It could end up being a pretty long season for the Minnesota Twins‘ starting five.
At least, if you put any stock at all in Spring Training results anyway. If not, none of this will mean anything, obviously.
If you do (even a little), though, the picture isn’t pretty. Top pitching prospect Kyle Gibson has been demoted after eight runs on 14 hits and four walks. Newcomer Vance Worley has given up five runs on 13 hits and a pair of walks in the same span. Liam Hendriks has given up seven runs on 13 hits and three walks in 11 innings.
Mike Pelfrey, as impressive as it has been that he’s even throwing off the mound, is showing no signs of being ready for the start of the season, and is coming off a five-run outing on six hits and a trio of free passes.
As for potential Opening Day starter, Scott Diamond? Well, he hasn’t even thrown in a spring game yet and won’t do so until next week, giving him just a couple of weeks to get ready.
And then there’s the current innings leader for the Twins in spring, and the team’s new $10 million man, Kevin Correia.
Obviously, you see where this is headed.
Let’s get the bad news out there first: no, Correia isn’t doing much thus far in spring to suggest that he might be ready to play the type of inning-eating front-line role that the team have for him, and has given up six earned runs (nine total) on an unsurprising 17 hits and a somewhat-surprising four walks over 11.1 innings of Grapefruit League play.
That he has only three strikeouts shouldn’t be a surprise, but that he’s currently walking more batters than he’s striking them out might be of some concern.
It’s not all doom-and-gloom, though. The 32-year old is coming off an outing on Wednesday in which he almost went five innings (4.2), giving up an earned run on four hits, while not walking any of the batters he faced for the first time over his four spring starts.
You could also look to his GO/AO ratio, which is currently sitting 1.31, suggesting that his ability to keep the ball down in his pitch-to-contact game is doing what it needs to be, more or less.
It’s all minor consolations, though. It’s easy to say that a pitcher is in mid-season form when he’s doing well in spring, and just as easy to throw out all the results when they’re struggling. For Correia and the Twins, the latter ‘he’s working on things and not worried about the results’ approach definitely applies, but at some point — and soon — the team will want to see some progress an improvements.
That could be said for the entire projected rotation, but perhaps more for so for Correia, given that he’s the team’s highest-paid starter outside of the injury mess that is Nick Blackburn.
Unfortunately for the Twins, the minor steps he’s taken thus far in spring haven’t been enough to validate the reasons why the team committed to him — not yet.