Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Eye on 2013: Anthony Swarzak

Anthony Swarzak was a second-round draft pick
|in the same year that the Twins drafted Trevor Plouffe,
Glen Perkins and Kyle Waldrop, all of whom went ahead of him.
The Twins needed somebody to make a fill-in start Tuesday in Sam Deduno's stead. I had expected Brian Duensing to get the ball, but he was used for a fairly extensive relief outing during the weekend, and Anthony Swarzak got the start.

Swarzak went five innings, giving up four runs. Which is pretty much in line with his career splits: 5.74 ERA in 27 career starts entering Tuesday's game, 4.03 ERA in 55 relief appearances.

The Twins still take Duesning seriously as a starting candidate, despite mounting evidence that he's a far more effective reliever. Even with Tuesday's spot start, I don't think they take Swarzak seriously as a starting candidate.

Nor should they. Duensing has two advantages over Swarzak. First, Duensing's left-handed. Second, he had some success in the rotation in 2009 and 2010.

I have often over the past few years invoked the memory of Matt Guerrier when discussing a certain type of bullpen candidate -- men with a starter's repertoire whose talent level was just a tad short of being a major league starter. Guerrier spent two seasons, 2005 and 2006, filling the long-man role in a well-stacked Minnesota bullpen, and stepped into higher leverage roles in 2007 as Jesse Crain got hurt and Juan Rincon lost his effectiveness.

One difference between Guerrier and Swarzak is that Swarzak has been used much more as a swingman -- 11 starts last season, five this year. My sense of it is that Swarzak would be well served if he were locked into the long relief job for a year or so. But that might well require a more stable starting rotation.

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