Friday, June 20, 2014

Contemplating Yohan Pino

Yohan Pino got the results Thursday in
Target Field that he had all season in
Triple A, including seven strikeouts in
seven innings.
That was a nice major league debut Thursday for Yohan Pino: Seven innings of five-hit ball, two runs allowed.

But before we get too excited about the 30-year-old's performance, let us remember how Andrew Albers opened his brief major league career. And how quickly that dissolved.

Pino has the Greg McMichael Rule working in his favor now: If you get outs, they'll find a role for you. There's precedent for pitchers of Pino's profile succeeding in the majors, of course. There's also plenty of precedent for them failing. He'll get some more starts out of this one, chances to demonstrate that he's more Carl Pavano than P.J. Walters. Or vice versa.

Here's something that truly works in Pino's favor: He got swings and misses Thursday. Yes, he struck out seven White Sox hitters in seven innings. He also got 13 swinging strikes in 94 pitches, just under 14 percent.

Having evoked Albers as a cautionary tale, I should acknowledge that that "process" stat indicates a significant difference between Pino and Albers. That's about double Albers' rate of swinging strikes in his major league season (10 starts).  It's only one start for Pino, but I'm confident Albers never got 13 swings-and-misses in a game.

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The roster issue got resolved in a non-decisive manner. Mike Pelfrey went on the 60-day disabled list, which opened a slot on the 40-man roster, and Eduardo Nunez went on the 15-day disabled list, which opened a spot on the 25-man roster.

So the Twins (for now) avoided having to cut somebody loose. They also are now carrying 13 pitchers, which is not optimal.

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