Sunday, February 27, 2011

Bullpen candidate profile: Kyle Waldrop

Kyle Waldrop had
a 2.57 ERA in
Triple A in 2010.
Pitcher: Kyle Waldrop
Throws: Right
Age: 25
Roster status: Non-roster invitee
Chance of making team: Slim but plausible

Like previous profilees Glen Perkins and Anthony Swarzak, Waldrop is a high-round pick from the Twins 2004 draft. Unlike Perkins and Swarzak, he has yet to get even the proverbial cup of coffee in the majors.

He reached Double A as a starter in four seasons, putting up decent but not spectacular ERAs and bearing consistently a red flag of a low strikeout rate. Then he got hurt and missed the 2008 season completely.

Since then he's worked strictly out of the bullpen. His ERAs have been much better, but his leading indicator stats (W/K and K/9) haven't budged much. He is said to have a good sinking fastball, and he really has kept the ball in the park well.

Waldrop was a bubble candidate for the bullpen last spring, losing out to Alex Burnett because Burnett was on the 40 and Waldrop wasn't. He did well for a lousy Rochester team last season but tailed off late, then went to the Arizona Fall League and got shelled there. The Twins left Waldrop exposed to the Rule V draft, figuring that the AFL debacle would scare teams off, and he slid on through.

So he remains in the Twins system. His biggest obstacle is, still, that he's not on the 40-man roster. To get a big league job, he has to not only convince the staff that he's one of their seven best bullpen options, but he has to convince the organization that he's worth waiving somebody like Swarzak or Deolis Guerra. I'm more certain that he's worth losing Swarzak for than I am that he's one of the seven best bullpen candidates, but those spots also might be earmarked for the likes of Kyle Gibson later in the year.

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