Full Disclosure: this was published just as I found out that the Twins are purchasing the contract of Yohan Pino, who will start Thursday. But still, I hope it's worth reading. Go Twins go!
On Monday, Trevor May threw 120 pitches. It's easy to wonder why, considering it was "just" a minor league game, but it's not like we're dealing with a player coming off of a year of injuries. It's not like he's young, either; May is closer to 25 than he is to 24. And let's be honest, if we want the Twins to bring up a pitcher wouldn't it be nice to know that he's capable of throwing more than 100 pitches if he needs to, instead of having to coddle him until he reaches some invisible level of veteran status that can only be bestowed upon a player by his manager?
May threw 8.1 innings of one-run baseball against Pawtucket yesterday, striking out 11, walking one, and giving up just three hits. On the season, the right-hander is holding batters to a .197 average with 78 strikeouts in 74.2 innings.
Samuel Deduno's stuff is positively electric, there's no denying that. But he hasn't been able to capture the magic of last season, and as a starter this year has posted a 6.52 ERA in eight games. Hitters have posted a .285/.369/.444 triple slash versus Deduno since he shifted away from the bullpen.
Granted, a lot of that damage has come in his most recent four starts, which is a small sample size and therefore not necessarily reliable as an indicator of future performance. But when the team needs to make changes if they want to have any hope of staying in contention, and when a younger player has done all he can possibly do to prove that he's ready to take the next step, how long can you justify sticking with the status quo?
We've passed mid-June. This is roughly the time where we expected that the Twins would make changes to their rotation, in terms of giving guys like Alex Meyer - or in our case, more likely May - an opportunity to contribute for the big league club. Considering Minnesota's precarious position, they can't afford to continue to wait things out for much longer.
The rotation as it sits can only take this team so far, not just this year but in the future. By the same token, even if the Twins wait Deduno out (as they've done for Kevin Correia), there's a limit to how much good it can do for the team in the long run. We've seen a lot of short gains for this team so far this year, and they've been great and refreshing and they're tempting to hold onto, but the long gains are still more important. And let's be honest, right now even the short-term gains aren't there for Deduno.
Let's get May's development as a Major League pitcher underway, so that when 2015 comes around he has 13 to 15 starts already under his belt. I would hope that when this decision comes, it doesn't come at Deduno's expense. He does generate a special amount of movement on his pitches, and I would like to think that there's some way to harness that potential.
Trevor May has been pitching well all season. With Deduno's struggles, now is the best opportunity the front office has to make a bold decision. I'm not sure a kid with absolutely zero Major League experience could be doing worse.