Remember last spring? A common refrain around here was
- Worley and Correia can repeat their modest 2012 numbers
- Pelfrey can rebound to his modest career averages
- Deduno can be an effective fill-in
- Gibson comes up midseason and pitches effectively, maybe even Meyer or May by season's end
- Diamond can even regress a bit from 2012, and we will still have a nice deep average starting rotation! And anything we get from Hendriks, Hernandez, or Walters will just be a bonus!
See what I did there? All of those things seem perfectly reasonable, and in fact some of those things actually happened (or even exceeded those marks), yet the staff as a whole still struggled.
Now, we're probably not that far apart. I certainly believe the 2014 staff will be better than 2013. Near league average, +8 wins from SP alone is a best-case scenario, however. Part of the reason Hughes and Pelfrey came so cheap (and Nolasco signed early, and Correia signed cheap last year) is the inconsistency and volatility of their performances. If signing a handful of guys like this gave you a mean projection of a league average staff, the Twins would have "fixed" the staff long ago, and in fact no one would ever have staffs as bad as the Twins recent ones.
How common was that "common refrain", really? "perfecly reasonable"? Certainly not from me and the large chorus of doubters who expressed their discontent in the previous offseason and ST. Consider this counter-perfectly-reasonable-evidence, presented a year ago:
-Most of us were actually down on the Correia signing- he was the upside surprise to most everyone- the "pretty good pitcher" that Ryan had promised he'd deliver and then he produced pretty predictable #5-level SP numbers, whoopee!
-Most of us questioned what Worley brought to the Twins, what with his injury, down year in 2012 vs 2011 and showing up to ST overweight.
-Most of us were aware that Deduno was a "found money" journeyman pitcher only, certainly not one to count on over a season, as he'd never done it before, and likely never will.
-Most of us wanted Gibson, on an innings limitation and a speculative contributor as a rookie and coming off of TJ, called up right after his May arb date, not so much expecting he'd rock the baseball world, but that that is what a rebuilding team with woeful pitching depth should be doing- getting their former #1 pick and next great hope, Gibson, some major league experience once he proved healthy.
-Most of us expected regression from Diamond, but I didn't hear anyone say we had a "nice, deep starting rotation!" to pick up his regresson slack. Unless they were drunk when they wrote it.
-Rather than suggesting that Pelfrey could put up past numbers with the Mets, most of us questioned how the Twins could possibly have considered Pelfrey for the opening day rotation, attempting to do something completely unprecedented. If they had signed another discount arm like Bruce Chen, they could have stashed Pelfrey first in Ext. ST and then some minor league time to properly rehab instead of getting free service time from the Twins- It was a bizarre notion, at best, Pelfrey himself has admitted that it was a huge mistake to come back so soon- but he was quite effective for the first 2 months after his demotion in June.
- Virtually all of us questioned how guys like Hernandez, Walters, Hendriks, Blackburn, DeVries, et al, were actually considered as legitimate SP depth- and the Twins passed on waiver wire guys for free- like Todd Redmond.
As you said, we're not that far apart on the belated upgrade in 2014, but the team's rotation is far removed from last year's Rotation flim-flam, it's not realistic to compare the expectations in ST in each year as being similar. Obviously, my projection of improving to slightly below league average was for demonstration purposes only- something to shoot for, projecting what each player could, only slightly optimistically, achieve when staying healthy and not having a complete performance collapse like many of the arms did in 2013. I would argue that based on the durable track records for some, and others being in the normally much-better and healthier 2nd year after TJ, that this group of arms is much less likely to sustain an instance of utter collapse- but it certainly could happen. Only now, they have at least 2 arms in Deduno and Meyer (and possibly Diamond) at the ready, who project far better than last year's alleged "depth", to be able to pick up the slack for someone that goes on the DL for 15-60 days. And again, talking about the luck factor finally favoring the Twins again, it is certainly within the realm of possibility given the overall upgrade in quality, that the Twins get a career-year performance like Diamond's in 2012, from someone on this staff- which could also bolster the overall numbers should one of the others perform below expectations.
And finally, the #7-10 guys in the depth chart for the first time in my memory, don't appear to be holding on to their baseball dreams by a frayed thread.
Edited by jokin, 26 March 2014 - 01:05 AM.