Pregame: Starting Pitcher Scouting Reports

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

A pair of young hurlers take the mound in the middle game of the Twins' three game set against the Orioles.

Today's game features two pitchers that are barely older than me in the 25-year old Steve Johnson and 26-year old Vance Worley. Both are looking to pitch deeper than Mike Pelfrey and Jason Hammel from yesterday, as neither of Friday's starters were able to complete 6 innings.

Steve Johnson (4-0, 2.11*)

* 2012 statistics

Johnson made his major league debut last season for the Orioles and was a welcome surprise. He wasn't a top prospect, but he made 12 appearances (4 starts) and won all of his decisions while posting an excellent ERA. It appeared as though the league couldn't figure him out, as he struck out over 10 batters per 9 innings and held opponent's to a .173 batting average. However, he had issues with his control (4.23 BB/9) so if he has trouble keeping the hits off the scoreboard, keeping the runs off will be difficult as well in his 2013 debut.

Johnson will sometimes hit 90 MPH with his fastball but sits in the high-80s, part of the reason why he wasn't highly thought of coming up through the Dodgers and Orioles organizations. The lack of velocity didn't faze him though, as he threw it 2/3 of the time. FanGraphs rated it as his best pitch, so I suppose if it doesn't put as much stress on your arm as a breaking pitch, you might as well keep using it. His secondary pitches all have a significant difference in velocity from the fastball (high-70s change-up & slider and a Livan Hernandez-like 67 MPH curveball) so for the Twins to be successful against him, they will need to be patient and not overswing on his soft stuff.

Vance Worley (0-4, 6.95)

Worley has really struggled in his first round in the Junior Circuit, as evidenced by his ERA. He didn't pitch spectacularly well in his last start against the Red Sox, but it wasn't poor either as he allowed 3 runs in 5 innings. A big concern has been his lack of pitching deep into ballgames, and the Twins are going to need him to do so with Glen Perkins a bit stiff right now and having to use several pitchers in yesterday's 10-inning game where Mike Pelfrey didn't make it out of the 6th inning.

Worley typically doesn't generate many swinging strikes, so his success will come from painting the corners and getting the Orioles to make weak contact. Another point of emphasis would be to avoid the long ball, as this season's HR/9 (1.34) is significantly higher than his career rate (0.81).

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