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KLAW article up on Twins observations

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#1 mike wants wins

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 12:45 PM

He still loves Buxton. He's not thrilled with Hughes or May (really down on May). He likes Kepler still. Seems to like Pinto as a hitter, but not a thrower. He thinks he could use more time in the minors.

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#2 UCLA_YANKEE_COLA

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 08:01 AM

On May :

He's probably never going to work out as a starter, but even to pitch in relief in the majors you have to know where the fastball is going and be willing to put it somewhere the hitter might make contact with it.


Well that's not encouraging.

#3 Steve Lein

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 10:54 AM

I've always thought May was going to be a reliever. He's likely going to get there via the Glen Perkins path (which is not a bad thing), but when he does (and on the route there), I think you'll see similar results (e.g.: I think he'll be a good reliever after having middling success as starter).

Scouting Report: Power: 30, Hitting: 50, Arm: 60, Defense: 40, Speed: 40. "Line drive swing and shows good contact and on-base abilities. Double's power at his peak. Strong arm from 2B or the OF, stiff hands. Not a fast runner, but above average instincts on the bases. Skinny body doesn't look the part, but can sneak up on you. ACL surgery sapped much of his athleticism." (Probably)


#4 Thrylos

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 12:41 PM

I've always thought May was going to be a reliever. He's likely going to get there via the Glen Perkins path (which is not a bad thing), but when he does (and on the route there), I think you'll see similar results (e.g.: I think he'll be a good reliever after having middling success as starter).


I think that May will almost have to make the team as a reliever first. It is just a numbers game at this point and I take it as a given that (in no particular order) Nolasco, Hughes, Pelfrey, Gibson & Meyer are ahead of him and this will be the rotation in 2015. In 2016 if Pelfrey goes, and barring any trades, May will be challenged by Berrios and Stewart, not to mention kids like Jorge & Thorpe. So May might be a reliever just because of the numbers and 2016 might potentially the first chance he has to make the rotation (if the 4 younger pitchers are not ready.)
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#5 Kwak

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 12:49 PM

Beginning a career as a relief pitcher before transitioning to a starter isn't unusual and can work to the player's advantage.

#6 Seth Stohs

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 03:10 PM

I feel like any time there is a report like from Law or BA or BP or ME or anyone that there should be a disclaimer. These are the opinions of this individual or something like that. Just because Keith Law says it doesn't make it true. It also doesn't make it false. The reality is no one knows until it happens. It is the fun of projecting though.

I know Law loves Kepler. I really like him too, especially after seeing him. I know I kept him in my Top 10 Twins prospect list even though he moved out of most. Just too much potential (which, of course, could go either way).

May... he may become a reliever. Like Steve said, it may be after starting. But, I'd keep him starting since he's striking out more than a batter per inning.

#7 Seth Stohs

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 03:11 PM

Also, as Thrylos said, May may have to start his big league career as a reliever just due to numbers (though I think he'll make some starts in September).

#8 oldguy10

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 04:39 PM

^^^Seth isn't May starting in September for the Twins predicated on his success or lack thereof at Rochester or New Britain, I would certainly hope so.

#9 Thrylos

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 04:54 PM

^^^Seth isn't May starting in September for the Twins predicated on his success or lack thereof at Rochester or New Britain, I would certainly hope so.


And on the success or lack thereof of the Twins :) If the Twins are in contention (hope so) in September, I hope they get the best arms available up North to help them.
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#10 nicksaviking

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 05:00 PM

I think that May will almost have to make the team as a reliever first. It is just a numbers game at this point and I take it as a given that (in no particular order) Nolasco, Hughes, Pelfrey, Gibson & Meyer are ahead of him and this will be the rotation in 2015. In 2016 if Pelfrey goes, and barring any trades, May will be challenged by Berrios and Stewart, not to mention kids like Jorge & Thorpe. So May might be a reliever just because of the numbers and 2016 might potentially the first chance he has to make the rotation (if the 4 younger pitchers are not ready.)


I kind of like starting many of these guys in the bullpen anyway. It's working for the Cardinals. It used to be a right of passage for nearly all pitchers in fact.

Also, saying May won't cut it because even relievers need control is like saying a guy won't make it as a shortstop or catcher because even they need to hit. Lack of a particular skill set and strength with another is generally why guys end up as relievers, or shortstops or catchers.

