Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Reminder, Pitchers Spring Training Stats Mean ...

Despite the widespread understanding that statistics in spring training are basically meaningless, some folks are starting to panic about the Twins starting pitching. Its not that we shouldn't be worried about the starting pitching, its that Worley, Pelfrey and Correia's spring trainings are the least of the worries.

Just as a reminder, Joe Nathan has got lit up last year (and the year before) and pitched well during the season.  By contrast, Liam Hendricks had a great spring training last year. He got five starts, each progressively worse, until he was sent to AAA in early May after lasting only 2 innings. Liriano and Blackburn both had great spring trainings as well. Those weren't reflected in their regular season results.

Here is how the pitching staff shapes up headed into the last 10 days. Each starter should get a couple more starts.

Set Starters

Those three off-season acquisitions are really the key to the Twins 2013. None of them have the stuff of aces. Worley and Pelfrey can be in the top half of the rotation. At best, Correia is a solid number four starter. But all three need to be successful in those roles for the Twins to have any chance of contending.

Fourth and Fifth Starters 

Diamond (DL)

If there are no setbacks, Diamond will be ready around the middle of April. The Twins will need a fifth starter at least once before then. DeVries, Hendricks, Walters and Hernandez have all been stretched out to multiple innings. DeVries and Hendricks appear to be the leading contenders for the last couple spots. Deduno's World Baseball Classic performance has made him a wild card. He is probably ahead of Walters and Hernandez, but it will still take a stumble by DeVries or Hendricks for him to win a spot in the rotation.

Established Bullpen

Swarzak (DL)

These are the only really established guys in the bullpen. Swarzak will not be ready for the start of the season and will need to get stretched out in order to be a long guy. That opens a spot for one of the guys in the starter competition to get a job in long relief.

Four Remaining spots


There are 10 pitchers (including three guys who lose the competition for the rotation). Hernandez, Deduno or  Walters could win a spot as long relievers. DeVries might also be in this competition if he doesn't win a rotation spot. I think Hendricks will be at AAA if he isn't starting.

That leaves seven pitchers competing for the remaining 3 spots. Burnett had a spot locked down but he needs to show he is ready between now and opening day. Likewise Fien.  Pressly has pitched well and probably has a spot if that continues.

That would leave no room for Robertson, Roenicke, Wood and Perdomo. Wood and Roenicke are out of options and would likely be lost if they aren't on the roster. Robertson is a lefty specialist who would free Duensing for longer middle relief roles. Perdomo is on the minor league roster already, so he may be the longest of long shots.

The problem here is that it doesn't really look like anyone has forced themselves onto the roster. That doesn't bode well for the bullpen this season. But there is a lot of depth and the final decisions will likely be difficult and may not get made until the very end of spring training. The pitcher's relative statistics today won't have anything to do with it. It will be how they are pitching a week from now.

1 comment:

Jim H said...

I think Deduno has probably moved himself ahead of most of his competition. He will get a start or 2 before ST ends. I think he makes the rotation, DeVries gets the long reliever spot. Deduno may not be the answer but he has looked good against pretty good competition, with a quite a bit of pressure. I am pretty sure the Twins would like Hendriks to make the rotation, but I don't see an opening to start the year.

I don't know who the other relievers will be. I think you are right about Pressly. Hernandez starts at AAA. One of Wood or Roenicke gets waived.

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