Thursday, February 14, 2013

Starting rotation has plenty of question marks

It could be another long season for Twins fans after watching back-to-back seasons of poor starting pitching be the cause of the team's woes. The men brought in to be part of the mix for this year's team aren't exactly the cream of the crop. This could lead to even more headaches in 2013.

There are question marks surrounding more than one member of the proposed starting staff. For Twins fans, this can be a scary proposition. The club had to use a wide variety of pitchers to make it through last season. Fans might not be able to handle the likes of Sam Deduno and Nick Blackburn being relied on for extended periods of time.

Below you will see a brief look at some of the men fighting for a rotation spot and the reasons there are question marks surrounding health and other issues with this crew.
Scott Diamond
Last year's jewel of the Twins rotation will have to try and avoid a sophomore slump. This will come by putting together consistent numbers throughout the season. It's tough to think of him as a number one starter but he might be the best thing the Twins have going in their starting core.

Question Mark: While lifting weights in December, Diamond heard a cracking sound in his throwing elbow. It turned out to be bone chips so it wasn't something major. There are still questions about if he will be ready to be the Opening Day starter against Justin Verlander and the Tigers.

Kevin Correia
If Diamond isn't ready to go, Correia could get the Opening Day nod. He has been healthy for most of his career which is a skill not many starters have been able to say for the Twins. The team needs someone that can stick in the rotation and eat up some innings.

Question Mark: Was he really worth a two-year deal and $10 million? His health might not be an issue but his performance over the course of the contract will be debated across Twins Territory. There were some struggles for him in the National League so the switch to the American League could be a tough adjustment.

Mike Pelfrey
There were questions about whether or not Pelfrey would be able to go at the start of spring training. He put those to rest at TwinsFest by letting the media know that he would be able to be a full participant from the first day of spring training. This is a good step and the team will have to judge what he looks like from that point.

Question Mark: Since Pelfrey is coming off Tommy John surgery, there are questions about how many innings he will be able to pitch. There are also concerns about whether those innings will be effective. All of his big league experience was with the Mets so he will also be making the NL to AL jump.

Vance Worley
Worley, one of the pieces of the Ben Revere trade, is young and he has something to prove with his new team. He is switching from a hitter's park in Philadelphia to a little more pitcher friendly field in Minnesota. This could help his numbers and help him stick in the rotation for the long-term.

Question Mark: At the end of last season, Worley had to have a bone spur removed from his elbow. He pitched through the injury at the end of the year and this could have impacted his performance. The Twins obviously didn't think it was a concern since they traded from him after he went under the knife.

Kyle Gibson
The former first round pick is ready to prove he belongs at the big league level. He could start the year as a relief pitcher but his future lies in the starting rotation. Minnesota hopes he can be in the rotation for most of the next decade but only time will tell if he is up to that challenge.

Question Mark: Like Pelfrey, he is trying to come back from Tommy John surgery. This leaves plenty of question marks around what the Twins will do with him. He could start the year as a starter in Minnesota or Rochester but the team might have him begin in the bullpen.

Liam Hendriks
Hendriks finally got his first big league win last season. It took parts of two seasons and some up and down moments. If one of the above-mentioned names isn't ready to start, Hendriks could be asked to break camp as a member of the rotation for the second year in a row.

Question Mark: He hasn't been able to reproduce his great Triple-A numbers at the big league level. Hendriks is still young and there is time for him to figure it all out. The Twins would just like him to prove that he belongs in the rotation for the foreseeable future.

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