The recent news of Trevor May needing Tommy John surgery certainly stings. After demonstrating that he can be a dominant reliever at times, the Twins were looking to see if he could contribute in the rotation this year. Although the loss of him makes this season look a little less rosy, with injury comes opportunity and plenty of players are looking to use his opening as a springboard towards a role on the major league roster this upcoming season.
He’s easily the player with the most upside and probably the pitcher the Twins need to succeed the most. He was rocked in his first taste of the majors last year, plus his age and slight frame suggest that he’s not ready for a full season workload yet. That would mean that he still has a chance of starting the season in the minors. However, he has the stuff and (for what it’s worth) the seeming tenacity that you would want out of a star pitcher, plus he did throw 170 innings last year so theoretically he should be able to throw about the same amount this year. I’d be shocked if he gets even 150 innings in the majors this season, but if he does, something clicked for him.
Although I’m including Duffey on this list, I think he was a lock to make the team no matter what. He had success as a starting pitcher two years ago, but he lacks the pitching repertoire to maintain that success. However, his curveball is good enough to carry him in the bullpen, so even if he lost the fifth starter competition, he’s currently among the organization’s 12 best pitchers.
In camp on a minor league contract, Vogelsong has always been a bit of a long shot to make the roster. However, being a veteran would allow Berrios to get more seasoning in the minors, plus he has experience as a swingman that could either mop up innings in the bullpen or fill in as the fifth starter. He wouldn’t make the team better, but he’d allow the Twins to take some more baby steps with their young pitchers.
Profiled yesterday by Louie, Mejia is a high-floor, low-ceiling starting pitcher. Basically, the prototypical Twins pitcher we’ve seen trotted to the mound over the past... well, ever. Mejia is sort of in the same boat as Berrios in that the Twins would want to take it easy with him, but there’s no reason the Twins wouldn’t start the season with Mejia only to replace him with Berrios sometime during the summer.
It’s not just the starting pitchers that benefit from May’s departure as he could have been an option in the bullpen as well. Chargois has the stuff to be a dominant reliever and I feel he should start the season with the Twins no matter what, but he does have a shot of going to the minors and being forced to prove he belongs in the majors. However, May was an option as a late-inning reliever and now the Twins have to rely on Brandon Kintzler, Matt Belisle, and Ryan Pressly. Of the three, only Pressly has the stuff to shut down opposing lineups, so the Twins could certainly use another arm to close out games.
A Rule 5 pick, Haley has been a starting pitcher throughout his career but teams often hide their Rule 5 pitchers in the bullpen. Haley either has to make the major league roster or be sent back to the Boston Red Sox (his original team), unless the Twins swing a trade to keep him. Haley shouldn’t be expected to contribute in any seriously meaningful way this year, but the Twins could hope that they have found another Pressly or (gasps) Johan Santana (just kidding).
Buddy Boshers/Ryan O’Rourke/Taylor Rogers/Craig Breslow
Breslow might have a leg up on the other lefties here for virtually the same reason Vogelsong would be attractive on the roster, plus he would be a bridge for introducing the analytical side of baseball from the front office to the players. Before May’s injury, it might have been a given that three of these pitchers would not break camp with the Twins. After his injury, I think a second pitcher from this group will be gifted with a golden ticket to Target Field.
Which pitcher do you think had the biggest improvement of joining the Twins at Target Field in April after Trevor May’s injury?