching, I will confine my examples to them.

I believe the Twins try to individualize their promotions to their prospects, there is no one plan fits all. Over the years many pitchers have been pushed very agressively. Radke reached the majors at 21 or 22 skipping AAA altogether. He wasn't even the best starting prospect, Hawkins was and they pitched together at AA. Milton was a very young starter for the Twins. Both Baker and Slowey were college pitchers who got to the majors quite quickly. Crain was a college shortstop who was promoted as a reliever and got to the majors quickly.

Liriano was 21 when he got to the majors, Hendriks was 21 or 22. I think the perception that the Twins don't promote quickly is tied to the fact that many top prospects have had injury issues that have slowed their development, and some just haven't been good enough or didn't develop quickly enough to justify quicker promotions. A recent example of this Melotakis, a college pitcher who got to AA in last year in the first full season after being drafted, but then struggled. He was promoted quite aggressively and if he had pitched at AA the way pitched at High A, we would be talking about him pitching for the Twins this year.