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Starting Pitching


Crackedfungo
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For those thinking that I am going to jump on the free agent or trade train for SP.....I am NOT.  Everyone on the board was clamoring for new 'proven' pitchers  (by trade or free agency).  In fact, Frankie Montas was on the top of many's list for a trade.  Take a look at his performance since the trade, and the MRI now being run on his shoulder; sounds like Mahle, or a lesser outcome than Paddack is possible.  While Luis Castillo has panned out, clearly Motas has not (nor has Mahle BTW).  Moreover, when many on the board were screaming for Stroman (and others) in FA over the past two offseasons, the outcomes on each of these 'high value' targets has been mixed (to poor) at best.  Rodan for next year - nothing but a crap shoot in terms of repeat performance for high $$$ - and a history of injuries.  Verlander and other 'sure things' are just never going to happen, as we aren't a 'destination' for these rare SPs.  Also, with all the 'attempts' as I will refer to them this year; Gray, Paddack, and Mahle (by FA or Trade), I don't think outcomes are near as predictable as many believe (we are 1/3 here so far).  In fact, I would guess 50/50% for SP in the 2nd tier (non-'Ace', Cole Verlander, Kershaw) on performing to contract and expectations. 

 

In short, this necessitates the need for Twins management to develop a steady stream of their own annually, and find a solid #2-4 every 1-2 years (and hope for some 'luck').  Additionally, it requires the team to better manage injuries and learn how to manage SP......which we are horrendously poor at doing.  Outside of Santana, and Liriano for 6 months, I don't recall an ACE ever pitching for the Twins (and none have every signed here in almost 60 years).  So, can we stop with the fantasy every year that consists of us signing a top 10 ACE?  It is just ridiculous, and NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.  Feel free to FIRE AWAY.....  

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I guess what are you trying to say? Every team and their fans were all wrong on the pitchers you listed who disappointed this year? Ok, cool.

Rodon has been awesome. Cueto has been pretty good too. Those two were tied to the Twins quite a bit this past offseason and it sucks we didn't get them. We don't know how close we were to signing all of the starting pitchers this offseason so I really dont understand the purpose of your post. Starting pitching will always win games in the postseason so the team should always be aggressive in the offseason.

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2 hours ago, ICTwin25 said:

I guess what are you trying to say? Every team and their fans were all wrong on the pitchers you listed who disappointed this year? Ok, cool.

Rodon has been awesome. Cueto has been pretty good too. Those two were tied to the Twins quite a bit this past offseason and it sucks we didn't get them. We don't know how close we were to signing all of the starting pitchers this offseason so I really dont understand the purpose of your post. Starting pitching will always win games in the postseason so the team should always be aggressive in the offseason.

Pretty simple.  We are NOT getting a top ACE in free agency to come to MN....period.  So, the route they have taken, some 2nd-3rd tier options like a Gray, or trading from surplus for prospective 2s (but mostly 3s or 4s) is the only small market path that is realistic.  Beyond that, they absolutely MUST develop their next Johan Santana and learn how to manage this type pitcher, and all other types to maximize results.  To that end, I agree with another thread that an ACE would never be enticed to be managed by Baldelli, nor compelled to sign with the Twins.  So, we are left with trading for a gem (Santana) and/or developing them.....Why was that really that so confusing?  Moreover, the more we keep throwing older, previously accomplished pitchers in the way, the less opportunity we will have to see what we have from the minors.   (As an example from the RPs:  Where would Duran be with Taylor Rogers still gobbling up innings?  I said in April on this site that Duran would have better numbers than Rogers by the end of the year, and I do believe Rogers leaving, the injury to Alcala, and the removal of last years riff-raff is the only reason Duran was provided an early opportunity that he maximized).  I would like to see several of the young SPs  get some time up in the next 3 years to see what they have (more so than I would support rolling the dice on a Cueto - even for 1-2 seasons - this team is not championship quality).

 

BTW: In another league (AL vs NL), and on the Twins (with their archaic handling of pitching), I am not sure Rodon or Cueto has the same year.  There are simply different variables (and climate) at play during the year, which may cause a very different result.  You cannot equate performance in one place at a point in time, with another, as if it is a SURE THING.  It is just speculative....Lastly, if you keep stabbing for an ACE every year (or every other), you end up with many albatross contracts that prevent you from signing another prospective ACE, or your own core in a small market.  That does not ever enter the thought process of the rubes beating the drum for signing a Top SP after every season; but is a very real consideration.  

