Sunday, February 7, 2016

The state of the Twins rotation, and the opening day starter, according to Molitor

Last week, Paul Molitor had an interview with Darren Wolfson discussing several items on the state of the Twins.  The link is here, 12 minutes long video and very worthwhile.   In that video Molitor was asked about the Twins' 2016 rotation, and he practically said that:

Ervin Santana, Kyle Gibson and Phil Hughes (in that order) will be part of the Twins' rotation.  Additionally, Ricky Nolasco and Tommy Milone were not "promised" a spot, and will have to earn that spot in Spring Training, in a battle that will include Tyler Duffey, Trevor May and Jose Berrios.

A few thoughts out of those statements:

  • It seems that the Twins will have a new opening day starter, Ervin Santana in 2016.  Here is a list of the Twins' opening day starter, since the last time they had a person fulfill that role in two consecutive seasons:
    • 2015 - Phil Hughes
    • 2014 - Ricky Nolasco
    • 2013 - Vance Worley
    • 2012 - Carl Pavano
    • 2011 - Carl Pavano
  • My impression for the rotation would be that the Twins will "follow the money", i.e.  the players who make the most (Nolasco and Milone) would be given a spot just to justify the spend.  This has been the usual Twins' mode of operations.  Whether there will really be a battle for those 2 spots on the field, instead of paper, is yet to be seen.
  • It seems that for some unfortunate reason, the pitcher with the higher upside in the Twins' organization, and arguably (I have not see Tyler Jay as a starter) the only with Ace stuff and potential, Alex Meyer, is not considered for a position in the rotation at this point.  I will probably have to write a whole article about it, but 2015 was not that much worse than 2014 for Meyer, mechanics and consistency were the biggest issues (translated into command and control on the mound,) and the pitching coach who could not help him paid with his job.
  • The rotation will definitely be an interesting side story to check out this Spring for the Twins, since a lot of it, will affect how the bullpen (which looks as Abad as that of 2015) will end up looking.

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