Metrodome Park Factors: Hits 98; Runs 97; HRs 85
(100 is average, under 100 is favorable to pitchers)
Values ~ 2000: -$11 2001: -$1 2002: $11 2003: $18
I'm not sure what took Gardenhire so long. Santana should have been in the rotation from the start of the season, but was dominant once he finally made it. Owners who read this site last year no doubt benefited. He has three above average major league pitches: fastball/hard slider combo that he can offset with a good change and now that he can throw them all for strikes, he's become a top fantasy value. Santana has chips removed from his elbow this off-season and has reported some soreness this spring which is not thought to be serious.
Values ~ 2000: NA 2001: -$4 2002: $5 2003: $7
Like all Twin starters, Lohse throws strikes. His walk rate last year declined 42%. Lohse throws a fastball, slider and change. He's been hittable, especially by LH batters although he improved last year suggesting he made some progress with his change. His fastball has some running movement but was inconsistent when I saw him and he was hit very hard. Lohse was very inconsistent last season - he pitched well early, poorly in June-July and was reasonably effective late. I'm not sure he's better than a mid-rotation guy, but there may still be some upside here. Lohse has been working on adding a sinker this spring.
Values ~ 2000: $8 2001: $16 2002: $5 2003: $8
Radke throws strikes and maintains a very low walk rate. He tries to get ahead in the count and get hitters to go after his pitch. He primarily was mixing an average fastball with a change-up when I saw him last. He has a breaking pitch that he did not use often and could use more, given that he was getting hit around pretty well with a more limited repertoire. He's usually had above average hit rates as a result. In '96 and '97, Radke led the AL in HRs allowed, but his HR rate decreased with experience up until last year. His K Rate was up over his injury-plagued 2002 level, but it's been on a steady decline since 1997. I would probably avoid him at this point but since he'll go in most leagues, I've given him a modest price.
Values ~ 2000: NA 2001: NA 2002: $5 2003: -$3
Silva has a low 90's sinking fastball that induces a lot of groundballs but no consistent second pitch. His slider is not yet major league caliber and he's started to work on adding a splitter as an option. He's worked as a starter in the minors but was a reliever in Philly since he doesn't have a wide repertoire, consequently it's interesting to not he appears headed for the Twin rotation. As the graph shows, Silva doesn't have a strikeout pitch and has to rely on getting groundball outs.
Values ~ 2000: NA 2001: -$4 2002: NA 2003: $1
Thomas appeared to have achieved prospect status in 2001 at AA (Hit Rate = .76; K/BB Ratio = 3.73; HR Rate = .034) but he turned in a poor 2002 season at AAA and was hampered in 2003 by an early sore elbow. He's supposed to have a good fastball that he can cut or sink. I haven't seen him so I'd wait and see.
Values ~ 2000: NA 2001: $0 2002: NA 2003: $2
Balfour has pitched well in the Minnesota system since signing out of Australia. He's had good to excellent hit rates, especially since converting to relief, and has struck out better than a batter an inning at every level since rookie ball. Balfour posted excellent numbers at AAA splitting time between starting and relief, although it was his third year at that level. He's probably destined for middle relief work. Balfour has had a sore elbow this spring but appeared in a game I saw and showed a good fastball and a nice slider in this brief appearance. He's apparently in the running for the fifth starter job.
Values ~ 2000: -$8 2001: $23 2002: -$3 2003: -$8
After struggling with elbow problems the last two seasons, Mays had Tommy John surgery and will miss 2004. Mays has an average fastball and good secondary pitches, but his strength is in mixing his pitches and locating down in the zone.
Values ~ 2000: -$4 2001: NA 2002: $2 2003: $16
Following shoulder surgery after the 2000 season and poor performances amid reports of lost velocity, Nathan's 2003 comeback was remarkable. When healthy, he had a fastball in the mid 90s and supposedly a change and breaking pitch, but he went with the fastball in the game I watched him pitch, didn't mix in his other pitches and paid for it. Nathan picked up 12 wins last year pitching strictly in middle relief. Nathan appears to be the new Twin closer.
Values ~ 2000: -$7 2001: -$6 2002: $14 2003: -$4
Romero had a very disappointing 2003 following his breakout 2002 season. At least some of the problem may be attributable to a strained groin in June however, he was struggling with his control from the start of the season. He throws a fastball that he changes speeds on that can reach the mid 90's, a slider with good movement and a change that I haven't seen him use much. A lot of times relievers who are used heavily one season have difficulty rebounding the next year and that may have been the case here. Watch this spring, if he's throwing strikes, he could be an excellent buy as the Twins will be finding new roles in the bullpen.
Values ~ 2000: NA 2001: $0 2002: -$5 2003: $5
Rincon continues to progress; he improved most of his ratios last year and earned a spot in the bullpen for the majority of the season. His walk rate remains high, so he wasn't entrusted with important assignments; he finished 20 games for example, but had just one save opportunity. Rincon has a low 90s fastball, a good curve and an improved changeup. Worth keeping an eye on; he could be in line for a more important assignment if he continues to progress.
Values ~ 2000: $4 2001: $0 2002: -$3 2003: -$4
Fultz has a 92 mph fastball, curve and change and tries to keep the ball down in the zone. He's apparently won a spot in the Minnesota pen. Little upside.
Values ~ 2000: NA 2001: NA 2002: $1 2003: -$6
Roa is a 32-year old soft-tosser with a fastball in the mid 80s and an assortment of off-speed pitches with movement. While it's customary to say he needs to locate his stuff to be effective, in truth Roa's stuff isn't good enough to get by on a consistent basis.
Values ~ 2000: NA 2001: NA 2002: NA 2003: $2
Pulido made a brief return to the majors after a 9-year hiatus last year during which he visited much of the upper minors with side trips to an independent league and Japan thrown in. At 32, it's not likely he's going to build value. His K rate at AAA was just .58.