Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The fifth starter outcome tree

Neither Tyler Duffey -- who pitched the "major league" games against a collection of Pirates scrubs in Bradenton -- nor Ricky Nolasco -- who pitched against minor leaguers on a back field at the Twins complex in Fort Myers -- was all that impressive Monday.

Still, a decision on the fifth starter's job is expected this morning, and the conventional wisdom has it that Nolasco -- with a superficially superior spring training ERA, inflexible roster status and $25 million owed him over the next two years -- will get the nod.

The best case for going with Duffey is probably this: He was told going into camp that he was penciled into the rotation and he should focus on working on his changeup. He worked on his changeup and got shelled. If he gets demoted today, there's a genuine possibility that he'll go away believing that he was either lied to or set up to fail.

Beyond that, these are the possible outcomes if Duffey is indeed demoted:

1) Nolasco (or somebody else in the rotation) gets hurt or fails and Duffey is recalled to take his place.

2) The five starters all make 30 or more starts and throw 200 or so innings, in which case nobody's going to criticize management. It would also be the first time, I believe, that the Twins have had five starters make at least 30 starts apiece. So that second outcome is unlikely.

Bottom line: If Duffey isn't in the rotation to open the season, he's likely to be in the rotation at some point.


  1. Duffey is climbing up a steep hill. The Twins are not lying to tell him he needs more pitches and then all of them discovering he is not at the point he can use it in MLB. It is a growing process ... it is not how quickly they get to the Majors, it is when their tools are when they can be effective.

  2. Should be "can use them in MLB."

    And, "when their tools can be effective."