Tomorrow, spring training officially begins for the Twins when pitchers and catchers report. Many of them however are already down in Fort Meyers working out. I’d like to take a closer look at who will be on the Twins pitching staff come April 1.
For sure, 10 pitchers are slated to be on the pitching staff. They would be the 5 starters and 5 bullpen spots. let’s name the ones who are slated to be on the Twins pitching staff.
1. Carl Pavano
2. Fransisco Liriano
3. Scott Baker
4. Brian Duensing
5. Kevin Slowey
6. Nick Blackburn
7. Joe Nathan
8. Matt Capps
9. Jose Mijares
10. Dusty Hughes
At this point, the Twins would still have 2 spots left in the bullpen with several players competing for those spots. You could say that Jeff Manship might be making the big league club which would make only 1 spot left for the bullpen. I don’t think that it’s a given Manship will be on the team, but I do think he’s one of the more likely ones to make the club. I think what we should do is take a closer look at some of the stats of some of the candidates to take the final two roster spots.
Glen Perkins is believed to be on a short leash. Last season, he appeared in 13 games with one start with a high 5.82 ERA. Hitters batted .337 against him with 14 strikeouts and he walked 5 batters in just over 21 innings of pitching.
After not pitching for almost 2 seasons, Pat Neshek made only 11 appearances, pitching 9 innings with an ERA of 5.00. A possitive for Neshek is he only allowed hitters to a batting average of .206. However, he walked 8 batters which computes to almost one walk per inning.
Jeff Manship is another possible bullpen candidate. Last season, he pitched 29 innings with a 5.28 ERA. He allowed hitters to a batting average of .293. However, he shoed solid control by only walking 6 batters.
Alex Burnette had a solid start to the season last year. When the season was over, he’d an ERA of 5.29 in 41 games. Batters batted .287 against him and struck out 37 times. He walked 23 of them in just over 47 innings of pitching.
Anthony Slama is another possible bullpen candidate, but judging by his stats, I think he’s less likely to be on the team. In 5 games, he piched to an ERA of 7.71 in over 4 innings. He walked 5 batters, struck out 5 and allowed a .300 batting average off of him.
There are still a few more pitchers in camp that will probably be competing to make the club, but I think they’re less likely to do so. Jim Hoey, acquired in the J.J. Hardy trade from Baltimore has AN ERA of voer 8 from the years he’s been with Baltomore. Scott Diamond, acquired in the Rule 5 draft from the Atlanta Braves, would have to be on the big league club this season if the Twins due keep him. Otherwise, he would have to be offered back to the Braves. Eric Hacker, is also another possible bullpen candidate, but he has an ERA of 6 in 3 appearances in the Major Leagues.
I Think that the key that determines who fills the remaining 2 bullpen spots will be based on how well some of these candidates I mentioned do. Some people have even suggested that Mijares needs to be healthy or that may hurt his chances of being on the big league club. And, if Nathan isn’t ready to begin the season with the club, that would open up another spot. However all indications are that he’ll be ready come April 1.
As for Kyle Gibson, I think he won’t be even considered to be on the big league club. The Twins will certainly take a look at him this spring, but I would expect him to be a starting pitcher for the Rochester Red Wings.