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Meet: Pat Neshek

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Another arm from the system is loaded into the Major League arsenal.

Bloggosphere fans have been waiting for this move since the beginning of the season.  Especially early, when Rincon and Crain struggled in April and the Twins couldn't get to Nathan, Neshek was one of a number of "wish list" players we longed to see removed from Rochester.  Yesterday, Twins fans finally got their wish.

We'll see you in Texas, Mr. Neshek

With Boof's demotion to AAA the Twins are running four starters through roughly July 17, due to the All Star break and days off.  Neshek's presence in the bullpen bolsters the strong end of the relief pool that, while effective, isn't as intimidating as years past.  The bullpen now consists of Nathan, Rincon, Crain, Neshek, Reyes, Eyre and Lohse.  Seven-deep is a little heavy, but until the Twins move Lohse or Scott Baker into the open starter's spot, it's a necessity.

Neshek's arsenal consists of a fastball that ranges from the lower to mid-90's, a slider, a sinker and a changeup.  The change is definitely the weakest in Pat's arsenal, but is still effective enough to keep hitters honest, so they can't sit on the fastball and slider.  Delivery is also a part of the game for our new reliever, as his side-arm motion has been known to baffle those who step into the box.  Here's a quote from infielder Rob Cosby, from the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle:

"It's kind of weird, because he bends to throw, and then he comes up. You have no chance to pick up the ball. And he throws hard from the side. He's got a good slider and a good sinker, that's why he makes things so difficult. He's a really good pitcher."

Neshek was selected twice in the draft by Minnesota.  The first time was in 1999, when he was drafted 1337th overall in the 45th round of the amateur-entry draft.  He was again drafted in the 2002 amateur-entry draft, this time in the 6th round, 182nd overall.  By 2003 he was already getting attention in Quad Cities, being called the River Bandits' "Bullpen Stopper", as well as being dubbed both one of their best strikeout pitchers AND control pitchers.  He eventually made the roster of AA New Britain.

In 2004 Pat split time between Fort Myers and New Britain, pitching effectively in both leagues although having some control issues at AA.  By 2005 his time was solidified with the Rock Cats, as he posted fantastic numbers, leading to time in Rochester this spring and eventually the callup yesterday.

For additional information on Neshek visit Seth's site for a Q&A from last year, or a different Q&A from last year, or visit Neshek's own site.

By the numbers

Year    Lvl   Age    IP   H   K  BB   ERA  WHIP
2002   Rook    21  27.1  13  41   6  0.99  0.70
2003      A    22  34.1  20  53  11  0.52  0.90
2003     A+    22  29.1  22  29   6  2.15  0.95
2003     AA    22   7.2   7   5   3  5.87  1.30
2004     A+    23  18.1  16  19   2  2.95  0.98
2004     AA    23  35.1  34  38  18  3.82  1.47
2005     AA    24  82.1  69  95  21  2.19  1.09
2006    AAA    25  60.0  41  87  14  1.95  0.92

Looking over his history you can see he's been a strikeout pitcher at every level.  In his time with the Rock Cats in 2004 you can see his walk numbers were higher than his career norms, but this issue was quickly resolved.  Neshek has earned his shot at the big time, and it's always great to see farm hands brought up at a level where they're ready to make an impact from day one.

Welcome to the bigs, Rookie!  Here's toasting you long and sustained success in The Show.