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Seth Stohs

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TwinsCentric: 5th Starter Candidate (Tim Stauffer)

Last week, we looked at a couple of the Twins fifth starter candidates, Mike Pelfrey and Alex Meyer. This week we will continue to look at the Twins fifth starter candidates. Today, we will take a look at one of the newest pitchers in the Twins organization, Tim Stauffer.

The Background

Just before the holidays, the Twins signed 32-year-old, right-handed pitcher Tim Stauffer to a one-year contract worth $2.2 million. Though he has worked out of the San Diego Padres’ bullpen the past two seasons, he was told that he would be given an opportunity to start. Was that just something he was told by the Twins to get him to sign with them, or will he really be given a shot to leave Ft. Myers as the team’s fifth starter? Well, fortunately pitchers and catchers report in less than two weeks, so we’ll find out what kind of opportunity he really gets.

Stauffer was the first-round pick of the Padres in 2003. He was the fourth overall pick out of the University of Richmond. During his first professional season (2004), he started in High-A and pitched at three levels. By mid-May of 2005, he had made his major league debut with San Diego. He pitched mostly in AAA in 2006 and 2007.

Unfortunately, he had shoulder surgery and missed the entire 2008 season and almost half of the 2009 season. He returned to the Padres and made 14 starts that year. In 2010, he posted a 1.85 ERA, mostly out of the Padres bullpen. That led to his best seasons, 2011, when he made 31 starts. He went 9-12 with a 3.73 ERA in 185.2 innings. He was set to be the 2012 Opening Day starter, but instead he had surgery on his flexor tendon and made just one appearance all year. And that brings us to the 2013 season and he’s been a pretty solid bullpen performer the last two years. He combined to go 9-3 with a 3.63 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP. He’s also struck out 131 batters in 134 innings.

What is he?

Stauffer is a typical, standard, middle-of-the-road, back-of-a-rotation starting pitcher in terms of his stuff. He has a good mix of pitches. His average fastball sits between 90 and 91 mph, and he throws it a little over half the time. He has added a cutter in the mid-80s which helps him get a lot of ground balls. His change-up sits around 80 mph, so it’s a good velocity difference from the fastball. He also has a slow curveball in the low-70s that he doesn’t throw a ton. Parker went into great details on what Stauffer is and what he throws in December. Be sure to read that here.

He needs to have very good control, and his career walks per nine average is at 3.0, which is really average. His career strikeout rate is 6.8 per nine, which again, is very average.

In other words, if he were to be the Twins 5th starter, and last the whole year, he would probably be... OK.

Stauffer Percentage

The hope, if Stauffer were named fifth starter, would be that he could work 185 innings like he did in 2011. Well, that may not actually be the goal. Stauffer, or others mentioned in this fifth starter debate, would presumably be just a stop gap. The bigger goal may be to have Trevor May or Alex Meyer fully ready for the role before midseason. Stauffer would then fall back into the Anthony Swarzak role. He’d be capable of pitching in long relief or 7th inning situations.

If I were to guess the odds that Tim Stauffer begins the season as the Twins fifth starter, I would probably put the odds at less than 1%.

Previous 5th starter candidate stories:

Mike Pelfrey 
Alex Meyer

Then head over to Twins DailyVikings Journal and Wild Xtra for more on your favorite Minnesota teams. 

TwinsCentric: Twins Minor League Relievers of August

After looking at the Twins top hitter and starting pitcher performances for August the last couple of days, today we’ll take a look at the top relievers in the season’s final month. Next week, we’ll start looking at the players of the year.

There were a lot of terrific bullpen performances throughout the month of August. The Twins have focused their attention in recent drafts on hard-throwers, including several bullpen arms. That becomes apparent as you look through both the Honorable Mention and the Top 5.   

Here are my choices for the Top 5 Twins Minor League Relief Pitchers in August, starting with several Honorable Mentions.


