With the regular season moving in fast, the Minnesota Twins are hard at work filling their starting pitcher roster for the 2014 season.
So far, the projected starters for the Twins are Ricky Nolasco (13-11, 3.70 ERA with the Marlins and Dodgers), Phil Hughes (4-14, 5.19 ERA with the Yankees), Kevin Correia (9-13, 4.18 ERA), and Mike Pelfrey (5-13, 5.19 ERA).
The fifth starter position is up for grabs, and in the hunt are Kyle Gibson, Samuel Deduno, Scott Diamond and Vance Worley.
Throughout this article, I’ll look at the four pitching candidates recently mentioned and give my intake on who will be the best man for the job.
Called up in June 2013, Gibson progressed through the season and finished with a 2-4 record, 6.53 ERA, and 29 strikeouts. So far this preseason, Gibson has been proving that he may be more than just an average pitching candidate.
In his recent bout with the St. Louis Cardinals, Gibson went 4.1 innings, striking out four and walking none. A fourth inning solo home run from Cardinals Matt Adams was the only flaw for Gibson, and the only home run he has given up this spring. In the 13.1 overall innings that Gibson has pitched this spring, he has produced an ERA of 2.70. If he can keep up these numbers, Gibson could be a very strong leader in the rotation.
Deduno is a more seasoned and experienced pitcher, having debuted for the Colorado Rockies late in the 2010 season. At the ripe age of 30, Deduno spent the last two seasons with the Twins racking up a record of 14-13, a 4.06 ERA, and 131 strikeouts.
During this preseason, however, Deduno has only been pitching relief, and has not had a chance to start a game. In Wednesday’s game against the Cardinals, Deduno allowed two runs in the eighth inning, giving the Cardinals the win. Having only pitched in a relief position, this may suggest that the Twins have that role in mind for Deduno, but nothing has been said for sure as to what the future holds for him.
Scott Diamond and Vance Worley
Last season, Diamond had a disappointing run, going 6-13 with a 5.43 ERA. In the 92 innings he has pitched this preseason, Diamond has already surpassed that ERA and now sits at 5.59.
Worley is in a tougher position. In just 10.2 innings this preseason, Worley holds a 13.50 ERA. In an 11-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays, Worley allowed a total of seven runs.
Deduno, Diamond, and Worley are in a tricky spot. They are out of options, which means that they are not allowed to be sent to the Minors unless they pass through Waivers and give every other team a chance to pick them up. For these three candidates, the Twins must either sign them, or possibly lose them to another team right before the regular season begins.
My Best Guess
When it comes to decision-making time, I believe that Gibson has the best shot at making the cut and grabbing the fifth and final position if the starting roster. If all goes well for him, I believe he may even be one of the best starting pitchers the Twins will have. As for Deduno, I would not be surprised if another team claimed him right before the season. Diamond may be of interest to another team, but not as a starter most likely. In Worley’s case, he may be better suited for one more year in the Minors before being considered for any Major League pitching position.