"Pitching has got to be the foundation in the organization. Everybody wants a good pitcher. The more pitchers we have, the stronger our organization will be."
- Dayton Moore, Kansas City Royals General Manager

Sunday, January 13, 2008

2008 Minnesota Twins Organizational Depth Report

1. matt garza, RHSP *TRADED TO TB*
2. francisco liriano, LHSP
3. oswaldo sosa, RHSP - september 2008
4. kevin slowey, RHSP
5. eduardo morlan, RHRP - april 2008 *TRADED TO TB*
6. zack ward, RHSP - september 2009 *SLEEPER*
7. anthony swarzak, RHSP - september 2008
8. tyler robertson, LHSP - 2010
9. jeff manship, RHSP - mid 2009
10.glen perkins, LHSP

zack ward led the minor leagues in losses in 2007 with 17. that's not something to be especially proud of, but when your GB/FB ratio is twice league average, you're going to take your fair share of lumps in the minors. context is especially important when looking at sinkerballers in the minor leagues. defense and field quality are two variables that are most often against guys like ward when they are coming through the minors. i expect ward to continue taking his lumps at the minor league level, but i also think he's a great bet to become an innings eating starter.

swarzak and robertson have both dominated in their most recent minor league stints, but i'm not ready to proclaim either of them a good bet to be league average in the majors. they very well might turn out better than just league average, and each could find their way onto some publications' top 100 lists, but i have not yet bought in.

i have a weird feeling about jeff manship. he is now 3 years out from TJ surgery, so it's not likely that he has anything more coming in the way of fastball velocity, curveball breakage, or control. midway through the 2007 season, manship was voted to have the best breaking ball, and the best control in the midwest league by a BA survey of the league's managers. the weird feeling i get is that he's already peaked, in terms of stuff and performance. i love his numbers in A ball, and i love that he got recognized by BA for his control and breaking ball, but there's a nagging feeling in the back of my head that his control won't hold up, that his fastball isn't good enough, and that his injuries will recur. if i'm wrong, manship has a ceiling as a innings eating number 3. he gets a lot of groundballs off of his fastball, which when combined with his control and his breaking ball, gives manship a unique and valuable package. i look forward to seeing what he does in AA in 2008.

Spotlight: Matt Garza

yeah, i know he's no longer a twinkie, but i think he's more interesting than slowey, and my data on perkins is incomplete.

garza throws a plus 4 seam fastball that sits 93-96. it is deceptive in it's movement, and generates a lot of swingthroughs because of how quickly it gets on hitters. garza also throws a curve which sits around 76, and a changeup and slider which both sit in the low to mid 80s. all 3 offspeed pitches profile as slightly above average, with garza getting more swinging strikes off his slider, and more called strikes on his curve.

i'm a huge fan of garza's, and i still think he's got top tier potential despite his "struggles" in 2007. looking below the surface, garza was hurt last year by poor defensive support, as his defensive efficiency rating (the rate at which batted balls are turned into outs) was .643 (league average was .687). it might be a bit presumptuous to assume garza's DER will revert to league average, but without the potential for brendan harris and josh wilson to start at shortstop, i think it's a safe bet to make.

there are few pitchers i would take over matt garza, and i think he will be a tremendous addition to tampa bay's rotation.

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