Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Shuffling the rotation

Jose Berrios was
the Twins' second
draft pick  in the draft
that landed Byron
The Twins put not one but two starting pitchers -- Ervin Santana and Kyle Gibson, the men who held the No. 1 and No. 2 rotation slots to open the season -- on the disabled list Tuesday.

And so it is that today Jose Barrios is to make his much-awaited major league debut, weather permitting.

This is a good time to remember why the Twins are loathe to discard veteran starters. Pitchers get hurt. Jeff Passan, in "The Arm" -- a book I discussed in the Monday print column -- says half of major league pitchers go on the disabled list each year. It's still April, and the Twins now have three key members of their staff on the DL (the third being Glen Perkins).

So Tyler Duffey and Berrios, left off the rotation at the start of April, will be in the rotation when May begins. And had the Twins discarded Ricky Nolasco -- an unlikely move, but one that would have satisfied many fans -- at the end of spring training, they would today be reaching deeper into their farm system for an arm.


Berrios ... I have seen him pitch three times in person. The most extensive outing was in 2013, late in the season for Cedar Rapids in the low A Midwest League. That was Berrios's least-impressive stat line in the minors, and he was so-so in that outing.

The second time was his one-inning start in the 2014 Futures Game in Target Field (so at least he's been on this mound before). Impressive, but just three batters. And the third was his spring training debut this spring in Fort Myers, when he was reportedly nervous and obviously wild.

I have no real idea of what to expect from him in his debut. He's a better pitcher today than when I saw in Iowa three summers ago, certainly. The talent is there. How much the excitement of making his major league debut will affect his work is probably the single biggest variable.


Also called up Tuesday was infielder Jorge Polanco, who gives the Twins a third position player on the bench. He probably won't play much, but his presence provides a bit more balance to the roster.

1 comment:

  1. Everyone who follows a sport has an opinion, often a strong one. Most generally part of that o0iniin is that ballclub management should be thrown out of the league.

    Ryan's decision seem to be the best one under the ├žircumstances.