There are varying degrees of control and maybe May's lack of it is more off the charts than we are aware of, but it seems strange that Klaw is neglecting the fact that many relievers, maybe even most, are in the bullpen because they don't have the control of their starting counterparts.

#11 Seth Stohs

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 07:32 PM

^^^Seth isn't May starting in September for the Twins predicated on his success or lack thereof at Rochester or New Britain, I would certainly hope so.


Of course... that was just a prediction/thought.

#12 kab21

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 08:13 PM

The discouraging part about May is that usually starters with issues excel moving to the pen for a couple of reasons that don't apply to him. Perkins threw 90mph as a starter but that has bumped up to 94-95 in relief. May already throws hard enough as a starter. The other reason is that a converted starter can improve his walk numbers by not throwing his worst pitch. This really isn't the case for May since his control problems start with his fastball. There are quite a few hard throwing RP'ers that are quite successful with 12 K/9 and 4-5 BB/9 rates so lack of control isn't the end of the world for him.

May is still a prospect but we need to stop acting like the MLB rotation is going to be blocking him. He needs to show that he is actually an MLB caliber pitcher in AA/AAA before this becomes an issue.

#13 oldguy10

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 06:11 AM

Perhaps I am wrong on this one but it appears that many posters are assuming that the minor league pitchers in the Twins system have to be either starters or relievers right from the get-go, isn't that counter productive in the first place? Should any of the young pitchers be pigeon holed into one group or the other? I certainly do not think so, use these young pitchers down the road where they will be most successful. Even if that includes high draft picks such as Gibson and Stewart amongst others winding up as relievers. Perkins on the present MLB roster is a perfect example of him not finding his niche until later in his career. Plus the way the game is played today mandates that all teams must have decent bullpens including set-up guys as well as closers.

#14 Steve Lein

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 08:23 AM

Perhaps I am wrong on this one but it appears that many posters are assuming that the minor league pitchers in the Twins system have to be either starters or relievers right from the get-go


This is actually something I would like to see the Twins do more of. There are reasons when it comes draft time you always see scouts/etc... talking about how such-and-such guy was "successful college starter, but will end up in bullpen" or something similar.

There are a few pitchers the Twins have drafted recently, where the "experts" were saying if they put them in the bullpen, they could help the Twins by next season, but since they're going to start him, you won't see him for a while. I don't really get this approach, but also think that it's more because of their poor drafting leading to an extreme lack of pitching talent from 2011-2013 - they had to try something...

I understand the potential benefits of having a guy work as a starter to pile up innings and experience, and to work on pitches, but I also think this can work against them if they have a limited shot at ending up as a starter anyway (and I believe you can figure that out a lot sooner than getting them to AA in 3 years as a starter and then watching them struggle). Why? Because the approach as a starter vs. reliever is not the same thing.

We've seen the transition work with Perkins, but think about how long that took to happen? And in his case as well, you see how the approach changed for him. As a starter, he worked with a 4-pitch mix, and none of his pitches were of the "plus" variety. As the closer now, he basically throws a 2-pitch mix with a plus-velocity fastball and developed his slider into a wipeout version that is miles better than what he threw as a starter. My basic question on this information evolves into: Would you rather have had the value Perkins is giving as a reliever/closer now 4 or 5 seasons earlier, or what he gave you as a starter during those seasons? Just so I can put a value to it, per Baseball-Reference, in 2008 and 2009 as a starter, Perk piled up 1.2 WAR in 247.1 innings. In the past 3 years as a reliever (2 as the closer), he's put up 5.5 WAR in 194.2 innings.

One guy I would love to see them move back to relief sooner rather than later, is Mason Melotakis (he was the starter in the FSN televised Cedar Rapids game last year that Buxton wowed everybody).

He was primarily a reliever in college, and a very good one. Going into the draft he was touted as one of the best lefty-relievers available, who worked with a power fastball in the mid-90's and had a slider with K potential.

Well, as a starter, I've seen him top out in the low-90's, and he isn't striking a lot of guys out. They basically have taken the type of pitcher he was out of him in their attempt to see if he could work as a starter, and I don't like this idea even though he was arguably Cedar Rapids' best starter last season.

Scouting Report: Power: 30, Hitting: 50, Arm: 60, Defense: 40, Speed: 40. "Line drive swing and shows good contact and on-base abilities. Double's power at his peak. Strong arm from 2B or the OF, stiff hands. Not a fast runner, but above average instincts on the bases. Skinny body doesn't look the part, but can sneak up on you. ACL surgery sapped much of his athleticism." (Probably)


#15 UCLA_YANKEE_COLA

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 12:25 PM

Perhaps I am wrong on this one but it appears that many posters are assuming that the minor league pitchers in the Twins system have to be either starters or relievers right from the get-go, isn't that counter productive in the first place?