  • RHP AJ Achter – Rochester – 8 G, 17.1 IP, 14 H, 5 BB, 18 K, 2.60 ERA, 1.10 WHIP
  • RHP Stephen Pryor – Rochester – 12 G, 17.2 IP, 6 H, 14 BB, 18 K, 1.02 ERA, 1.13 WHIP
  • RHP Michael Tonkin – Rochester – 12 G, 12.1 IP, 11 H, 4 BB, 14 K, 2.92 ERA, 1.22 WHIP
  • LHP Jim Fuller – New Britain – 7 G, 13.2 IP, 12 H, 7 BB, 16 K, 1.32 ERA, 1.39 WHIP
  • LHP Mason Melotakis – Ft. Myers/New Britain – 10 G, 13.0 IP, 11 H, 2 BB, 20 K, 1.38 ERA, 1.00 WHIP
  • RHP Brandon Peterson – Ft. Myers – 7 G, 10.1 IP, 8 H, 4 BB, 15 K, 1.74 ERA, 1.16 WHIP
  • RHP Todd Van Steensel – Ft. Myers – 8 G, 13.1 IP, 9 H, 7 BB, 13 K, 0.68 ERA, 1.20 WHIP
  • RHP Chris Mazza – Cedar Rapids – 10 G, 20.0 IP, 22 H, 6 BB, 34 K, 3.15 ERA, 1.40 WHIP
  • RHP Randy LeBlanc – Elizabethton – 7 G, 17.0 IP, 19 H, 1 BB, 14 K, 1.59 ERA, 1.18 WHIP
  • RHP CK Irby – Elizabethton Twins – 9 G, 16.0 IP, 12 H, 4 BB, 30 K, 1.13 ERA, 1.00 WHIP
  • RHP Trevor Hildenberger – GCL Twins – 10 G, 10.1 IP, 10 H, 1 BB, 15 K, 1.74 ERA, 1.06 WHIP


Number 5 – Cedar Rapids – RHP Dallas Gallant - 9 G, 1.46 ERA, 0.81 WHIP, 12.1 IP, 5 H, 5 BB, 22 K

Gallant was #2 on this list in July, and he was just as good in August. The hard-throwing right-hander continued to dominate the Florida State League as a set up man who also recorded two saves in the month. He has walked a few too many, but his stuff is such that he doesn’t give up many hits. In fact, opponents hit just .122 off of him in August with a .422 OPS. After missing the first 50 games this season, Gallant is a guy who will likely start in Ft. Myers next year, but with some others, he could move up quickly.

Number 4 – Elizabethton – LHP Sam Clay - 7 G, 0.00 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 13.0 IP, 11 H, 4 BB, 20 K

Clay was the Twins 4th round pick this June out of Georgia Tech. His first nine appearances with Elizabethton were pretty brutal. However, he has figured out something and been very good the last month. In fact, he didn’t give up a run and found ways to miss bats. This is just the start of the run of 2014 Twins draft picks that appear on this list.

Number 3 – Rochester – RHP Lester Oliveros - 12 G, 0.90 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 20.0 IP, 15 H, 7 BB, 31 K

His first big league appearance in over two years following Tommy John surgery didn’t go so well, but Oliveros has been spectacular throughout the 2014 season. He was dominant in August while also being a workhorse for the Red Wings. The still-just-26-year-old throws hard and has had much better control of his breaking ball than we saw the other night. With a strong September, he could find himself in the mix for a roster spot on Opening Day 2015.

Number 2 – Ft. Myers – Nick Burdi - 10 G, 0.00 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, 10.1 IP, 6 H, 3 BB, 17 K

When he was drafted, we knew about the 100 mph fastball, and we had heard about the 91 mph slider that he flashed early in the college season. Burdi has touched those numbers in his 2+ months in professional baseball. He was promoted to Ft. Myers at the end of July, and he is yet to give up a run. He has plenty of strikeouts, but it’s more encouraging to see his walks decreasing. Burdi is a guy who will likely fly through the Twins farm system and could certainly be in Minnesota in 2015.

And the Twins Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Month is:

Cedar Rapids – Jake Reed - 8 G, 0.00 ERA, 0.54 WHIP, 13.0 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 16 K

Reed also won this award in July when he posted a 0.18 WHIP through that month, his first month with the Kernels. The 5th round pick from Oregon remained dominant in the season’s final month. He is strong enough yet that the Twins are sending him to the Arizona Fall League this year. In August, he went 1-0 and recorded three saves. Opponents hit just .116 off of him with a silly .295 OPS. Reed throws hard, hitting 97 at times. He has a breaking pitch that will need to improve, but considering he’s been a pro for a little over two months, he’s on a good track toward Target Field.

So what do you think? I’ve listed five relievers here (along with several other Honorable Mentions) that deserve be recognized for their terrific performances this past month. Who would your choice be? How would you rank these guys (and feel free to include others)?

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