Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Sam Deduno and the fifth starter job

Sam Deduno reacts after striking out
Angel Pagan to end the fifth inning
Tuesday night in the WBC final.
Sam Deduno had an impressive World Baseball Classic: Three starts, 13 innings, one run allowed, 17 strikeouts. He was one of many reasons the Dominican squad went undefeated in the tournament.

He also showed the flaws that led the Twins to drop him from the 40-man roster, and that led the rest of baseball to let him pass through waivers. He has great movement on his pitches but little command.

In his start against the United States, he needed 80 pitches to navigate four innings -- 20 pitches a frame. In the championship game Tuesday night against Puerto Rico, Deduno was dominant for four innings, wild in the fifth, and done after five. Seventy-six pitches, 46 for strikes, 30 for balls.

Five and fly is not a characteristic of good starting pitchers, and that's what Deduno was in his half-season in the Twins rotation last year: 15 starts, 79 innings, just over five innings a start. In the limited pitch-count world of the WBC, Deduno went four innings, four innings, five innings.

So I can hardly blame the Twins if they remain skeptical of Deduno as a rotation option. They should be skeptical of everybody who was part of last season's rotation disaster.

Still, 13 innings of one-run ball -- in games played with a purpose -- stands out when compared to the starts the Twins have been getting in Grapefruit League play, and even though one shouldn't put any weight on spring training numbers, it gets noticed.

Deduno went five innings Tuesday against a lineup with five major league regulars. I'm not sure any of the rotation guys the Twins are counting on have done that.


  1. Deduno has such crazy stuff. Kind of entertaining to watch him lock up good hitters. Kaat was amazed at the movement on his change up. The MLB channel sabremetrician, Brian Kenney, was saying short starts are the future. Maybe Deduno could be an experiment?

  2. Long reliever? Has to be some way to use his 'stuff'