Twins Starters are the Worst! (again)

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Anyone who has watched this season progress shouldn’t be too surprised to read that the Twins starters have the worst ERA in Baseball. Its not really that close.

The starting pitching has trotted out a 5.19 ERA.

The starting five has the worst K/9 in all of Baseball

They have the worst xFIP in all of baseball with a 4.51 – the next closest being the White Sox at 4.30

MLB Ave 17 17 294.3 7.41 2.87 0.97 0.11 3.89 3.85 3.80
Twins Starters 14 20 263.2 5.73 2.97 0.99 0.085 5.19 4.25 4.51

That sucks.

No, it really sucks because the team invested money in the rotation with Ricky Nolasco, Phil Hughes and the resigning of Mike Pelfrey. But when we look at their individual stats, we can see how bad it is:

Ricky Nolasco 2 5 10 60.1 5.97 2.39 1.49 12.70% 6.12 4.67 4.22
Phil Hughes 5 1 9 54.1 7.79 0.99 0.66 5.20% 3.15 2.66 3.55
Kyle Gibson 4 4 9 50 4.5 3.6 0.54 5.50% 4.68 4.03 4.68
Kevin Correia 2 5 9 48.1 4.84 2.42 0.93 6.50% 6.52 4.18 4.91
Mike Pelfrey 0 3 5 23.2 3.8 6.85 1.9 15.20% 7.99 7.48 6.55
Samuel Deduno 1 3 4 41.1 7.19 3.7 0.44 5.70% 3.48 3.46 3.93
Kris Johnson 0 0 1 4.1 10.38 12.46 0 0.00% 0 4.89 5.19

Hughes is good, Deduno is showing the team they made a poor decision to keep him out of the rotation, Gibson is just around average. Everyone else…pretty bad.

Why is it so bad? The disparity between ERA and FIP stand out to me. This gap is the the second biggest in baseball – does that prove that the Minnesota defense stinks? Not really, but it does show that the pitchers are giving up more runs than they would if their defense was better. The fielding has been terrible – especially in the outfield. And this has allowed extra runners and the FIP numbers show this. In my opinion this falls directly on the odd roster mismanagement as outlined by Mackey: Mackey: The Twins are making some bizarre roster decisions this year

But ultimately the starters inability to get strikeouts after the defense messes it up is hurting them the most.

So, what to do about this? In years past we would be looking at the minors and see nothing but bad pitchers because if a guy was any good, he would be on the 25 man roster. But this year the starters at Triple-A are looking pretty good:

Trevor May 4 3 9 48 9.84 3.56 0.42 3.00 2.94
Alex Meyer 2 1 9 45.2 10.64 4.53 0.59 3.55 3.53
Kris Johnson 4 2 8 47 8.62 3.83 0 2.11 2.76
Logan Darnell 1 2 7 37 9 3.16 0.97 2.43 3.87

So is it time to drop Correia, put Nolasco on the phantom disabled list and call up two of those guys? With the terrible defense in the majors, would it help?

I don’t know!

But something has to change. The two guys with the biggest target on their backs is Nolasco and Correia. Corriea is a free agent next year, so he is the easiest to dump, but I would be surprised if they did anything with Nolasco after signing him this summer. I don’t think Gibson has pitched himself out of the rotation yet. But when we look at the guys in Triple-A, you can’t help starting pining for those guys. Kris Johnson has been amazing, and he is pitching reasonably close to how he pitched in Triple-A during the ’13 season. Logan Darnell has also been great, but his track record doesn’t really back up what he is doing now. Trevor May is finally putting it together. And of course Alex Meyer is getting strike outs but I would suspect he is on a pitch/inning count and not sure that he should be up at the MLB level only to be shut down in mid-August.

If I were in charge of the Twins, Corriea would've pitched his last pitch with the Twins and May would be in. And the team’s crack medical staff would be pouring over every inch of Nolasco’s body trying to find something out of kilter so Meyer or Johnson could get a shot to fill in for 4-5 starts or so.

Would this fix the Twins and gear them up for a pennant run this year? No. The offense is still not great and the defense still stinks. But at least we could start getting the future going, build for next year and have some pitchers who have the ability to get a K now and again. But mostly, I remember the buzz that filled the stadium last year when Gibson and Albers were pitching. This fanbase is dying for a legit starting rotation. And at the very least May, Meyer and maybe Johnson would add some needed excitement to Target Field.

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