By the numbers: a body count of the Twins' pitching depth for 2014 and myth busting

The major priority of the Minnesota Twins' General Manager, Terry Ryan, has been to re-build a rotation that has been at the bottom of the major leagues in pretty much every statistical category in 2014.   There is a general agreement that the rotation was pretty much "a mess" in 2013 and needed fixing.  There is also the general impression that the Twins' pen was one of the strengths of the team and it is better left alone.   However, this impression is false because in 2013 the Twins' pen ranked:

17th out of 30 MLB teams as far as ERA goes
17th out of 30 MLB teams as far as FIP goes
17th out of 30 MLB teams as far as SIERA goes
8th out of 30 MLB teams as far as WHIP goes
19th out of 30 MLB teams as far as K% goes

In other words, the Twins' pen, which compared to the Twins' rotation seemed great, when compared to the rest of the major league pens is proven to be average at best. 

Busted myth number one:  The Twins' pen was not great in 2013 and, while it might have been a bright point in 2013 compared to the rest of the team, it does not cut the mustard compared to the rest of league.

There is a lot of room for improvement and I suspect that Terry Ryan will address before Spring Training, since that will go a long way for the Twins to be competitive in 2014.

After the recent additions of new and returning starting pitchers there have been arguments that the Twins have too many starting pitchers and there is a logjam or pitchers on the Twins' roster.

I  thought that it might be a good time to take a breath and look at what the Twins have on their 40-man roster as far as pitching goes, and see whether this argument is true or not.

Here is the Twins' 40 man roster (alphabetically) broken down in groups (players in bold are out of options):

Group A: Starting pitchers with no options signed to sizeable contracts the last 2 seasons.

Kevin Correia (RHSP)
Phil Hughes (RHSP)
Rick Nolasco (RHSP)
Mike Pelfrey (RHSP)

Group B: Relief pitchers with no options signed to sizeable contracts the last 2 seasons or offered arbitration.

Jared Burton (RHRP)
Brian Duensing (LHSP/RP)
Glen Perkins (LHRP)
Anthony Swarzak (RHSP/RP)

 Group C: Starting pitchers with no options with small contacts who played in the majors for more than 3 seasons.

Sam Deduno (RHSP)
Scott Diamond (LHSP)
Vance Worley (RHSP)

Group D: Starting and relief pitchers with options with small contacts who played in the majors for at least one season.

Andrew Albers (LHSP)
Casey Fien (RHRP)
Kyle Gibson (RHSP)
Kris Johnson (LHSP)
Ryan Pressly (RHRP)
Caleb Thielbar (LHRP)
Michael Tonkin (RHRP)

Group E: Starting and relief pitchers with options with small contacts who never  played in the majors.

Logan Darnell (LHSP)
Edgar Ibarra (LHRP)
Trevor May (RHSP)

Broken down this way, the perceived logjam of Twins' staring pitchers becomes pretty clear:

The Twins usually have a 12 man pitching staff.  They currently have 4 starters and 4 relievers (groups A and B) who are pretty much guaranteed a job.  This opens 4 more positions, one in the rotation and 3 in the pen.  If you assume that the Twins value all pitchers in Group C who are out of options, they have the space to find them all a major league job, as well as allow another pitcher, likely from Group D or potentially outside the organization, to gain a rotation or bullpen position.  The rest of the players will provide depth in AAA and be there in case of emergency or potentially be offered in trades to fill additional needs, like position players.

Busted myth number two:  There is no pitching logjam on the Twins' roster.

In other words, the Twins do have a lot of pitching depth in their 40-man roster, but they are not in a logjam situation where they cannot accommodate all their pitchers without options on their 25-man roster.  And this assumes that Samuel Deduno who is recuperating from double (labrum and rotation cuff) shoulder surgery is available to start the season, which is an extremely optimistic approach right now.

While it is too early to name names to complete the rotation and the pen, because changes will likely happen before spring training,  this early clearly the Twins are not in any sort of a pitching logjam and also have plenty of options.

1 comment:

TenToedSloth said...

Fien has earned a spot. In his 100 innings w/ the Twins, his strikeout rates and WHIP have been very good. Needs to be a part of the 'pen.

Agree that groups A & B are in. Deduno should be in, I feel. Wouldn't be surprised to see Diamond and/or Worley not with the club next year.