The Minnesota Twins, like most Major League Baseball teams at this point, need to secure the fifth spot in their starting rotation. Samuel Deduno’s outstanding performance in the World Baseball Classic is exactly what he needed to get the attention of manager Ron Gardenhire.
Deduno went 2-0 with an incredible 0.69 earned run average and 17 strikeouts in 13 innings for Team Dominican Republic. His stellar execution throughout the international tournament helped his home country win the gold medal.
The 29-year old made 15 starts for the Twins last season in which he posted a 6-5 record with a 4.44 ERA, 57 strikeouts and a whopping 53 walks in 79 innings. Since he did not blow anyone away with his numbers in 2012, he merely received a non-roster invite to camp this spring. However, that status could change very soon.
The entire Minnesota organization was watching Deduno closely throughout the tournament, especially when he started in the championship game against Puerto Rico. He allowed only two hits and struck out five batters in five scoreless innings to receive the win. His performance in that game alone may have solidified his spot in the starting rotation.
“He showed a lot of presence, and he did the job,” general manager Terry Ryan told the Associated Press. “It was good to see. He did a great job pitching for the Dominican Republic. Now we’re hoping he’ll do a great job for the Minnesota Twins.”
If Deduno does clinch a rotation berth, it will certainly be one of the early feel-good stories of the season, as he’ll have spent significant time with three different organizations only to win a shot at the bigs based on the WBC finals.
However, just because Deduno has his coaches and general manger talking does not necessarily mean he has won the job. There is still just under two weeks left in Spring Training in which the right-hander must earn the fifth rotation spot in camp. With that being said, the Twins would be insane not to give Deduno the position, considering he clearly has the hot hand right now.