Rotation: This is what the rotation could be, because as we know, we really have no idea. There are so many new additions that it could go either way. So in no particular order here are our predictions/projections
Andy’s Prediction: Vance Worley, Kevin Correia, Mike Pelfrey, Liam Hendriks, Cole DeVries
After I put together this rotation, I went and checked what MLB Depth Charts had and we are on the same page except for Cole DeVries. Jason Martinez instead had Brian Duensing who could very well win the fifth spot.
The reason I decided to put DeVries in is because he had a somewhat OK year after getting the call up and Duensing struggled big time in the rotation the past couple of seasons. I personally like Duensing in the bullpen anyway because he can be that lefty the Twins need against strong left-handed hitters.
With Worley and Correia the Twins have two guys who will probably throw close to or at least 200 innings. This is important because it means we can keep our bullpen guys in the pen. Outside of Perkins, nobody is shutdown (more on the pen later).
Mike Pelfrey takes the place of Scott Diamond who had offseason elbow surgery (very minor surgery and not Tommy John). Pelfrey had Tommy John himself, however, on May 1st of 2012. His agent and the Twins have both said he will be ready for the start of the season (meaning he will be on the mound in 11 months...pretty hard to believe if you ask me-who took 18 months).
2013 is the season Liam Hendriks has to shit or get off the pot. He’s been a top prospect for the Twins and has had solid numbers throughout his minor league career but can’t seem to put it together in the big leagues. He is known for his control and if he is to have any success, he must bring that finesse to the mound now. He’s still only 24 years of age, but if the Twins want to have winning teams in the near future (2015?) Hendriks will have to be an innings guy at the back of their rotation.
Kyle Gibson will be competing for a spot in the rotation this spring but it would surprise me if he actually cracks the roster. He only had a couple of months to pitch after recovering from Tommy John so a bit of time in AAA Rochester wouldn’t hurt. This would also save the team as his service time could keep him from being a Super-Two. The Twins’ first round pick form 2009 is now 25 and it is also time for him to get his career going. He could be a top of the rotation arm and in his physical prime when the Twins around in contention again.
Bullpen: This is where the Twins could see a lot of games lost. Last season I went to a game in Chicago and saw DeVries give the Twins a solid six innings and only three runs allowed. He left the game with a 6-3 lead and soon saw the final score of 12-6. Much like the Diamondbacks in 2010, seeing a lead evaporate in the late innings could be a common occurrence. I included five pen guys because these are the guys I expect to get the most significant innings.
CL: Glen Perkins
Perk is the lone bright spot of the Twins pen and it’s a shame that he will be used in a role that won’t get many opportunities. There is no sense leaving your best reliever for the last inning to hold a lead when that lead will probably get blown before he has a chance to blow it himself. The ideal role for him is first out of the pen because he could (in my mind anyway) go longer than just an inning and face both lefties and righties.
SU: Jared Burton
Last season, when I saw Burton come into the game I said, “Who?” But now Burt is one of the Twins OK players. He posted a solid 2.18 ERA last year and an ERA+ of 187, well above league average. He has had success at the Major League level before but its peripheral numbers showed he would likely regress. So far he hasn’t and for his career he has a 3.08 ERA. He might be the Matt Cain type that will always beat his FIP but we’ll see what he can do with another full season. Can he repeat his performance?
SU: Casey Fien
Last year when the Twins called Fien up from Rochester, he put up quite the numbers. He had 3.55 strikeouts for every walk but it was in a small sample size. Fien has the opportunity to pitch about 60 innings or so this season and what he does in those innings will be interesting to watch.
MID: Josh Roenicke
After posting a 3.25 ERA with the Rockies in 2012, I’m sure some Twins fans were really excited. Wow, he pitched in Coors and didn’t have an ERA above five? Unbelievable.
Not so fast. In those 63 appearances and 88.2 innings he struck out just 54 batters and walked 43. I don’t think he’ll get quite as many innings considering he is not in the “piggy-back” bullpen the Rockies used last year.
We’ll see soon how he responds to the American League and if he can keep beating the bad K/BB ratio.
LOOGY: Brian Duensing
Last year, out of the pen, Duensing had a solid 3.47 ERA in 57 innings. While he only struck out 37, that doesn’t come as a shock considering he has never been one to put up huge K numbers. As a starter he had a 6.92 ERA. In other words, not good.
He was able to hold lefties to a .250 average so I see no reason why he shouldn’t be used as a LOOGY. If he is used one out at a time, I see no reason why his velo can’t jump (91.7 MPH in 2012-the highest of his career according to FanGraphs) as well as his K rate.