|Vance Worley had a 3.01 ERA in 2011 but 4.20 in 2012.|
He had bone chips removed from his elbow in September.
On Thursday, after the Twins selected a relief candidate in the Rule 5 draft, they made a more significant move: Trading OF Ben Revere to Philadelphia for RHS Vance Worley and power-pitching prospect Trevor May, also a rightie.
Revere -- with his big smile, infectious personality and speed -- had quickly become popular with Twins fans, but this was a good trade for the Twins, even if it creates a bit of a gap in the middle of the outfield.
Worley emerged as a surprisingly good starter in 2011 for the Phillies when their super rotation (Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Roy Oswalt and Joe Blanton) started having injury issues in the back end. Worley was markedly less effective last season, and had elbow surgery in September.
Does he meet the Diamond Standard? Well, he's not pitched 200 innings in any season, but he came fairly close in 2011 (50-plus in the minors, 130-plus in the NL, a handful of outs in the playoffs), but his career ERA in 277.2 innings is 3.50. Assuming the elbow's sound, he's a good bet.
Then there's May, a big-hoss (6-5) pitcher who has struck out 647 men in 525.1 minor league innings. The scouting reports I've seen cite not only a good fastball but good secondary pitches. He's regarded as a prime prospect -- Baseball America last spring ranked him No. 69 among all minor leaguers -- but he's got work to do.
He pitched in the Eastern League (Double A) last year and led the circuit in walks and home runs allowed -- an indication of problems with command and control. He's on the 40-man roster, so he'll be in spring training; conceivably he could win a rotation spot if he comes in to camp throwing strikes, but more likely he'll be sent to Rochester.
The Rule 5 addition is Ryan Pressly, a right-handed reliever out of the Boston organization. By definition, he's fringey -- hot prospects aren't exposed to Rule 5 -- but he appeared to raise his trajectory last summer when he was shifted to the bullpen in Double A, and he impressed the Twins during his stint in the Arizona Fall League.
He'll compete with the likes of Alex Burnett, Josh Roenicke, Tim Wood and Anthony Swarzak for a spot deep in the Minnesota bullpen. Most of that crop are use-or-lose -- either out of options or, in Pressly's case, a Rule 5 -- and it will be interesting to see how it shakes out in spring training.
Another interesting move, and one that may never be mentioned again, was the signing of Jason Lane, former major league outfielder, as a left-handed pitcher on a minor-league deal. He's 35. He's been pitching in independent ball and Triple A for four seasons.