Minnesota Twins: Which Pitchers Deserve a Shot at the 2013 Rotation?

Amanda LucasContributor IIISeptember 19, 2012

Minnesota Twins: Which Pitchers Deserve a Shot at the 2013 Rotation?

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    The Minnesota Twins have had many pitchers come through the rotation in 2012. With an ailing and much maligned starting rotation, the Twins had no choice but to bring up some young guns to try to plug the holes in the leaky rotation and bring in prospects via trade.

    The question heading into the 2013 season is whether or not each pitcher deserves a shot at a spot in the rotation. Young, old, new or veteran--every pitcher needs to be looked at and the Twins need to take a long, hard look and decide who should be in the mix for next year.


    All statistics for the 2012 season are current as of 9/19/12

Carl Pavano: Yes

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    2012 Statistics: 2-5, 6.00 ERA, 63 IP, 80 H, 9 HR, 8 BB, 33 K.

    Current Status: Disabled list

    Carl Pavano has had a 2012 to forget with sub-par performances and an injury shortened season. The 36 year old right-hander is the only veteran presence the Twins' have on the starting pitching staff right now (unless Scott Baker returns), that alone will keep Pavano in the mix if the Twins do not pick up another veteran in the off-season, as will his ability to eat innings.

    While Pavano doesn't seem to be the pitcher he used to be, or even when the Twins first acquired him, he can still be a consistent presence in the rotation if he can remain healthy and bounce back in 2013.

Scott Diamond: Yes

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    2012 Statistics: 11-8, 3.69 ERA, 153.2 IP, 169 H, 16 HR, 27 BB, 81 K.

    Current Status: Starting rotation

    Scott Diamond has been one of the brightest spots in the pitching rotation in 2012 thus far. While he hasn't been perfect, he has been able to eat up some innings, show some consistency and has given the Twins some hope for their future pitching endeavors.

    Diamond has struggled in recent starts but has maintained an ERA under 4.00 for the season—Samuel Deduno is the only other starter to have a sub-4.00 ERA for the Twins this season.

    While Diamond cannot be considered an ace in the long run, he is a pitcher the Twins should be looking at to start again next season.

Scott Baker: No

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    2012 Statistics: DNP

    Current Status: Disabled list (Tommy John surgery)

    Scott Baker was once considered to be the ace of the Minnesota Twins but now that Baker has been sidelined with Tommy John surgery, he may have pitched his final game in a Twins uniform.

    The Twins owe Baker $9.25 million in 2013 if they choose to pick up his option, though they are expected to decline it. However, they may bring him back on an incentive-laden deal seeing that Baker didn't pitch at all in 2012 and that he is expected to miss the beginning of 2013. It might be too much of a risk at too high of a cost to have Baker in the mix for the rotation or even with the club at all to begin 2013.

Samuel Deduno: Yes

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    2012 Statistics: 6-4, 3.84 ERA, 75 IP, 62 H, 8 HR, 48 BB, 54 K.

    Current Status: Starting rotation

    Samuel has been somewhat of a mystery to the Twins and fans alike—wild and erratic one minute, striking out the side the next. Deduno is capable of having outings similar to the one he had on August 29th when he pitched 7 innings giving up just 2 hits, with 0 walks and 9 strikeouts.

    Other times he will give up 4 or 5 walks in his starts. The right-hander has the second lowest ERA of the current starting rotation, trailing only Scott Diamond and has shown the ability to be able to pitch out of a jam.

    Deduno has shown he has some good stuff but he has a hard time controlling his fastball at times. He claims he can get it under control. If he does, Deduno should get a shot at making the rotation in 2013.

Liam Hendriks: No

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    2012 Statistics: 0-7, 6.14 ERA, 66 IP, 91 H, 12 HR, 21 BB, 41 K.

    Current Status: Starting rotation

    Liam Hendriks seems to have hit a glass ceiling as far as finding any success at the major league level. The pitcher is winless in 17 games with the Twins with an ERA north of 6. 

