The issues the Minnesota Twins have had in their starting rotation this season are well-known, and that is probably the biggest reasons for the team’s struggles. Injuries and and ineffectiveness at the big league level has exposed the lack of major league-ready starters in the Twins’ minor league system over the last couple years, and one guy that has gotten an opportunity this year is Samuel Deduno.
Deduno was 1-2 with a 2.14 ERA in nine starts (42 innings) for Triple-A Rochester with 46 strikeouts (9,9 K/9) and 22 walks (4.7 BB/9) prior to being called up and making his first major league start against the Texas Rangers on July 7. His prior big league experience was limited to six relief appearances (5.2 innings) during the 2010 and 2011 seasons with the Colorado Rockies and San Diego Padres respectively, but the majority of Deduno’s minor league resume (140 of 169 appearances) has been as a starter.
Deduno was fairly mediocre, to say the least, in his first two starts against the Rangers and Baltimore Orioles, allowing seven runs (six earned) on 12 hits over a combined 9.2 innings along with eight strikeouts and eight walks. But Thursday night against the Boston Red Sox was his best big league start as he allowed just two hits over six shutout innings with one strikeout and four walks, and he is now 3-0 with a 0.93 ERA over his last three starts (19.1 innings) with a quality start each time out. Overall in his five starts this season for the Twins Deduno is 3-0 with a 2.48 ERA and a 19:20 K/BB ratio over 29 innings. His lack of command is a concern, with at least three walks in all five of his starts for Minnesota and at least four free passes in three of those outings, but Deduno is making a case to be in the running for a starting rotation spot for the Twins in 2013 and even beyond.
Deduno’s lack of a major league track record at age 29 is fairly troublesome and creates the distinct possibility he is just not a major league level pitcher, but the Twins can’t be too picky right now in their search for suitable starters. Deduno, even though his current performance level does not look sustainable and a drop-off may come over the final two months of the season, deserves a chance to compete for spot in the Twins’ starting rotation next spring.