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13 hours ago, Crackedfungo said:

For those thinking that I am going to jump on the free agent or trade train for SP.....I am NOT.  Everyone on the board was clamoring for new 'proven' pitchers  (by trade or free agency).  In fact, Frankie Montas was on the top of many's list for a trade.  Take a look at his performance since the trade, and the MRI now being run on his shoulder; sounds like Mahle, or a lesser outcome than Paddack is possible.  While Luis Castillo has panned out, clearly Motas has not (nor has Mahle BTW).  Moreover, when many on the board were screaming for Stroman (and others) in FA over the past two offseasons, the outcomes on each of these 'high value' targets has been mixed (to poor) at best.  Rodan for next year - nothing but a crap shoot in terms of repeat performance for high $$$ - and a history of injuries.  Verlander and other 'sure things' are just never going to happen, as we aren't a 'destination' for these rare SPs.  Also, with all the 'attempts' as I will refer to them this year; Gray, Paddack, and Mahle (by FA or Trade), I don't think outcomes are near as predictable as many believe (we are 1/3 here so far).  In fact, I would guess 50/50% for SP in the 2nd tier (non-'Ace', Cole Verlander, Kershaw) on performing to contract and expectations. 

 

In short, this necessitates the need for Twins management to develop a steady stream of their own annually, and find a solid #2-4 every 1-2 years (and hope for some 'luck').  Additionally, it requires the team to better manage injuries and learn how to manage SP......which we are horrendously poor at doing.  Outside of Santana, and Liriano for 6 months, I don't recall an ACE ever pitching for the Twins (and none have every signed here in almost 60 years).  So, can we stop with the fantasy every year that consists of us signing a top 10 ACE?  It is just ridiculous, and NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.  Feel free to FIRE AWAY.....  

Depends on your definition of ace but Santana was a legit ace, Liriano occasionally pitched like one, Radke was much better than people remember.  But, yeah, aces are really rare. But there's a long way between "sign only aces" and "create a competent pitching staff." Pitching is hard but the FO was brought in to replicate the 2000s Twins' success, a decade in which only 10% of starts were made by free agents.

So far, they've completely failed to do that so we have a the pitching failures of the last two years.

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True ace pitching is rare. I’m not even sure that such a pitcher can be developed. That said, we do need to develop legitimate major league pitching, pitching that will give us 5-7 quality innings, and maybe the occasional 8 and perhaps even a rare 9. But, the trick is not just to develop starting pitching but to also develop, maybe even more importantly, quality, durable relief pitching. Or, to pay for that on the open market. To me, it’s not about having an ace, nice as it would be, it’s about having starting pitching that keeps you in games, and then an ‘ace’ BP that will shut the door.

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I think, in a healthy world, the Twins have enough starting pitchers to win their division next year. They probably have all the relievers they need to staff the bullpen. They don't need to grab someone just as filler for a change. I'm not suggesting they should turn down any gold that could fall in their lap.

If anything, I could see other teams coming to them looking for pitchers. But I also, wouldn't give anything away.

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Next year is going to get interesting with the rotation, they have money to spend but I'm not sure it will be on a starter.  

Mahle/ Gray/ Maeda/ Ryan is on paper the best rotation they have had in a long time.  Winder/ Ober/ Varland/ Dobnak is good back of the rotation depth.

Lots of betting of returns to health but they have spent a lot of prospect capital on that top 3.

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8 hours ago, gman said:

the Twins have enough starting pitchers to win their division next year. They probably have all the relievers they need to staff the bullpen.

How do you think the "healthy" Twins pitching staff lines up against the Cleveland staff? Bieber, McKenzie, Quantrill, Plesac, Civale, and Morris are going to be pushed by all of Espino, Williams, Bibee, and Allen plus the potential to move Hentges into the rotation. Cleveland is pretty stacked with arms for their rotation and they have the best bullpen in baseball. Ryan looks pretty good for Minnesota. It should be interesting to watch how each team develops next year.

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8 hours ago, tony&rodney said:

How do you think the "healthy" Twins pitching staff lines up against the Cleveland staff? Bieber, McKenzie, Quantrill, Plesac, Civale, and Morris are going to be pushed by all of Espino, Williams, Bibee, and Allen plus the potential to move Hentges into the rotation. Cleveland is pretty stacked with arms for their rotation and they have the best bullpen in baseball. Ryan looks pretty good for Minnesota. It should be interesting to watch how each team develops next year.