    Hendriks' best outing came on August 27th when he went toe to toe against Felix Hernandez. Hendriks threw a complete game and allowed just one run. Unfortunately, the Twins offense couldn't muster anything and lost the game—along with Hendriks' best bid for his first win. 

    Hendriks hasn't shown he can be effective in the majors as a starter. The Twins should have him start 2013 at Rochester and then, if he is doing well, bring him up for some bullpen work until he can prove he belongs with the club.

Nick Blackburn: No

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    2012 Statistics: 4-9, 7.39 ERA, 98.2 IP, 143 H, 23 HR, 26 BB, 42 K.

    Current Status: AAA Rochester

    Nick Blackburn had a bad 2011 followed by an even worse 2012. The Twins finally dumped Blackburn from the 40-man roster in August after going 5.1 innings with 11 hits allowed and 5 ER.

    Blackburn had been a part of the rotation for a number of years, a mystery to some people including myself. Blackburn has never posted an ERA under 4 nor has he had a winning record in his career. His numbers have been declining since he received his new contract after the 2009 season.

    Quite frankly, this guy shouldn't be on the major league roster but as long as Ron Gardenhire has any say, I fear he will be. Does he deserve it? No.

Esmerling Vazquez: No

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    2012 Statistics: 0-2, 7.53 ERA, 14.1 IP, 13 H, 1 HR, 12 BB, 8 K.

    Current Stats: Starting rotation

    Esmerling Vasquez has made just 3 starts for the Twins this season but has yet to impress. In his 4 years at the major league level, Vasquez has a record of 5-12 with just three starts—the three with the Twins.

    Vasquez has started many games in the minors, but that doesn't necessarily translate to the majors. It certainly hasn't so far.

    In his three years with the Arizona Diamondbacks, he pitched purely out of the bullpen posting sub-par results. Vasquez doesn't go into the late innings and has given up more runs than the enigma-of-an-offense can over come. It doesn't make sense to have Vasquez in the mix for next year.

Cole De Vries: Yes

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    2012 Statistics: 5-5, 4.11 ERA, 87.2 IP, 88 H, 16 HR, 18 BB, 58 K.

    Current Status: Starting rotation

    Cole De Vries is finishing the 2012 season strong after going winless through July and most of August. In his last three starts, De Vries is 3-0 and has allowed just 2 earned runs in 17.2 innings.

    De Vries has shown that he knows how to limit walks, something near and dear to the Minnesota Twins pitching staff. He is also showing an ability to bounce back from a tough stretch in July and August—something some Twins' pitchers seem not to be able to do.

    De Vries has a lot of promise and deserves a chance to be a part of the starting rotation in 2013.

P.J. Walters: No

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    2012 Statistics: 2-4, 6.39 ERA, 50.2 IP, 62 H, 11 HR, 20 BB, 33 K.

    Current Status: Starting rotation

    P.J. Walters' 2012 campaign has been a mixed bag of results. Unfortunately, many of his outings involved him surrendering at least 4 ER.

    Since Walters' recall in September he is 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA—not exactly leaving 2012 on the best note. He hasn't shown he can be consistent at the major league level yet with the Twins and shouldn't be in the running for the 2013 rotation.

Where Does This Leave the Twins?

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    Where does this leave the Twins' rotation in 2013? 

    It leaves them needing to acquire at least one starting pitcher in the off-season. It leaves them also with a few minor league pitchers who could be worth taking a look at as well. Here are a couple pitchers Twins fans are itching to see.

    Kyle Gibson: Coming off Tommy John surgery, Gibson should get an invite to spring training if winter ball goes well. He'll have limited innings in 2013 so this could be a factor wherever he lands in the organization.

    Anthony Slama: Twins fans are clamoring to see this guy. Maybe 2013 is the time for him to make a bid at the big leagues.

    The long and the short of it is that the Twins need to weed through their 2012 starters. They need some new blood on the staff as well if they hope to contend next year.