Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Liam Hendricks and Cole DeVries

Liam Hendriks leaves the Comerica Field mound
on his way to Rochester.
Liam Hendriks had another rough outing Monday -- four innings, four runs, didn't get an out in the fifth inning after being handed a 5-1 lead -- and the Twins sent him back to Rochester on Tuesday and brought back Cole DeVries.

This is one of those moves that require me to remind myself that the men who make these decisions are closer to the situation than I am. I am an Outsider. There is much I do not know.

But off what I do know, I don't particularly care for this move.

Hendriks has not pitched well. That's obvious -- 0-5, 7.04 ERA, 10 homers allowed in 38.3 innings. DeVries, meanwhile, is 2-1, 3.43 in 21 innings (and five homers allowed) in his two brief major league stints.

But ... one of them figures to have a chance to be a rotation regular for this team, and that's Hendriks, who is four years younger than DeVries and has been consistently better than the Minnesotan in the minors.

Remember the Rule of 30 -- start judging a pitcher AFTER he has 30 major league starts on his resume. Yes, there have been pitchers who hit the majors running. But Greg Maddux was 8-18, 5.59 after his first 32 starts. Tom Glavine was 9-21, 4.76 after 43 starts. On a lower level of career success, Brad Radke was 11-14, 5.32 in his first season (28 starts).

Hendriks has a 3.29 career ERA in 16 Triple A starts. I don't think Triple A hitters are going to teach him much. (DeVries' Triple A ERA is 4.39.)

Hendriks is only going to get better if he faces tougher competition. This team isn't going anywhere. Investing starts in Hendriks now has a better chance of long-term returns than investing them in DeVries.


  1. I totally disagree. Here is a guy who can't figure out how to pitch to major league batters time and time again. The Twins could leave him up to continually get pounded out of a lead he's given, and his head may never come back. I don't know if the minors is the right step, but something has to be done to show at least that this type of performance each start is not rewarded at the major league level. He is not a major league pitcher right now, and Blackburn has also lost that status. At least they can keep trying others to see if someone figures things out if they are going to realistically not compete for anything this year.

  2. "Remember the Rule of 30"

    You missed the meaning of that rule. It doesn't mean a pitcher who can't get people out should be given 30 starts. Nor is it an excuse for letting a young pitcher get lit up.

    Half the guys Hendricks faced last time reached base. A pitcher needs to be able to get more batters than that out to make any progress at all. He isn't ready to refine his approach against major league hitting. He still has some basic work to do regardless of his success against minor league hitters.