Friday, July 17, 2009

Back to Blogging

I took the week off from blogging with the All-Star break going on for most of it. I would say nothing happened either, but that wouldn't be true. The Twins called up Alexi Casilla for his third shot with the club this season, with Matt Tolbert mercifully being sent back to AAA (I don't think any team wants a guy on their roster who can be most aptly described as a poor man's Nick Punto).

The Twins also called up Kevin Mulvey to replace Jose Morales and add a twelfth pitcher to the roster. A twelfth pitcher isn't a necessity, but I'd rather have that than a third catcher who wins the lottery more often than he gets to play. I'm not sure Mulvey is the right pitcher, though. Bill Smith pointed to his ability to pitch in long relief for why he was the choice; if I'm not mistaken, though, Minnesota already has three pitchers who fit that role very well in R.A. Dickey, Bobby Keppel, and Brian Duensing.

What the Twins really need is another late-inning arm, which is why I would have rather given Juan Morillo, Jesse Crain, or Rob Delaney a shot instead. Mulvey has value, but he is just overkill at this point in time. Obviously, none of these players are slam dunks, or that move would have been made. Morillo is still walking a lot of batters, but it's way down from last year in AAA (from 8.45 BB/9 to 5.21) and his strikeout rate is incredible (13.50 K/9). Additionally, he's holding opponents to a .195 batting average with a totally average BABIP of .301. All of that results in a 2.84 ERA, which is just .02 off his FIP of 2.86. So, after typing all that, I'm pretty convinced I want Morillo in the bigs; the only reason I'd think otherwise is if he wouldn't be able to be sent back down if he struggled. Anyone want to help me out on that?

Delaney, meanwhile, was recently promoted to AAA and has not been nearly as dominant as he was at AA, but is holding his own. His K:BB ratio is down from 40-to-6 to 17-to-9, resulting in easily his worst BB/9, K/9, and K/BB numbers in a few years. However, he's still holding opponents to a .234 average, but that's aided by a .233 BABIP. His ERA is probably a little bloated, though, due to his 1.21 HR/9 rate that's more than twice as high as at any stop in the minors since Ft. Myers in 2006, when he threw just 5 innings.

Crain is in the same camp as Morillo, having been demoted from the Twins and with similar peripherals. He's walked too many (7 in 14.1 IP), but he's got a good strikeout rate (10.67 K/9) and opponents are batting only .216 against him.

All in all, I don't mind Mulvey getting promoted because Crain and Morillo both already showed they aren't sure things, and Delaney hasn't been great thus far in AAA.

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