I don't think that's the case at all. Liriano & Santana, the only two aces the Twins have had in 20 years, both started in the bullpen. I would imagine most fans that post here understand that it can be a good way to bring along a young pitcher.

#16 oldguy10

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 02:42 PM

With this sort of logic then the Twins two best pitching prospects (let's assume Meyer and Stewart but it could be others) should immediately be put into the bullpen when they finally surface in Twins' uniforms and then when they become starters the next two supposedly best pitchers drafted are put into the MLB bullpen. Have I got this right?

#17 nicksaviking

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 02:51 PM

I don't think that's the case at all. Liriano & Santana, the only two aces the Twins have had in 20 years, both started in the bullpen. I would imagine most fans that post here understand that it can be a good way to bring along a young pitcher.


That's particularly true if those fans happen to work in the Cardinals organization. They certainly believe in that philosophy.

#18 mike wants wins

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 03:14 PM

With this sort of logic then the Twins two best pitching prospects (let's assume Meyer and Stewart but it could be others) should immediately be put into the bullpen when they finally surface in Twins' uniforms and then when they become starters the next two supposedly best pitchers drafted are put into the MLB bullpen. Have I got this right?


No. I think what everyone is saying is that it is good sometimes, and not others. "can be" is not "must be".
Lighten up Francis....

#19 CRArko

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 04:17 PM

No. I think what everyone is saying is that it is good sometimes, and not others. "can be" is not "must be".


I think it depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is.

#20 oldguy10

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 08:47 PM

Is that analogous to known unknowns as Donald Rumsfeld has stated in his less than sterling second term as defense secretary?

#21 Oxtung

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 09:05 PM

Also, as Thrylos said, May may have to start his big league career as a reliever just due to numbers (though I think he'll make some starts in September).


Seth, I know that this is May's second option season and I think that might play a part in how the Twins view him, starter vs reliever. I think it could also impact who gets the first call up when a pitcher is needed.

I know you found the rule about a fourth option season but I don't remember the required conditions. Could May be eligible for that?

#22 Kwak

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 09:18 PM

A few reasons why beginning a career as a starter is advantageous for the Twins: There was (is) a huge need for starting pitching, pitchers who succeed as SP are more valuable (to all), the Twins want RPs to get lots of Ks, but are looking for pitch-efficiency from starters (different style of pitching/type of pitcher), the Twins (through the years) have been very successful in acquiring RPs, there isn't much need to draft/develop from the low minors on.
Considering how ineffective the Twins (as a team) are opposing LHP, I wouldn't give up on Melotakis yet--there likely are a lot of other teams that struggle vs guys like Melotakis. Plus, he is (so far) successful as a SP--why change now?

#23 kab21

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 09:12 AM

A few reasons why beginning a career as a starter is advantageous for the Twins: There was (is) a huge need for starting pitching, pitchers who succeed as SP are more valuable (to all), the Twins want RPs to get lots of Ks, but are looking for pitch-efficiency from starters (different style of pitching/type of pitcher), the Twins (through the years) have been very successful in acquiring RPs, there isn't much need to draft/develop from the low minors on.
Considering how ineffective the Twins (as a team) are opposing LHP, I wouldn't give up on Melotakis yet--there likely are a lot of other teams that struggle vs guys like Melotakis. Plus, he is (so far) successful as a SP--why change now?


In addition to that the pitcher gets to throw more innings and work on a deeper repertoire of pitches. He might develop a better 2nd pitch that he wouldn't have if he was just a reliever in the minors.

I also think it's a little silly to complain that a RP'er would be fasttracking and available sooner if they were just a starter. Yes, they would move faster but most RP'ers that are drafted are still complete busts. The success rate of drafted RP'ers must be so low that it really begs the question of why bother drafting RP'ers. I was hoping that they were seeing something particular in their plethora of RP'ers that they have drafted in the last 5 years but it seems that they just liked picking college RP'ers. go find more Walkers, Rosarios and Gonsalves's in the 2nd-5th rds. Please.

#24 ashburyjohn

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 01:18 PM

That's particularly true if those fans happen to work in the Cardinals organization. They certainly believe in that philosophy.


