Thursday, March 15, 2012

Twins Bullpen Competition - Updated 3/15

March 15 comments: The Twins sent several players over to the minor league camp. Hendricks still being in camp is a bit of a surprise, but with reports that Baker's arm is acting up we may see some of the candidates for sixth starter kept around for a while. So the decision to send Diamond over to the minor leagues may indicate they are not high on him. On the other hand, it could be an indication that they want to stretch him out as a starter and he wasn't going to get that opportunity in the major league camp with innings going to Doyle, Hendricks and Swarzak as potential replacements for Baker.

Guerra, Robertson and Oliveros are all young talents who are not ready to take a spot yet. None of them are guys who were going to be used as mop-up pitchers in the big leagues.

Manship, Waldrop and Gray moved up in the rankings. They were in games early and pitched pretty well. Burnett and Doyle dropped after bad outings. Doyle is being used as a starter and his role bullpen role, if any, is as a long relief mopup guy. Burnett has talent, but he probably isn't going to get too many more chances to show he can use it with all the other pitchers in camp.

Below is an updated list of the pitchers who are in competition for Twins bullpen spots.

Here is a ranking as of (March 15, 2012):






Sent to minors 3/15/2012:
A. Thompson

I will continue to update this as decisions get made and performance changes the rankings.

March 13 introduction: I think we can expect this list to start getting shorter soon as players are sent over to the minor league camp. And its important to remember, its not the first two weeks, its the last couple weeks of spring training when things really matter. Right now pitchers are still getting their innings in and working on stuff. And they are facing a lot of minor league hitters. Results may or may not reflect how well the coaching staff thinks they are doing.

March 13 comments: This list is still based largely on last season, not spring training performances. Burnett had a terrible outing today, but he still has a couple weeks to work through that. Dumatrait ended the year with the Twins. Someone is going to have to beat him out for a job. Its likely someone will. Burton is ahead of those two only because there has been some buzz about how well he has done so far. Maloney has been doing well, but Diamond, Doyle and Waldrop are ahead of him simply because of their status in the organization. All three are on the roster. I expect Hendricks and Guerra will head over to the minor league camp. In short, this is a VERY preliminary look.


Jim H said...

I would put Diamond in the group likely to head over to the minor league camp. I think they view him as a starter, for now. He will need to get stretched out. I think Robertson goes over to the minor league camp soon as well. He and Geurra haven't been above AA and were not that dominant there, although Geurra did much better in relief.

Your basic thoughts are right. The back half of spring training is more important than the front. Some of these guys may of been brought in as potential minor league depth. I think the guys who have only appeared in the last couple of innings of spring training games will head over to minor league camp soon. As will Gutierrez. His appearances in ST games have been ok but it looks like the Twins have things for him to work on.

Right now I would guess that Maloney has a leg up on Dumatrait for the 3rd lefthander. I will not be surprised if Burnett begins the year at AAA.

It is pretty hard to guess who the right handers in the bullpen after Capps will be. I believe Swarzak, I wouldn't wager much on anyone else at this point. Maybe Burton is ahead of some of the others. Also maybe not. We don't hear about bullpen, drills, and live batting practice but they are likely as least as important as the games to this point.

TT said...

Jim -

You certainly hit the intial decisions right. I would be surprised if Gutierrez gets sent over early. I think he will end up back at AAA, but I think they will want to see how he does as competition improves. Of course, they have a LOT of guys to look at so who knows.

I agree that just looking at game results is pretty thin evidence. There are a number of guys, like Vasquez, who we haven't seen much yet. That may be because they are not getting consideration or it may be because they have experience against major league hitting.

Anonymous said...

how does Tim Shibuya look? Where do you project him to be after his Appy pitcher of the year performance?

TT said...

I have never seen Tim Shibuya pitch and wouldn't be able to evaluate his potential even if I had.

Shibuya was a 23rd round draft choice last year. I think that tells you more about his future than his numbers at Elizabethton.

The Appalachian League is a long, long way from the major leagues and Shibuya is basically the same age as Delios Guerra and Liam Hendricks. He has a long way to go to get on the radar screen.

Jim H said...

March 16

I agree with your top 4. I think Swarzak could get stretched out if Baker continues to hurt. I like Henriks but I suspect he would benefit from being in AAA for awhile.

Assuming 3 open bullpen spots, I think the real competition starts now. They should have about 8(more or less) real candidates for those spots by now. The remaining candidates should get 6 or appearances from now to the end of spring training. The filler guys should be gone(minor league camp or released) within a week.

I suppose they may keep a guy or two as insurance for Baker(Henriks) and maybe Doyle sticks around for awhile whether he is a candidate or not.

The likely real candidates probably include your next five after the seeming locks. I would guess Gray, Bulger and maybe a couple more. I don't think Guiterez is a real candidate though the Twins might keep him around more than a week. I think Burnett is a real candidate but I still think he ends up at AAA.

TT said...

Jim -

I think anyone who isn't a real candidate is gone after today's split squad games. The Twins have a day off on Tuesday and the starters are going to start to get stretched out. They aren't going to have opportunities for guys who aren't going to make the club.

I agree Doyle may be an exception, but I wouldn't be surprised if they offered him back with the hope they will get turned down. As for Gutierrez, I think he may be a candidate depending whether he is making progress. But I won't be surprised if/when he was sent to the minors.

I think we will know more tomorrow.

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