MLB Team News & Rumors: Minnesota

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Minnesota Twins

Our expert from,Shawn Childs, helps you prepare for your big fantasy baseball draft.

Minnesota Twins Team Projection

Needless to say, it was a rough year for the Minnesota Twins pitching staff in 2013.

1. SP Ricky Nolasco

Ricky Nolasco fantasy baseball

After allowing 458 hits in 397 innings over the previous 2 seasons, Nolasco was able to lower his batting average against to .255 in 2013. Paired with his elite command (2.1), this led to his best season since 2008. Ricky threw his fastball (90.3) a career low 43.9% of the time. His slider is his #2 pitch, followed by a curveball and a split-finger fastball. Nolasco had an electric 12-game stretch with the Dodgers (8-1 with a 1.91 ERA) after a July trade. He allowed 3 runs or less in 13 straight starts (1 with Miami) to lower his ERA to 3.14 on September 9th. Unfortunately, he collapsed over his last 3 starts of the year (12.75 ERA with 28 base runners allowed in 12 innings). He allowed the same amount of runs (17) as he did in his previous 12 starts. Overall, Nolasco's improved season was probably due to more life on his pitches in the strike zone, which led to a few more K's (7.4 walk rate). Ricky signed a four year, $49 million contract in November with the Twins. His command suggests he has upside, but his declining K rate in 2011 and 2012 paints another picture. Decent major league arm and a sure upgrade to Minnesota's staff, but his stats will most likely fall short of expectations. Downside risk in 2014.

2. SP Phil Hughes

Phil Hughes fantasy baseball

Hughes never developed into the starter the Yankees thought he would. Phil signed a 3 year, $24 million contract in November with the Twins. He has a career 4.54 ERA in the majors, but he does have a winning record (56-50). His command (2.6) has been strong over the last 2 seasons, but his K rate (7.6) remains flat. Over the past 2 seasons, he has allowed 59 HR's in 337 innings (1.6 per 9 innings). Hughes was only dominant once during his career against RH batters (.184), but it was when he pitched in the bullpen. Over the past 2 seasons, righties have hit .298 against him with 35 HR's in 619 at bats. His AFB (92.4) has improved over his last 2 years. Last year, he tried to be a fastball/slider pitcher for the first time in his career. Prior to last season, his curveball was his #2 pitch (followed by a cutter). Furthermore, his changeup hasn't developed into a quality pitch. Phil pretty much struggled in every month last season and was relegated to the bullpen in September. Hughes is a FB pitcher (46.0%) who struggled in Yankee Stadium during his entire career (4.95 ERA), allowing 76 HR's in 405 innings (1.7 per 9 innings). In his 3 starts at Target Field, he has 2.53 ERA with only 1 HR allowed in 21.3 innings. Hughes has won over 15 games twice during his career, so he has to have more in the tank than he has shown at this point in his career. It looks like he really doesn't know what he has to do when attacking batters and is too easy to hit. I expect him to pitch better this season, but Minnesota may hang him out to dry too many times to see a huge improvement. The one glimmer of hope is his elite 1st pitch strike % (71) in 2013.

3. SP Mike Pelfrey

Mike Pelfrey fantasy baseball

Pelfrey pitched poorly in his first year back after having Tommy John surgery in 2012. He struggled over his first 11 starts of the year (6.66 ERA), having only 2 K's or less in 8 of those starts. After the first 2 months of the year, he had 19 walks and only 26 K's over 51.3 innings. Pelfrey suffered a back strain in June which led to a DL stint. When he returned to the lineup, he was a much better pitcher. Mike allowed 3 runs or less in 9 of his 11 starts (3.45 ERA) in July and August. His K rate (6.0 - career high) was short, but it did show some growth over his last 5 starts (27 in 26.3 innings). Right handed batters crushed him (.337), but they only had 3 HR's in 276 at bats. His AFB (92.4) was in line with his career average. He throws a slider, curveball, and split-finger fastball about the same % of time. In the end, he did improve as the season went on. However, his command (3.0) remains short. With another year removed from his surgery, he may end up with a sub 4.00 ERA and his K's may be the highest of his career. Low upside player with a short K rate = no fantasy value in 10 and 12-team leagues.

