July 9, 2007

At the Break (Starting Pitchers)

Well, the midway point in the season just passed not more than a week ago, and now the All-Star Break is upon us. With the break, I've decided to take some time to sum up the first part of the season. There will be six parts to this series -- the overall standing of the team, the starting pitchers, the bullpen, the hitters, the bench and the minor leagues. I'm not quite sure when I'll get the whole series done, and it probably wont be done until after Wednesday, but it should give a good status of where this team stands both now and in the future.

So, with that introduction, lets get underway. First up is the starting pitchers, and they will be followed by the bullpen in the next edition.

The Starting Pitchers
Johan Santana
First Half Grade: A-

Johan has pitched very well, and he has definitely pitched much better than a lot of people think. If not for the lack of run support at times this season, Johan would most likely have at least twelve wins, and at least two fewer losses. Anyways, as you can see from his first half stats below, his earned run average, strikeout total and innings pitched numbers are all very good. He got an A- because his homerun totals and walks are up a little this year. However, expect those numbers to be lower in the second half.

2007 Season Stats

Carlos Silva
First Half Grade: C+
The first half of the season for Carlos has been full of ups and downs, and has been very inconsistent. I gave him this grade because there have been times when he has looked very good for a small streak, and then he would have a streak of about three games right after that in which he would really struggle. However, overall Silva has really impressed me throughout the season so far, especially after his rough spring training.

2007 Season Stats

Boof Bonser
First Half Grade: B-
Boof Bonser, much like most of the pitching staff, has been inconsistent this season. His major problem so far has been not getting deep enough into games, and if he fixes that, he will be a huge key to second half success. I gave him this grade because he has been one of the better pitchers when he's on, and has kept the Twins in most of the games that he's pitched in.

2007 Season Stats

Scott Baker
First Half Grade: C-

Scott Baker has showed some really good stuff at times this season, and a few times has pitched awesome games. However, there have also been times when he looks like he doesn't belong, and that got him a lower grade. If Baker can limit the horrible games, and pitch more decent ones to go along with his great ones, he could be another key to this second half rotation. However, if he does continue to flip flop with performances, his leash might be short.

2007 Season Stats

Matt Garza
First Half Grade: A (Incomplete)
Well, Matt Garza did only make one start in the first half of the season, but if that start was a sign of what we'll be seeing from him, he will have a very bright future with the Twins. In his one start, he lasted six shutout innings, and his all around numbers were great.
I'm not going to list his stats because projections are not available.
Kevin Slowey
First Half Grade: C-
Before his demotion, Kevin Slowey showed a lot of signs of very good things. However, he also showed that he needs more work before taking his shot in the majors. If Slowey can go back down to the minors and perfect the things he showed in the minor before his call up, it won't be long before we see him again. Slowey's main two problems in his short stay were the long ball and walks, two things he gave up very few times in the minors.

2007 Season Stats
* Projected would be assuming he pitched with the Twins after the break (unlikely)
Ramon Ortiz
First Half Grade: C-
Ramon Ortiz helped the Twins tremendously during April, but fell apart shortly after that. Had Ramon kept up with his April numbers, he would have been an awesome signing. However, that wasn't the case and he now finds himself in the bullpen. I gave him this high of a grade simply because of the way he helped the Twins to start off the season, if not for that, he would have gotten a D+ or lower.

2007 Season Stats
* Numbers include time in bullpen
Sidney Ponson
First Half Grade: D-
Sidney Ponson made the team out of spring training, and although many disagreed with the choice, you can't fault the Twins for giving him a chance. There was at least one time that he showed some promise, but overall, he failed to help at all. Ponson got this grade because he pitched poorly, but also because he couldn't make it to at least the All-Star Break.

2007 Season Stats
* Released

Well, this starting pitchers edition wraps up the first part of the "At the Break" series. This is my first time awarding grades, so they may not be what you expect, and you may disagree.

Please leave your comments below, as I'd really like to hear your thoughts on any of these players, and I'd like hear what you'd rank them. I'll have a post on the Homerun Derby later tonight, and hope to have the second edition of this series up tomorrow (bullpen).

Finally, all stats and the projected numbers are from ESPN.com