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Observations as the Twins Complete a Sweep of the Royals behind Smeltzer's Gem

Brandon Warne



This is an excerpt form an article which originates at Zone Coverage. Click here to read it in full.


This isn't the first time Devin Smeltzer has been summoned to the Twin Cities to replace an ailing Michael Pineda on the Minnesota Twins' 25-man roster.


That came back in late May.


But if how the young lefty has thrown in his big-league stints has been any indication, there might not be many more recalls -- he's been that impressive.


The last time we saw the lefty on a big-league mound, he was giving the Twins a massive lift on July 24. Their pitching staff was in tatters, and after Jake Odorizzi was bounced early that night by a powerful Yankees offense, Smeltzer jumped in and cleaned up the final five innings of the game, allowing just a solo homer to Edwin Encarnacion while allowing the offense to claw back and at least make a game of it late.


His reward was being sent back out right after the game in a seemingly endless cycling of pitchers between Rochester and Minnesota leading up to the trade deadline -- but he wasn't there for long.


Smeltzer got word that he would be needed to start on Sunday sometime Saturday and arrived in Minneapolis with plenty of time to prepare for Sunday's start.He couldn't have looked more locked in.


Smeltzer and three relievers combined for a two-hit shutout of the Kansas City Royals in a 3-0 win -- and it was threes across the board.

  • Three runs scored
  • Three wins in the series
  • Three games up in the Central


There was also one very notable one in there as well -- it was Smeltzer's first MLB win.The offense wasn't terrific, as Royals righty Brad Keller held them at bay for much of the afternoon, but they got just enough production -- both in terms of manufacturing runs and driving the ball out of the ballpark -- to steal a sweep and grab their 69th win of the season.




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Surprised nobody commented here. It was a very nice piece! I guess they were too busy on the post game thread.


I think the jury is still out on Smeltzer. Just to SSS at this point. And any pitcher who doesn't have good/Great velocity or a killer breaking ball is always going to be questioned. Deservedly so. But the true art of pitching is location, disrupting a batter's timing and view-plain. Smeltzer seems to have the ability to due those things. As much as we can argue SSS, we can also argue youth, inexperience and inconsistent playing time at the ML level with his Rochester shuttle trips as a reason to also expect him to continue developing and performing well.


I think it's 50-50 the Twins make some major move in the off season for a top rotation arm to join Berrios. Regardless, at least 1 of Gibson, Odorizzi and Pineda should be back. If they don't make that bold move, I'd say at least 2 are back. I just don't know about said major move AND bringing back 2 of those guys but I'd be all in for that!


Regardless, I believe the Twins will go to ST next year with 4 spots in the rotation filled, and I don't necessarily mean Perez, though he is a possibility. What I think and believe is 4 spots filled, and the 5th spot open for Perez, maybe another similar flier, Smeltzer and Thorpe, with Graterol a ways away due to lost time this season. This gives the rotation a ton of depth and flexibility and Smeltzer as good of a chance as anyone to fill that 5th rotation spot.


Also agree Arreaz just has an IT factor. And he's only going to get better. Not maintain some crazy .350 BA, but improve pop and defense etc. No offense to Gordon, but I think we have our starting 2B for the next several years.


Enjoyed a little love for Cave. You look at his somewhat late blossoming, what he did last season, how he has raked at Rochester, and you just know he's not as bad as he's looked with the Twins in limited time thjs season.


Lastly, I've always liked Castro and thought we missed him a lot in 2018, and for many reasons. Selfishly, I am hoping there is zero to limited FA value for him next off season and he comes back in a more modest 2yr deal somewhere in the $4M--ish range.

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