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Minnesota Should Plunder Another Pirates Pitcher


The Pittsburgh Pirates have done a pretty solid job in the Postseason this year. No, the organization is not participating, but Gerrit Cole and Tyler Glasnow are certainly representing them well. The Minnesota Twins should look to swing a deal for the next Pennsylvanian mistake. Enter Joe Musgrove.As a former first round pick, Musgrove is now a part of his third organization. Drafted by the Blue Jays in 2011, he was dealt to the Houston Astros prior to now having spent the bulk of his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates. The career 4.33 ERA doesn’t do much to jump off the page, but as a guy about to enter his age 28 season with two more years of team control, a prime before the breakout could be just the recipe for a strong organization to exploit.

 

Since joining the Pirates in 2018 Musgrove has compiled a 4.23 ERA. In those three seasons however, he’s posted FIP’s of 3.58, 3.82, and 3.42, respectively. The strikeout rates have risen each year going from 7.8 in 2018 to 12.5 in what was a muted 2020 season. He’s generally been a guy that’s tough on free passes, middle of the road when it comes to the longball, and relatively difficult to generate base hits.

 

Download attachment: Musgrove.PNG

 

Taking a look at some of the deeper dive numbers, there’s even more to like with Musgrove. He posted a career best 3.19 xFIP in 2020 while still holding onto a consistent 93 mph average fastball velocity. He gave up a career low 24% hard hit rate this past season and the 48% ground ball rate is plenty productive. Missing barrels is something he’s done often throughout his career and generating a new career high 14.4% whiff rate this season was nice to see as well.

 

Musgrove doesn’t rely a ton on deception. In each of his five big league seasons he’s been right around a 33% chase rate. Rather than forcing batters out of the zone, he’s been able to confuse them within it. Despite the rising swinging strike rates, he hasn’t done it as a by-product of his zone profile. Opposing hitters have generated less overall contact and suffered a career worst contact within the strike zone against Musgrove this past season.

 

Clearly some of the developments Musgrove has experienced are helping take his game to new heights. Seeing what some of his counterparts have experienced when going to more well-regarded organizations, however, begs the question if there’s not more to be unearthed. Minnesota’s brain trust, and the tutelage of Wes Johnson could be the thing that takes him to the highest level.

 

Pitching doesn’t come cheap, and a guy with team control still in arbitration isn’t going to be had for nothing. Expecting the Pirates to continue making the same missteps on the swap front also isn’t a good plan of action. On the basis of its own merit however, finding an amicable deal for both sides is certainly a worthy venture.

 

A lot of how Minnesota sets themselves up for 2021 will be reliant upon what internal decisions the organization makes. After all, the 2020 club was very good and simply fell short of even moderate expectations at the worst time. The turnaround in that performance needs to come from within. On the mound though, there’s now some holes and openings that need to be filled. Addressing at least one of them with an arm this good, and a possibility to be even better, would be a great place to start.

 

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If Trevor Larnach and a lotto ticket isn't enough for Musgrove (or a vet already on the team like Garver or Rogers being involved), I'd pass.

 

The farm system doesn't have enough pitching to include in trades and Musgrove isn't worth a blue chipper or multiple 50+ V guys.

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PIT has a great eye on pitching talent & in the past not being able to develop it. I`ve always advocated that we need to capitalize on this. We can get great talent on the cheap. When it comes to PIT pitchers we can`t look at what they have done but rather what they can become. Cole & Glasnow never developed until they left PIT. HOU & TB didn`t look at what they did but what they could become & paid great dividends. It would`ve been great if we could`ve seen it picked them up. Although this will not always be, now w/ the new pitching coach so maybe this will be our last opportunity. W/ Sheldon at the helm we could maybe find a good trade w/ PIT rebuilding

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Understand, our spare parts are only worth another team's spare parts. Pick the 259th player in their system, that is who you would get for the 2 players you mentioned. 

 

While you'd obviously have to give up more than that, I don't think it's super far off and it would be closer than that to giving up, say, Larnach.

 

Musgrove right now is eerily similar to Odorizzi entering 2018. They're similar types of pitchers where they only throw low to mid 90s but have strikeout stuff. They would both be 28 at the start of the season, and both have two more years left of pitching under arbitration before they'd get the QO or hit free agency. They had similar numbers, where Musgrove had a slightly better year leading up to it, granted it was only 8 starts, and Odorizzi had the better career numbers.

 

And all it took to get Odorizzi was a mid level prospect in Jermaine Palacios, who was only about the 15th-20th ranked prospect in our system. The Pirates have gotten burned so badly in trades recently that they'll probably want a little more than that, but I think someone like Blayne Enlow if they want a pitcher, maybe Wander Javier if they want an infielder or Matt Wallner if they want an outfielder could get it done, or maybe someone even a little lower than that if they want an MLB ready player like Cave, Wade or Thorpe in addition to a prospect.

 

 

 

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While you'd obviously have to give up more than that, I don't think it's super far off and it would be closer than that to giving up, say, Larnach.

 

Musgrove right now is eerily similar to Odorizzi entering 2018. They're similar types of pitchers where they only throw low to mid 90s but have strikeout stuff. They would both be 28 at the start of the season, and both have two more years left of pitching under arbitration before they'd get the QO or hit free agency. They had similar numbers, where Musgrove had a slightly better year leading up to it, granted it was only 8 starts, and Odorizzi had the better career numbers.

 

And all it took to get Odorizzi was a mid level prospect in Jermaine Palacios, who was only about the 15th-20th ranked prospect in our system. The Pirates have gotten burned so badly in trades recently that they'll probably want a little more than that, but I think someone like Blayne Enlow if they want a pitcher, maybe Wander Javier if they want an infielder or Matt Wallner if they want an outfielder could get it done, or maybe someone even a little lower than that if they want an MLB ready player like Cave, Wade or Thorpe in addition to a prospect.

Very smart post!

 

As much as Rosario has meant to the Twins, and as much as I love him as fan, the reality of the market and covid finanalcial repercussions makes him a 1yr rental for trade value. Now, that could mean something for tne right team. But tbe return would be, at best, a projection arm. Unless he is packaged with someone else for maybe a better arm.

 

Despite Pittsburgh re-building and a perception they have "given" arms away, Sheton knows the Twins system. It's possible they could go for something like Cave...talented and under control...and something else. Depends on the GM. But I'm thinking they would be looking at something along the lines of Larnach and Enlow. I think I'd make that move were I the Twins. A quality move that "hurts" usually means it's fair to both sides.

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