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Infernal Options for the Minnesota Twins: Rob Delaney

FORT MYERS, FL - FEBRUARY 23: Rob Delaney #56 of the Minnesota Twins poses during photo day at the Twins spring training complex on February 23, 2008 in Fort Myers, Florida. (Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images)
Dan WadeSenior Analyst IAugust 5, 2009

Ok, so Juan Morillo may not be the Twins' best option, but he's also far from the only reliever in the system.

Going into this season, the Twins had two serious relief candidates in the minor leagues, Rob Delaney and Anthony Slama, and most observers expected one or both to begin the season at AAA with a call-up coming as soon as the Twins needed help.

Instead, Slama and Delaney both began the year splitting the closer role at AA New Britain, possibly the worst option the Twins could have come up with. Delaney got his (overdue) call-up in June and immediately rewarded the Twins' trust with...nine runs in 10 games.

However, since that rocky introduction, Delaney has gotten back to his old ways. He's given up just two runs in his last 12.1 innings, brought his WHIP down to just a tic above 1, and hasn't walked a batter since July 22.

He possesses excellent control with the ability to miss bats at a pretty good rate, given that he isn't a power arm in the way that someone like Morillo is.

Like many of the Twins pitchers, starters or relievers, Delaney is known as a strike thrower, which may lead to him getting hit harder in the majors. His MLE's (major league equivalents) show a WHIP of 1.29. If accurate, that would place Delaney as the Twins fourth best pitcher in terms of WHIP and their best reliever outside of Nathan and Guerrier.

I can understand the Twins' desire to let Delaney "season" a bit in AAA, and his numbers didn't remotely merit a call up in June, but his talent is undeniable (his control, efficiency, and k-rating all rank at 94 or better according to the baseball cube), and his rebound in July is indicative of someone who can succeed at any level, but may have an adjustment period.

That may be what keeps Delaney down on the farm this season, but I find it hard to believe that even if he wasn't at his best, that Rob Delaney couldn't outproduce R.A. Dickey and Bobby Keppel right now.

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