4. SP Kevin Correia

Kevin Correia fantasy baseball

Correia has had one of the shortest K rates (4.9) in the majors over the last 3 seasons, which leads to too many ball in play. He probably isn't good enough to be the 4th starter on the Twins, but his $5.5 million contract says it's his job to lose. His command (2.2) has been good over his last 3 seasons, but he allowed too many HR's (1.2). He did pitch well in April (2.23), August (3.60), and September (3.48), but was terrible in the other 3 months (5.42). Both RH (.299) and LH (.295) batters hit him hard, and his AFB (90.5) was in line with his previous 3 seasons. His cutter has developed into his #2 pitch, followed by a curveball and changeup. Junk ball pitcher with no upside.

5. SP Kyle Gibson

Kyle Gibson fantasy baseball

Gibson pitched very well in the minors last season, but he couldn't get anyone out in the majors. Minnesota gave him 9 starts in July and August, and Kyle only had one quality start. He only threw 52% first pitch strikes, and his AFB was 92.1 in the majors. He threw a slider as his #2 pitch, followed by a curveball. Gibson has a career 3.51 ERA in the minors with 337 K's in 377.3 innings. He has more upside than most of the other options competing for a starting job, so he should get a 2nd chance in the majors early in the season. Possible flyer in deep leagues and may have value in an AL only league.

6. SP Vance Worley

Vance Worley fantasy baseball

Worley struggled in the majors, which led to him being sent to AAA (had a 3.88 ERA in the minors). His shoulder just wasn't healthy, which led to him being shut down in August. His AFB (89.5) has declined in each of the last 3 seasons. He throws a cutter as his #2 pitch, but Vance really doesn't have a 3rd pitch that he trusts. Last year, he tried to throw a curveball, changeup, and split-finger fastball. His K rate was 4.6 in the majors and 5.3 in the minor, while his HR rate (1.7) was a huge problem with the Twins. His minor resume isn't terrible (3.81 ERA with solid command {2.4}) and he has one good season in the majors. His shoulder didn't need surgery, which might be a bad sign (problem wasn't corrected). Low upside player that has no value unless he pitches well in spring training.

7. SP Scott Diamond

Scott Diamond fantasy baseball

After a nice season in 2012, Diamond struggled in 2013 after having elbow surgery in December. His success in the previous season was probably a fluke due to his low K rate (4.7). Last year, he finished with an even lower strikeout rate (3.6). His command was the best in the league in 2012 (1.6 walks per 9), but it declined to 2.5 in 2013. He struggled against righties (.304) and lefties (.310), and allowed too many HR's (1.4). His ERA was over 4.32 in every month last season and he allowed 3 runs or less only 10 times in his 24 starts. His AFB (88.6) was weaker than 2012 (89.4). Scott threw his curveball as his #2 pitch, followed by a changeup. Tough season overall, but he probably is a little better pitcher when healthy. He really doesn't have low ERA upside and his K's may make him worthless in the fantasy world. I expect better in 2014, but he is still a 9-iron away from the green.

8. CL Glen Perkins

Glen Perkins fantasy baseball

Perkins has pitched great over the last 3 seasons in the bullpen for the Twins. He has even improved in each of his last 2 seasons. His K rate (11.1) was a career high and it is 4+ K's higher than his career average. His command (2.2) has also been very good in 5 of his last 6 seasons, while his AFB (94.9) matched his career high from last season. The only other pitch he throws is a slider. Perkins now has an elite first strike % (70). Glen dominated RH batters (.183) and only allowed 2 extra base hits in 55 at bats to lefties. His skill set looks elite. Perkins has upside in K's, plus he looks like a stable option for saves. In October, Glen had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. He is expected is be ready for spring training.

9. RP Michael Tonkin

Michael Tonkin fantasy baseball

Tonkin has 36 saves in his minor league career. He pitched well enough in the minors to get called up to the majors last year. Michael has a solid fastball (94.4) and throws a slider as his #2 pitch. His command (2.4) was the same in the majors as it was in the minors, while his K rate (7.9) was stronger during his minor league career (9.2). Michael has a career 3.29 ERA in the minors with 366 K's in 358.7 innings. Possible closer if his slider makes a step forward.

10. RP Jared Burton

Jared Burton fantasy baseball

Burton pitched great in 2012, but couldn't match his success last season. His walk rate (3.0) was a step down from 2012 (2.3), and his AFB (92.1) was a step down from 2012 (92.9). He throws a changeup as his #2 pitch, followed by a solid slider. Burton had success against RH batters (.227), but wasn't as strong against lefties (.258). Jared has a decent bullpen arm, but probably isn't closer worthy. As of now, he is the next best option if Perkins has an issue.


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