The Twins’ pitching rotation has been, ah, unsettled for a while. Tommy Milone took the hill Monday in Houston, making him the 27th different starting pitcher used by the Twins since the start of 2011.
Twenty-seven. That’s not the most in the majors, but it’s tied for the fourth-most in that span and five more than any other team in the AL Central has used.
I’ve divided the 27 into three segments based on the number of starts they have made — 30 or more, between 11 and 29, and 10 or fewer — and added some general comments on each cluster:
GROUP 1: Scott Diamond (58), Kevin Correia (54), Nick Blackburn (45), Carl Pavano (44), Samuel Deduno (41), Francisco Liriano (41), Brian Duensing (39), Mike Pelfrey (34), Kyle Gibson (32).
Comment: It probably says a lot, and maybe not something entirely bad, that the four starters who have pitched the most games in that span are no longer with the team. When the starting pitching has been as bad as it has, cumulatively, there aren’t a whole lot of guys worth hanging on to. At least the Twins figured out Duensing is far better suited for the bullpen than the rotation. Of this group, only Gibson figures to be in the long-term rotation plans, though Pelfrey is under contract for 2015 as well.
GROUP 2: Liam Hendriks (28), Phil Hughes (24), Scott Baker (21), P.J. Walters (20), Cole De Vries (18), Ricky Nolasco (18), Anthony Swarzak (17), Pedro Hernandez (12).
Comment: Hendriks, De Vries and Walters had extended auditions in 2012 when an almost unfathomable 12 Twins pitchers made at least five starts. Two of these guys (Hughes and Nolasco) figure to climb high in the starts list considering they are on multiyear contracts with significant salaries. If you remembered Hernandez made 12 starts in 2013, you were paying closer attention than I was.
GROUP 3: Andrew Albers (10), Vance Worley (10), Yohan Pino (9), Kevin Slowey (8), Jason Marquis (7), Esmerling Vasquez (6), Kris Johnson (3), Logan Darnell (2), Trevor May (1), Tommy Milone (1).
Comment: Five of these guys are new additions in 2014, and at least a couple of them could figure into the team’s plans in 2015 and beyond. May was wild in his first outing Saturday, but he’s loaded with potential. Pino seems like a low-salary version of Correia, which is a compliment and a slight rolled into one. Vasquez made six starts for the Twins after Sept. 1, 2012. You are forgiven if you don’t remember.