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  • Could Another Starter Debut for Minnesota this Year?


    Ted Schwerzler

    With the Minnesota Twins all but eliminated from postseason contention at this point, they could play out the string by getting some young players a bit more acclimated. There’s virtually no one left to promote from Triple-A St. Paul at this point, but starting pitcher Simeon Woods Richardson may make sense.

     

    Image courtesy of Rob Thompson, St. Paul Saints

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    Last season, the Twins relied relatively heavily on Bailey Ober as a regular starting rotation arm. Then after acquiring Joe Ryan for aging-slugger Nelson Cruz, the former Rays pitcher wound up making five starts down the stretch for Rocco Baldelli’s club. There’s not time for either of those two exposure levels, but Simeon Woods Richardson could be worth giving a turn to.

    Logistically, there are a few things to work through. The St. Paul Saints regular season schedule goes through a final home game on September 28. They’ll obviously need arms to make those starts, and while they aren’t lined up for a postseason berth, the goal isn’t to minimize those games. There’s also the reality that Woods Richardson doesn’t currently have a spot on the Minnesota 40-man roster. That’s more than easily worked around, but would generate an increase in pay and start his Major League service time.

    From an individual perspective, it’s hard to suggest that Woods Richardson hasn’t earned the opportunity. Acquired by the Twins from Toronto when they sent Jose Berrios north of the border, the former second-round pick has a 2.93 ERA this season between Double and Triple-A. Only five of his starts have come with the Saints, but Woods Richardson owns a strong 9.7 K/9 and a manageable 3.0 BB/9.

    If there’s concern about a workload, the most bringing Woods Richardson to the Twins would add is an additional turn. Minnesota plays through October 5th, and should they wait to give him a single game, he could start in the season’s final series against the Chicago White Sox. Pitching just 53 1/3 innings last year after playing for Team USA in the Olympics, Woods Richardson has built back up to 95 1/3 innings this year and did throw 106 2/3 innings as an 18-year-old in the Mets system during 2019.

    There’s certainly no urgency to push Woods Richardson up a level, and we’re hardly going to learn much from a single start. That said, he should be expected to contribute next season, and given the amount of depth Minnesota needed this year, his having knowledge of The Show this offseason could benefit his preparation.

    You’d probably be hard-pressed to find a scenario where Woods Richardson is in the Twins Opening Day rotation to start 2023. This is not like Ryan starting on Opening Day coming off just five starts. You could make a good case that he’ll generate at least ten starts for Minnesota in 2023, however, and giving him a look with a few months to prepare for what that looks like seems reasonable.

    While the Twins were in the division race through the bulk of the season, even leading it most of the way, making the most out of the final games should be the goal. There’s not really a feel-good organizational guy to get an opportunity for, so showcasing the young talent and allowing them further to assert themselves could be a good way to put a bow on things.

     

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    Another interesting question, Ted.  

    Biggest reason to not add him is if he didn't have to be added to the 40-man until 2023.  Checked and see that he was a 2018 draft pick, so needs to be added this November.  That eliminates that excuse, so what the heck Twins...bring him up for that one game.  Heck, maybe he and Varland could get back-to-back starts and we would get a good glimpse of the Twins future, perhaps near future.

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    I like this idea. Give him a start. It's not doing anything drastic to his service time since he likely won't be in the rotation to start 2023 anyways. Let him get the feel and experience of a big league game and be that much more motivated to attack the offseason and come into spring training ready to steal someone's job. I don't see what it could hurt to let him finish the Saints season and then make a start against Chicago to end the season. 

    Overall it's time to turn things over to Varland, Ronny, Ober, Winder, Ryan, Gray this season. Bundy has fulfilled his role, but I don't need to see him start anymore games. Archer's season should be over. Be careful with Gray coming back from his hammy cuz there's no reason not to be, but the rest of the starts should go to young guys who will be part of the future. Don't care about Ws or stats. Get them some experience.

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    1 hour ago, Blyleven2011 said:

    Good idea  , would be nice to get  SWR exposure in the bjgs  and added to the 40 man roster sooner than in the off season  to protect from rule 5 draft , .....

    Gee !  who to dfa to clear a spot ,,

    That's a hard one ,,, the fans would really miss pagan  ...

    Could move Buxton, Mahle or Polanco to the 60 day IL. They're done anyway.

    Chris Archer, Billy Hamilton, Jake Cave, Sandy Leon, Aaron Sanchez, Derek Rodriguez, Emilio Pagan. 

    Plenty of spots can be opened up easy.

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    I think having him and Varland up make sense.  Especially if Gray misses a start.  Varland, Woods Richardson, Bundy, Ryan, and Ober or Winder to fill out the rotation for the rest of the year. maybe even make it a 6 man rotation....

    I do think there is a lot of value in getting some time in the show.  its even better when its not in a pressure packed environment like a race for the division title.  

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    20 minutes ago, Brandon said:

    I think having him and Varland up make sense.  Especially if Gray misses a start.  Varland, Woods Richardson, Bundy, Ryan, and Ober or Winder to fill out the rotation for the rest of the year. maybe even make it a 6 man rotation....

    I do think there is a lot of value in getting some time in the show.  its even better when its not in a pressure packed environment like a race for the division title.  

    IMO Ryan, Ober, Winder, Henriquez, and SWR gets all the rest of the starts, Maybe throw gray in for one or two. But I think he is traded after the year so don't really care about him getting any more.