I think the more interesting question is how will the Twins hitters line up against that pitching staff, and will the Twins pitchers be able to hold the Cleveland and Chicago hitters.

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1 hour ago, Craig Arko said:

I think the more interesting question is how will the Twins hitters line up against that pitching staff, and will the Twins pitchers be able to hold the Cleveland and Chicago hitters.

Might be.

How would you answer your questions?

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I don't think the problem was Archer and Bundy, but that they were in the rotation back to back, and that they didn't have the long-relief needed to compensate. I don't think either is that awful to be a #5 starter. Both did give us some good games. For me, the issue is building a better BP. One that works with the starters and usage plan they have. I hope they rethink and tweak that usage plan, but mostly, I really want them to build THE bp. They aren't going to go out there and buy the best starting pitching and they aren't going to spend their farm on it, either. So, you stock the starting staff with pitchers who aren't going to go long, but will (hopefully) keep us in games. The answer is the BP, not the starters.

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Twins always play "musical pitchers". So do most of the other teams. Only sure thing is that the 2023 staff will be far different than the 2022 staff. Whether or not it will be a better staff;who knows? Failvey/Levine sure don't.

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2 hours ago, Squirrel said:

I don't think the problem was Archer and Bundy, but that they were in the rotation back to back, and that they didn't have the long-relief needed to compensate. I don't think either is that awful to be a #5 starter. Both did give us some good games. For me, the issue is building a better BP. One that works with the starters and usage plan they have. I hope they rethink and tweak that usage plan, but mostly, I really want them to build THE bp. They aren't going to go out there and buy the best starting pitching and they aren't going to spend their farm on it, either. So, you stock the starting staff with pitchers who aren't going to go long, but will (hopefully) keep us in games. The answer is the BP, not the starters.

I agree totally, the Twins have Mahle, Gray, Ryan, Ober, Varland, Maeda, Winder, and a recovering Paddack. I think that improving on this would take a much bigger splash than they're likely to make, but rolling with these guys is going to require a revamped bullpen with guys who can cover more innings.

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40 minutes ago, Unwinder said:

I agree totally, the Twins have Mahle, Gray, Ryan, Ober, Varland, Maeda, Winder, and a recovering Paddack. I think that improving on this would take a much bigger splash than they're likely to make, but rolling with these guys is going to require a revamped bullpen with guys who can cover more innings.

Paddack had surgery in mid May as I recall so expecting him back before mid August is aggressive. It could happen and everybody will probably have a better feel for it by the start of the season, but I don't bank on UCL repair guys returning before 15 months.

For example, Maeda seemed to be on the path to return in 13-13.5 months, even with a brace they were hoping would get him back faster.

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SP options have greatly improved over the past few years for the Twins. 2 years ago only had one SP on contract after the season, last year only Ryan and Ober were sure SPs after the season ended. As mentioned before, next year, Twins have Mahle, Gray, Ryan, Ober, Maeda, Winder, and Varland. SWR will hopefully be pushing for an opportunity, Festa on the way up-may be late season callup like Varland this year and Paddack may be available late in year. Maybe Dobnak gets back on track, is Smeltzer back with Twins organization next year,

I see 3 solid options for SP for next year-Ryan, Gray, Ober. Then 3 with health questions-Mahle, Maeda, and WInder, then 3 on the way up- Varland, SWR, and Festa. I would say SP is in best shape it has been in, in the past few years going into the offseason. 

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4 minutes ago, 4twinsJA said:

SP options have greatly improved over the past few years for the Twins. 2 years ago only had one SP on contract after the season, last year only Ryan and Ober were sure SPs after the season ended. As mentioned before, next year, Twins have Mahle, Gray, Ryan, Ober, Maeda, Winder, and Varland. SWR will hopefully be pushing for an opportunity, Festa on the way up-may be late season callup like Varland this year and Paddack may be available late in year. Maybe Dobnak gets back on track, is Smeltzer back with Twins organization next year,

I see 3 solid options for SP for next year-Ryan, Gray, Ober. Then 3 with health questions-Mahle, Maeda, and WInder, then 3 on the way up- Varland, SWR, and Festa. I would say SP is in best shape it has been in, in the past few years going into the offseason. 

I would hope they have improved since the Twins gutted their farm and traded away two of their best players to get the new options.