Did a quick check of the 2013 pitching staff, before finishing reading what had already been posted, and not only is the philosophy in strong evidence, it goes pretty far back: Adam Wainwright spent his age-24 season exclusively in relief, after having done essentially nothing but start while in the minors. The next season they took the training wheels off and he's been a starter ever since.

Is that analogous to known unknowns as Donald Rumsfeld has stated in his less than sterling second term as defense secretary?


More of a Bill Clinton joke, I believe. Think: "beret".

#25 cmb0252

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 01:37 PM

Twins questions from his chat today:

[COLOR=#333333][FONT=verdana]Do you think Aaron Hicks will hit enough to play a corner when BB is ready to claim center field? And, on a completely related note, should he not be the cautionary tale for teams that make roster decisions based on spring training stats?[/FONT][/COLOR]
Klaw (1:45 PM)
[COLOR=#333333][FONT=verdana]I think Hicks will end up someone else's CF, because in a corner he's not as valuable - the Twins will get more benefit from trading him to fill another need than from moving him to RF. He's a cautionary tale for fans who lose their minds over March stats, too.

[/FONT][/COLOR][COLOR=#333333][FONT=verdana]Long term outlook on Sano - unchanged, sort of worried, very worried, at least you have Buxton.[/FONT][/COLOR]
Klaw (1:51 PM)
[COLOR=#333333][FONT=verdana]Mostly unchanged. So maybe he ends up off 3b sooner than expected. It's not as damaging as Eddie Rosario missing 50 games, where he needed the reps more urgently.

[/FONT][/COLOR][COLOR=#333333][FONT=verdana]How long until we see Meyer,May and Berrios?[/FONT][/COLOR]
Klaw (2:15 PM)
[COLOR=#333333][FONT=verdana]Meyer later this year. May has to go to the pen for me, and that should happen this year in the minors. Berrios more like 2016.

[/FONT][/COLOR][COLOR=#333333][FONT=verdana]Kyle Gibson, already 26 yrs old, is apparently being blocked by Deduno/Diamond/Worley (all out of options). That is dumb.[/FONT][/COLOR]
Klaw (2:22 PM)
[COLOR=#333333][FONT=verdana]I've heard Worley has looked awful. Really don't understand the strategy there.[/FONT][/COLOR]

#26 tobi0040

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 02:06 PM

Twins questions from his chat today:

[COLOR=#333333][FONT=verdana]Do you think Aaron Hicks will hit enough to play a corner when BB is ready to claim center field? And, on a completely related note, should he not be the cautionary tale for teams that make roster decisions based on spring training stats?[/FONT][/COLOR]
Klaw (1:45 PM)
[COLOR=#333333][FONT=verdana]I think Hicks will end up someone else's CF, because in a corner he's not as valuable - the Twins will get more benefit from trading him to fill another need than from moving him to RF. He's a cautionary tale for fans who lose their minds over March stats, too.

[/FONT][/COLOR][COLOR=#333333][FONT=verdana]Long term outlook on Sano - unchanged, sort of worried, very worried, at least you have Buxton.[/FONT][/COLOR]
Klaw (1:51 PM)
[COLOR=#333333][FONT=verdana]Mostly unchanged. So maybe he ends up off 3b sooner than expected. It's not as damaging as Eddie Rosario missing 50 games, where he needed the reps more urgently.

[/FONT][/COLOR][COLOR=#333333][FONT=verdana]How long until we see Meyer,May and Berrios?[/FONT][/COLOR]
Klaw (2:15 PM)
[COLOR=#333333][FONT=verdana]Meyer later this year. May has to go to the pen for me, and that should happen this year in the minors. Berrios more like 2016.

[/FONT][/COLOR][COLOR=#333333][FONT=verdana]Kyle Gibson, already 26 yrs old, is apparently being blocked by Deduno/Diamond/Worley (all out of options). That is dumb.[/FONT][/COLOR]
Klaw (2:22 PM)
[COLOR=#333333][FONT=verdana]I've heard Worley has looked awful. Really don't understand the strategy there.[/FONT][/COLOR]


I agree with him about Hicks being someone else's CF. I think he is eventually traded for a pitcher or SS.

#27 cmb0252

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 02:35 PM

I agree with him about Hicks being someone else's CF. I think he is eventually traded for a pitcher or SS.


If Hicks can show he is true big league CFer I would definitely be all for trading him once Buxton is up. True CFers are always at a premium.