Thursday, April 16, 2009

Help on the Way?

With the Twins' bullpen struggling, having allowed 26 runs in 34 innings thus far (6.88 ERA), here's a look at who could be called up to help in the near future.

LHP Jose Mijares- After his sparkling performance down the stretch last season, Mijares was assumed to be an important part of the 2009 bullpen. However, he showed up to camp overweight and pitched his way to AAA during the spring. Thus far in Rochester, though, Mijares has returned to last season's dominating form, giving up just one hit and striking out 4 in 5.1 innings. If he keeps pitching this well, it shouldn't be long before he rejoins the Twins and either R.A. Dickey or Phil Humber heads to Rochester.

RHP Anthony Swarzak- Swarzak had a very disappointing first half of 2008 at New Britain, but then turned in a much better 2nd half after an undeserved promotion to Rochester. However, despite the pretty ERA and win-loss record, his K:BB ratio was not particularly impressive. The start to the 2009 season, though, has been different, as he has struck out 9 and walked only 1 in his 2 starts thus far. He's only pitched in relief three times in his 5 year minor league career, but he could be called upon to help the big league club later this season.

RHP Anthony Slama- The last two pitchers on my list may not be as high on the Twins' list of potential bullpen options, but I think both of them could make the jump and really help the Twins, much like Mijares did last season. Slama has absolutely dominated throughout his minor league career, although he has been old for each level. In his career, he has 166 Ks and only 35 BBs in 106.2 innings. This season, the Twins have finally allowed the 25 year old to reach AA, which is usually considered the biggest jump in the minor league level. Thus far, he has continued his dominance, striking out 7, walking 1, and giving up 1 hit in 4 innings. If the Twins ever let Slama move up according to his performance, he'll be in AAA or the majors quite soon.

RHP Rob Delaney- Delaney is in a similar situation to Slama, having been old for each level he's pitched at, but also dominating wherever he's been, as shown by his career 7:1 K:BB ratio. In 2009 for New Britain, Delaney has 11 Ks and no walks in 7 innings. He already spent a half season at New Britain last year, so he should be headed to Rochester whenever a spot opens up there in the bullpen.

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