Who is the newest Twins' pitcher, Nick Tepesch?

In order for the Twins to stop their recent slide, they have started the Rochester shuffle to improve the parent club.  They optioned LHSP Adalberto Mejia to AAA, placed RHP Justin Haley to the 10-day DL, and replaced them by 1B/DH Kennys Vargas and LHRP Buddy Boshers.   After the Tigers' series ended on Sunday, they optioned Boshers to Rochester.  It looks like RHP Nick Tepesch will be his replacement on the 25-man roster; however Tepesch is not on the 40 man roster and the Twins will need to open a space (perhaps by placing LHRP Ryan O'Rourke who has been on the 10-day DL with a flexor mass pronator strain, to the 60-day DL.)

Tepesch is a 6-4, 225 lbs, 28 year old righty from Kansas City, MO.  He was drafted by Boston in the 28th round on the 2007 draft from Blue Springs (MO) High School, but declined to sign and went to the University of Missouri.  There he was a General Architecture major and 2009 Academic All-Big 12 Conference.  Tepesch was at the Missouri bullpen his Freshman season and moved to the rotation his Sophomore and Junior seasons.  As a Collegiate he participated in 55 games (30 starts) pitching 213 innings,  striking out 176 (7.4 K/9) and walking 67 (2.8 BB/9.)  He ended up with ta 1.49 WHIP and 5.11 ERA.  He was drafted by and singed with the Texas Rangers in the 14th round of the 2010 draft, when current Twins' General Manager Thad Levine, was the Rangers' Assistant GM.  Worth mentioning that his signing bonus was over slot, $400,000, roughly 3rd round bonus money, which means that Levine & Co saw something they liked in Tepesch.

Tepesch rose pretty fast in the Texas system, without being a touted prospect, his highest position was 19th at the 2012 Baseball America list.  He started his pro career in 2011 in the Hickory Crawdads of the South Atlantic League (A).  He pitched 138-1/3 innings in 29 games (23 starts), striking out 118 (20.2 K%, 7.7 K/9) and walking 33 (2.2 BB/9, 14.6 K-BB%), with a 4.03 ERA, 4.13 FIP, and 1.30 WHIP (.328 BABIP).  In the 2012 season he jumped up to the Myrtly Beach Pelicans' rotation (Carolina League, high A), pitching well (12 GS, 71-2/3 IP, 59 K, 18 BB, 1.200 WHIP, .307 BABIP, 2.89 ERA, 3.33 FIP) to warrant a promotin to to the Frisco Roughriders' rotation (Texas League, AA) where he help on his own (16 G, 14 GS, 90-1/3 IP, 68 K, 26 BB, 1.362 WHIP, .312, 4.28 ERA, 4.18 FIP).

In 2013, Tepesch moved up another couple levels:  He started the season in the rotation of the AAA Pacific Coast League Round Rock Express where he pitched in only one game before he moved to the Rangers' rotation on April 9th.  There as a 24 year old he appeared in 19 games (17 starts) pitching 93 innings, striking out 76 (18.7 K%, 7.4 K/9) and walking 27 (2.6 BB/9, 12.0 K-BB) finishing with a 4.84 ERA (4.19 FIP) and 1.37 WHIP (.309 BABIP) and a 4-6 record.  During that season he lost 2 months (July and August) with right elbow inflammation, and return for a start and 2 relief appearances in September.   In 2014 he started the season in Round Rock where he pitched very well (7 GS, 45-2/3 IP, 41 K, 9 BB, 0.985 WHIP, .280 BABIP, 1.58 ERA, 2.91 FIP.)  He was promoted to the bigs on May 14.  His second stint with the Rangers was similar to his first (23 G, 22 GS, 126 IP, 56 K, 44 BB, 1.365 WHIP, .272 BABIP, 4.36 ERA, 5.01 FIP.)  He lost all of the 2015 season with elbow inflammation and thorachic outlet syndrom surgery, spent the 2016 season in the AAA clubs of the Rangers, Athletics, Royals, and Dodgers, before making a single emergency start with the Dodgers on September. 

The Twins signed him to a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training and assigned him to AAA Rochester where he made 3 starts (18 IP, 4 BB, 17 K, 2.00 ERA, 2.06 FIP, 1.33 WHIP, .364 BABIP)   He had an opt-out clause on June 1st, so the Twins could have waited another month.  Tepesch has a 87-90 mph fastball, a mid 80s slider/cutter and a high 70s curve ball.  His fastball is an average pitch, but his slider/cutter is close to plus and is his bread and butter pitch.  He uses the curve as a change of pace pitch.  Good command and control of all of his pitches. In 2012 BA said that he had the best slider and the best control in the Texas system.

Tepesch looks like he will move into the role that Haley vacated for the Twins, as a long reliever, and might be in the discussion for the potential fifth starter spot, when it opens on May 6th.  Not an overwhelming pitcher, but someone who can eat innings especially after a short start or during extra innings.

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