Thursday, April 24, 2014

If not Pelfrey, who?

Logan Darnell has been
sharp so far at Triple A
Rochester.
Mike Pelfrey had another low-grade start Wednesday evening: Five innings, four runs allowed (three earned) with three walks and one strikeout. Even with a two-year contract, one senses that his chances are dwindling.

Imagine that the Twins decide to, as they say, go in a different direction. What are the options?

Perhaps the most obvious is to flip-flip him with Sam Deduno. Deduno has racked up an ERA of 1.80 in 14.2 innings out of the bullpen, and he was the most effective starter in the rotation for most of last season.

But ... I suspect the Twins have concluded that Deduno isn't a good fit for a starting rotation. He had shoulder surgery last year, he had Tommy John surgery before coming to the Twins, and he has had difficulty going deep into games. They're not looking for "five-and-fly."

If not Deduno, then reaching into the minors yields...

Trevor May came to
the Twins in the
Ben Revere deal.
Well, the word at the end of training camp had Scott Diamond and Kris Johnson, a pair of lefties, as the most likely early callups should rotation reinforcements be required.

Neither has overwhelmed in the early going in Rochester, however. Johnson — indirectly part of the return on last August's Justin Morneau trade — hasn't been bad: 1-2 with a 3.94 ERA in three starts, but with 14 strikeouts and no homers allowed in 16 innings. Diamond, a personal favorite, has been brutal: 1-2, 10.20 and with nine walks in 15 innings. He walked a lot of hitters in exhibition play too; this is a seriously bad sign.

Top pitching prospect Alex Meyer has been inconsistent, and while I think he's likely to get the call at some point, it's unlikely to come in May.

The two guys whose Rochester stats raise my eyebrows are Trevor May and Logan Darnell.

Darnell, a lefty who is on the 40-man roster, has a 1.80 ERA in 15 innings. More striking: 15 strikeouts as well.  May, a hard-thrower whose record indicates issues with control, has a worse ERA (2.93) than Darnell, but a sterling walk-to-strikeout ratio, three walks and 16 Ks in 15.1 innings.

If May — who issued the third most walks in the Double A Eastern League last year — has found the strike zone, he'll be in Minnesota real soon.

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