So far, the Twins have called up Buddy Boshers, Nick Tepesch and Drew Rucinski and added Adam Wilk off waivers to stabilize their pitching staff.
It's safe to assume those weren't the moves Twins fans expected at the start of the season.
But the moves reflect a combination of injuries and struggles on the major league level while the highly thought of prospects in the minors are not quite ready.
This is not meant to be an open letter to prospects in the minors, but several pitchers should be looking at the Twins situation and thinking, "there's money to be made up there."
I think Wilk is an interesting story as he tries to stick in the majors. But he throws 88 miles an hour. Maybe the Twins wanted an extra lefty this weekend to use against Jason Kipnis, Michael Brantley and Lonnie Chisenhall. The addition of Wilk and the trade for Kevin Champman (sent to Rochester for Danny Santana) show that the Twins felt they were short on lefties.
What's lacking in the bullpen is obvious: The Twins need power arms to attack dangerous hitters late in games. Ryan Pressly can be one solution, but he's trying to rebuild his confidence after hitting a rough patch.
Michael Tonkin could have been that guy, but he only made the team out of camp because he was out of options. And now he's been designated for assignment.
There are three relievers at Class AAA Rochester who could be factors sooner or later in the season.
Righthander J.T. Chargois is at the top of the list. He throws hard, has a good breaking ball and improved after a rocky baptism last year. He had a spot in the bullpen waiting for him in spring training, but he let it slip through his fingers. Now he's been injured for the Red Wings with an elbow impingement. He's in Florida for rehab and could be back with Rochester in a couple weeks.
Two interesting guys could be options down the road. Trevor Hildenberger has a funky delivery that is working at Rochester. Nick Turley is 27 and has been plagued by huge walk rates in his career. But he posted an 0.44 ERA to force his way out of Class AA Chattanooga and has allowed one run through six innings at Rochester. He cut down his walk rate at Chattanooga and has to prove he can do it at Rochester. Twins CBO Derek Falvey spoke positively of him Tuesday.
There's more heat at Chattanooga, where darn near the whole bullpen has excelled.
Nick Burdi has an 0.77 ERA in 10 games there and has to be close to a promotion. I did notice that he has four walks in 11.2 innings, which might not please Twins officials. But I was told Burdi's fastball is sitting around 98 miles an hour and twice hit 100 earlier this week. That's what the Twins lack. It's a race between Nick and his brother Zack, a prospect for the White Sox, to make it to the majors. Zack throws 100 too and is at Triple-A.
Lefty Mason Melotakis has an 0.60 ERA after 12 games at Chattanooga. It's been a tough road for Melotakis, 25, a member of the Tommy John surgery club. He also was slowed with an oblique injury during spring training.
In fact, I think Burdi (wrist injury last season limited him to 3.0 innings) and Melotakis are at Chattanooga because of their recent injuries and will be moved up soon. Rochester's weather might be a factor as well.
John Curtiss has 12 scoreless innings and five saves at Chattanooga. The former starter is thriving in a relief role. Curtiss, Luke Bard and Randy Rosario are relievers to watch for the Lookouts. But Chargois, Burdi and Melotakis are the three relievers who should be on the radar to be called up over the next few weeks.
We know the starting pitching situation. The Twins are taking a cautious approach with Jose Berrios, and I think it's the right move. Twitter, once again, is torching the Twins for not calling him up now. I've reminded them that their track record for demanding callups and having them work out once it happens has not been good.
I had the Rochester radio announcer, Josh Wetzel, on KFAN last week, and he said Berrios has been effective throwing 91-93 mph fastballs and not the 95-96 heaters we have seen in the past. Falvey believes Berrios is throwing more sinkers, which would explain the velocity.
The big adjustment for Berrios is mental: trusting that he has the stuff to get major league hitters out. With the Twins rotation the way it is right now, I can't see him staying down there much longer.
The next best starting prospect, to me, is Fernando Romero at Chattanooga. You should track his starts. I saw him hit 97 during spring training with legitimate breaking pitches. He's a confidenct young man who put on sunglasses when he spoke to the media in the clubhouse during camp. I started calling him Bruno Mars with a fastball. I don't think this is his year to debut, but he has the stuff to be at least a No. 2 starter.
The Twins have had some bad luck. Ryan O'Rourke is good against lefties, but is out with Tommy John surgery. Trevor May would have been an option for the rotation, but had Tommy John surgery too. Who saw Kyle Gibson winding up in the minors after the spring he had? And Ryan Vogelsong would be their No. 3 starter right now if he hadn't asked for his release during camp. The Twins were forced to move Tyler Duffey into the bullpen, with generally favorable results.
The lack of pitching depth in the organization has been exposed. But there are some prospects who should be licking their chops at the opportunity to get up here.