Minnesota Twins: Ups and Downs With One Week Left in Florida

Minnesota Twins Spring Training Week 3 Trends

With 3 weeks of Spring Training in the books, and one week until Opening Day, we’ll take a last look at who is trending in the right direction for the Minneosta Twins, and who now may be on the chopping block.

UP: Ricky Nolasco. Six shutout innings in his last start, lowering his ERA down to 4.05, while recording 7 strikeouts. Lighting a fire under him has produced his best pitching since May of last year.

DOWN: Tyler Duffey. He once had a stranglehold on the #4 starter. Coaches were even holding him out to pitch intra-squad games instead of Twins’ opening series opponent, the Baltimore Orioles.

He was rocked in an outing versus Twins’ minor leaguers, and sports a rotation-worst 6.48 ERA (next is Nolasco’s 4.05). Now coaches have confirmed that the #5 starter battle is between he and Nolasco.

If he doesn’t make rotation, Duffey likely to start in AAA Rochester.

UP: Tommy Milone. Once fighting for the #5 spot, he’s now solidified his position as the #4 man in the rotation. Very efficient so far this Spring, throwing only 5.33 P/IP. Efficiency like that will help Twins stay fresh in the field. Also, 9 K’s vs just 1 BB in his 15 innings so far against other Grapefruit League teams.

DOWN: Ryan Sweeney. Started off hot at the plate, then cooled. Weight issues, and inability to play center field, had the Twins release him last week so Sweeney had time to try to catch on with another team.Twins Starting Pitchers ERA_1

UP: Danny Santana & Oswaldo Arcia. Recent plate appearances have both trending upward. Arcia’s recent 2-homer game, both off lefties to opposite field, and Santana’s bat heating up have both making team as part of 4 man bench. Santana batted lead-off in today’s game and collected 3 more hits, including two doubles

Down: Carlos Quentin. Impressed early with his bat, but struggled with speed in the field. He’s been reassigned to AAA but the Twins have given him a few days to think about whether he’d like to accept the assignment or move on to greener pastures.

UP: Twins. At 15-10, the Minnesota Twins have been playing well in final tune-ups to Opening Day. Batters getting good at-bats, pitchers getting quality starts. Even Kurt Suzuki is rounding into form as April draws nearer. This last week will determine starting rotation (my guess is Nolasco is 5th starter), and who joins Ryan Pressly and Fernando Abad in the bullpen.

Guess here is that even though Michael Tonkin has struggled this Spring, his recent outings with his sinker (8 K’s, 0 BB) could cause another team to claim him off waivers. And the Twins would likely rather send down someone with options left before losing Tonkin.