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I understand the philosophy about limiting a starter to two rounds through the opposing lineup. Each batter has had two AB's to home in on the pitches, the starter will be beginning to tire, and a reliever who is fresh and has a different repertoire is more likely to succeed. But if that's how it's going to be done a deep bullpen is a necessity. Having another reliever would be a plus, but MLB rules limit the number of pitchers a team can carry. So if a starter routinely gets pulled after 4 to 5 innings and 60-70 pitches, would pitching on 3 days rest instead of 4 be feasible? That means more innings from the 4 best starters (if they can stay healthy) and it frees up another spot in the bullpen. If/when the rotation needs an extra day of rest then send a reliever to AAA and bring up a starter for a start or two, then send the starter back down the next day and call up another reliever. I can't be the first one to have this thought, but I wonder if it's ever been seriously considered by MLB teams.

Of course the pitchers need to be good no matter what system is in place. Gotta draft, trade for, and sign the right guys and have the right coaches and player development people in place. Simple but not easy.

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Carlos Rodon, or someone of that level, or just let the rotation be. Need someone better than Mahle or I don't see the point in bringing anyone else in. Mahle, Gray, Maeda, Ryan, all the other young guys is a more preferable rotation than adding any Bundy or Archer types. Either get someone who slots in ahead of those 4 or concentrate on the bullpen and lineup only.

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On 9/18/2022 at 8:36 AM, Squirrel said:

True ace pitching is rare. I’m not even sure that such a pitcher can be developed. That said, we do need to develop legitimate major league pitching, pitching that will give us 5-7 quality innings, and maybe the occasional 8 and perhaps even a rare 9. But, the trick is not just to develop starting pitching but to also develop, maybe even more importantly, quality, durable relief pitching. Or, to pay for that on the open market. To me, it’s not about having an ace, nice as it would be, it’s about having starting pitching that keeps you in games, and then an ‘ace’ BP that will shut the door.

It is rare, but teams that don't have it are never true contenders. I would argue that some of it is luck(drafting, developing, trading) for an ace. That said, it is needed if you ever want to be a favorite or a team with more than a chip and a chair. 

When is the last time a team won the WS without 1 or even 2 ace type pitchers? I just cannot remember one as long as I have watched baseball. Heck, to even get there you need one. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Battle ur tail off said:

It is rare, but teams that don't have it are never true contenders. I would argue that some of it is luck(drafting, developing, trading) for an ace. That said, it is needed if you ever want to be a favorite or a team with more than a chip and a chair. 

When is the last time a team won the WS without 1 or even 2 ace type pitchers? I just cannot remember one as long as I have watched baseball. Heck, to even get there you need one. 

 

 

I guess we are back to what is an ace? A pitcher can have an ace-like season, but isn’t an ace, and there is no way to really predict when and who. We haven’t had an ace since Santana. And we didn’t win with him. I don’t think it guarantees winning to have an ace. Berrios isn’t and never was an ace. Yes, we need more than 4s and 5s, but having an ace is not what we need to win. Good pitching, yes. And a rock solid, dependable, shut ‘em down BP.

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7 minutes ago, Squirrel said:

I guess we are back to what is an ace? A pitcher can have an ace-like season, but isn’t an ace, and there is no way to really predict when and who. We haven’t had an ace since Santana. And we didn’t win with him. I don’t think it guarantees winning to have an ace. Berrios isn’t and never was an ace. Yes, we need more than 4s and 5s, but having an ace is not what we need to win. Good pitching, yes. And a rock solid, dependable, shut ‘em down BP.

Ace is a slippery term.  Got a World Series winner?  Best guy on the starting staff is a bona fide ace!  Same guy on a different team?  Maybe not.  I don't personally find the side discussion useful.

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Kenta Maeda is probably not going to pitch to his 2020 numbers in 2023. He is going into his final season, has plenty of wear and tear, and is getting up there in age now. He might be that long man candidate out of the bullpen that we are talking about. Expect little, and be pleasantly surprised, 

Sonny Gray and Tyler Mahle are also going in to their final seasons, so by the logic of trading Rogers and Berrios, I would expect one of them to be traded this offseason, and expect the other to be either unhappy or hurt. 

Yu Darvish is absolutely pitching his guts out right now. He would also be going into his final season in 2023 if the Twins had offered that sixth season before 2018. 

Winder, Ober, and Varland will probably all be competing for spots out of spring training, but it’s yet to be seen with any of them. Counting on all three to make the rotation is wishful thinking. 

Joe Ryan is under control and not too shabby. So there’s that.

So that’s two starting pitchers that I count as of now that you can write down in ink, for the rotation, heading into 2023. Joe Ryan, and one from the younger guy group.

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