Minnesota Twins: Will Pitcher Nick Blackburn Make an Impact Next Season?

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Minnesota Twins: Will Pitcher Nick Blackburn Make an Impact Next Season?
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

The Skinny

The ubiquitous opinion from the Minnesota Twins faithful is a loud, “NO!”

Their opinion is justified: Nick Blackburn is the worst MLB pitcher with 15 or more starts (4-9, 7.39 ERA) and was recently demoted—meaning he will not be on the 40-man roster come September.

But let’s do this man his due diligence. After all, it’s America and everyone should be granted a fair trial.

 

In-Depth

It’s simple with Blackburn: When the sinker is sinking, things are good; when the sinker is not sinking, things are bad.

From a July 31 contest against the Chicago White Sox (the Francisco Liriano game) when Blackburn went eight innings, gave up five hits and two earned runs:

“He threw his sinker,” said manager Ron Gardenhire. “I thought the game plan was to keep pounding the sinker in there and make them swing and he did that very, very well.”

Center fielder Denard Span was impressed that night as well.

Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

“His ball was running a lot and his sinker was crowding right-handed hitters and he was throwing two-seamers in to the lefties,” he said.

“He kept it down and that’s the Blackburn I’m used to right there.”

From an Aug. 11 contest against the Tampa Bay Rays when he went six innings, gave up 11 hits and four earned runs:

“As sinker balls go, that’s it,” said Gardenhire. “They get the ball up and it gets flat across the zone and you’re going to see it flying.”

 

The Verdict

The people have spoken and they want no more of him. He’s guilty of throwing sinkers too high in the strike zone.

We’ll see if management gives him a shot next year.

 

 

All quotes were obtained first-hand.

Tom Schreier writes a weekly column for TheFanManifesto.com.

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