April 2, 2008

Wednesday Afternoon: Minor League Rotations Set

Yesterday, La Velle E. Neal III gave us a look at the starting rotations for 4 of the Twins Minor League Affiliates. Here they are:

Class AAA Rochester
RHP Philip Humber
RHP Kevin Mulvey
LHP Glen Perkins
RHP Heath Totten
LHP Brian Duensing

Class AA New Britain
LHP Ryan Mullins
RHP Jay Rainville
RHP Oswaldo Sosa
RHP Anthony Swarzak
LHP Jason Miller

Class A Fort Myers
LHP Fransisco Liriano
RHP Jeff Manship
RHP Deolis Guerra
LHP Tyler Robertson
RHP Alex Burnett

Class A Beloit
RHP Mike McCardell
RHP David Bromberg
RHP Danny Berlind
LHP Steven Tarsi
RHP Brian Kirwan

He also mentioned that Cole DeVries will take over for Liriano in the Miracle's rotation after he is moved up to Rochester, former starter Matt Fox has been moved to the bullpen in Ft. Myers and Kyle Waldrop has been placed on the disabled list due to a shoulder injury.

The Twins seem to be doing something a little different. Generally they promote their players (regardless of their results) after one year (or a good amount of games) in each level. But by looking at this depth chart and knowing that guys like Trevor Plouffe (New Britain), Joe Benson (Beloit), Danny Valencia (Ft. Myers), and Chris Parmelee (Beloit) have been held back where they spent (at least most of) 2007. It confuses me to see a guy like Winston Marquez (Ft. Myers) skip an entire level when he wasn't even that great in the GCL anyways, and he's only 20-years old. Or to see

Now, before I begin on my rant, I do want you all to know that I do understand that the Twins Minor League Affiliates have a priority. Their first priority is just like that of the big leagues, win. The second is to develop players. But I have to say that I'm incredibly confused with a move.

In Triple-A, why is Heath Totten starting while guys like Anthony Swarzak, Jason Miller and even Ryan Mullins are stuck in New Britain? No one in their right mind can honestly say that he gives the Red Wings a better shot of winning than either Swarzak and Miller, and Mullins and he are probably comparable, however Mullins at least has some potential to make it to the majors some day. Totten does not.

Here are Totten's numbers in Triple-A over the course of 3 seasons:
  • 296.2 innings pitched in 54 games (51 starts)
  • 16-25 win/loss record
  • 204 earned runs
  • 2.7 K/BB ratio
  • 6.02 ERA
I do know that he has absolutely nothing to prove at Double-A anymore, so moving him to New Britain would be a wrong move. But I don't see how keeping one of our other guys in New Britain so this minor league lifer can take up space in the rotation at our highest minor league level. We have some seriously good arms in our organization, however they're being pushed aside for scrubs.

Jason Miller is almost 4 years younger, and has better numbers at Triple-A (granted mostly as a reliever) and yet he's moved down to New Britain. Miller I don't think has much of a future in the league, however I think any of us can argue that his potential much higher than Totten's. But again, why do we have to keep a guy like Jeff Manship in High-A when he pitched fine there last season? I know that he only has a half season in Fort Myers, but one of the purposes of drafting college pitchers is that they don't need as much time at each level as high school prospects. I'm not going to justify that a guy like Oswaldo Sosa or Deolis Guerra should move up a level, because both have much more to prove at their respected levels, but Manship should definitely be in New Britain right now. He made 13 starts in Beloit, he has made 13 starts in Fort Myers. Now, the results were a little different, he completely and utterly dominated the opposition in the Midwest League but he's been very good in the Florida State League as well.

Jeff Manship pitching for Ft. Myers

The only logical explanation I have is this. Totten is just holding a spot int he rotation until Francisco Liriano makes his way to Rochester (which is expected to be shortly), and after Liriano's gone, the Red Wings will call up a pitcher, as will New Britain. The thing is though, Zach Day is on the 15-day disabled list (with what, I don't know, and really don't care, but) when he gets back, is Totten going to be moved to the bullpen for Day, another guy with limited (if any) upside?

I don't want people to get the drift that I think all these players deserve to be promoted. I think that these guys can really benefit from another portion of the season being spent in the same level that they spent in 2007, but I don't agree with them being held because of a guy who does not give them any more of a chance to win than they do. I'm sorry, I just don't entirely agree with it.

Is this a fair assessment? Or is the organization seriously losing it? Am I wrong in my argument? I know I seem a bit exasperated with some of these decisions, but I guess I just fail to see good explanations for some of them. And I know that the season hasn't already begun and I'm already complaining, but I guess it's just something I had to get off my chest. Many probably agree with the moves, that's fine, but I just don't think any of them give those teams a better chance of winning, which again is their main priority.