     

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    35 minutes ago, TwinsDr2021 said:

    IMO Ryan, Ober, Winder, Henriquez, and SWR gets all the rest of the starts, Maybe throw gray in for one or two. But I think he is traded after the year so don't really care about him getting any more.

     

    Why would they trade Gray?  His $12M team option seems like a no brainer and he should be realistically in line to starting Opening Day next season.

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    1 minute ago, SwainZag said:

    Why would they trade Gray?  His $12M team option seems like a no brainer and he should be realistically in line to starting Opening Day next season.

    I suppose the Twins could trade him to try and get somebody else a tier up? Whomever it is, the Twins would need to have the new guy pitch more than 4-5 innings per start to do any better than Gray this year anyway. So, theoretically, I suppose? I'm with you, though. I certainly don't see it happening unless Gray makes it clear he doesn't want to be here (possible.)

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    14 minutes ago, SwainZag said:

    Why would they trade Gray?  His $12M team option seems like a no brainer and he should be realistically in line to starting Opening Day next season.

    It is just a feeling I have that he isn't buying into the system. I could be completely wrong on that. But why spend 12 million on a guy that averaged less than 5 innings a start on the hope that a pitcher that usually get injured doesn't get injured?. I think they could get similiar results from one of the other six starters that have. Ryan, Mahle, Maeda, Ober, Winder, Varland or possibly SWR.

    Maybe a team like SF, Seattle, Houston, Toronto that seem to have a little different pitching philosophy would take him and a Larnach for example to fill a more needed void. (outfield, Catcher, something) or use that saving on extending Correa or another SS.

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    18 minutes ago, bean5302 said:

    I suppose the Twins could trade him to try and get somebody else a tier up? Whomever it is, the Twins would need to have the new guy pitch more than 4-5 innings per start to do any better than Gray this year anyway. So, theoretically, I suppose? I'm with you, though. I certainly don't see it happening unless Gray makes it clear he doesn't want to be here (possible.)

    I don't see the twins moving off the philosophy of limiting pitcher exposure to the other teams lineup, if anything I see them moving the other way next year, more piggy backing or starter games to let the main pitcher get deeper into the game.

    For example start a Jax/Varland for two and then bring in a Winder/Ober for 5 innings and then only having to use two back end relief pitchers a game. Because them using 4/5 every night for one innings can't be the solution next year. Maybe they will let guys go further if they are on, but Ober/Winder/SWR for example will still be on a inning limit (I would think) after the innings they pitched this year.

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    25 minutes ago, TwinsDr2021 said:

    I don't see the twins moving off the philosophy of limiting pitcher exposure to the other teams lineup, if anything I see them moving the other way next year, more piggy backing or starter games to let the main pitcher get deeper into the game.

    For example start a Jax/Varland for two and then bring in a Winder/Ober for 5 innings and then only having to use two back end relief pitchers a game. Because them using 4/5 every night for one innings can't be the solution next year. Maybe they will let guys go further if they are on, but Ober/Winder/SWR for example will still be on a inning limit (I would think) after the innings they pitched this year.

    I don't even understand the Twins' philosophy at this point after they let Ryan go multiple 7+ inning starts in a row.

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    1 hour ago, bean5302 said:

    I don't even understand the Twins' philosophy at this point after they let Ryan go multiple 7+ inning starts in a row.

    Maybe the front office is reading twins daily and realize how frustrated real twins fans are with their plan .... 

     Doubtful  but Just Maybe ...

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    4 hours ago, bean5302 said:

    I don't even understand the Twins' philosophy at this point after they let Ryan go multiple 7+ inning starts in a row.

    I get that you're pretty much speaking rhetorically. But when I read your comment, I couldn't help but spill out thoughts.

    You didn't ask me, but...

    I GET the Twins philosophy. We don't have a mythical and proverbial ACE like Verlander to lead our staff. And to be fair, there are very few potential HOF ACES that grace many staffs. But we will look for and hopefully develop at least a quality #1. And we will try to fill the rotation with a couple of good #2's and a solid #5, all the while allowing our young SP to rotate in as depth is required. And unless you have an established STUD...again very rare...to lead your staff, numbers indicate we are best letting our quality starters go 5-7 innings and turn it over to the pen. Ideally, with a clean inning to begin. 

    Honestly, kinda sounds smart! Except, if you have either a crappy pen, OR, a pen based on nothing but 1 IP relievers. Then you're just screwed over a season.

    From what I can deduce, this was, more or less, the PLAN. Additionally, as alluded to, the PLAN was to allow the SP time to build up strength, and experience for younger arms, and then let themselves extend themselves to more 6 and 7 IP games. 

    Any comment attributed to Gray about being disappointed at not pitching longer was explained by himself when offered the opportunity and not being able to do so at one point. His response was he needed to pitch better when given the chance.

    The practical theory that permeates MLB at this time is 5-6IP by a starter and a strong bullpen. The Twins blew the strong BP right out of the gate.

    IDK that NOT allowing SP to go longer early in the year and "save" their arms to pitch longer makes sense. Maybe it does for a young arm still developing and learning. And I understand a RP coming in to a clean inning makes sense as well. But unless your SP is going to face the heart of the order a 3rd time, maybe a little more allowance should be shown earlier in the season. I'm not sure " waiting" decreases any sort of injury or production factor.

    A better built pen makes a difference regardless.

     

     

     

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    I doubt they trade Gray in the offseason. They have a hard enough time acquiring pitching and he'll return just as much if they trade him at the deadline next summer.

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