The NEW Minnesota Twins Top SP: Sam Deduno
All right, everyone, by this point, you've probably realized I’m an idiot. It’s about time this not-so-shocking reality comes to fruition.
Sixteen days ago, I wrote that P.J. Walters was performing like the best starter in the Minnesota Twins rotation. Since then, Walters has made two starts and has a 15.00 ERA. This includes his last outing where he walked five batters and allowed six runs in two-thirds of an inning. WOOF.
But, no worries, Twins faithful. A new sheriff is in town, and I promise (just kidding) that he won’t tank after I write this article. That, of course, is Sam Deduno.
Deduno’s first start of the season was a jolly-good load of fun, where the Detroit Tigers rocked him to the tune of six runs in 5.1 innings. Since then, Deduno is 4-1 with a 2.36 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP. Just please don’t inform him that he still plays for the Twins, or his ERA will automatically balloon to 7.00, the Twins will trade him for a bag of diamond dry, and he will go on to win seven Cy Young awards for the Houston Astros.
How is Deduno doing it, you ask? First of all, you already lose if I am the person you are asking that question (see: first sentence). Second, I have suggestions. You accept all risks associated with how wrong these will probably end up being two weeks from now. You have been warned.
Deduno's Three Keys
1. Deduno discovered that the strike zone exists.
Last year, Deduno had a 6.04 BB/9. As in six walks… per nine innings. Like… my lord. In his seven starts this season, Deduno has not walked more than three batters in a game. Last year, he only walked less than three batters three times in 15 starts. That means he walked three or more batters 80 percent of the time. This epiphany has led to Deduno's Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) falling to 3.79 this year from 5.50 last year.
2. Groundballs are good, mkay?
In each of his seven starts, Deduno has had a GB/FB ratio greater than one. Overall, that number sits at 1.84, up from a 1.48 mark last year. In his seven-inning outing Thursday night, Deduno induced 13 groundball outs compared to five flyball outs and threw only 87 pitches. This is not the Deduno we saw in 2012. This is the souped-up, pimped-out, show-room version that makes Rick Anderson look like a genius once again.
3. The Twins still suck, so it’s success out of necessity.
In Deduno’s seven starts, the Twins have averaged three runs of support per game. In Deduno’s two losses, the Twins have scored zero and one runs respectively. Good job, good effort, guys. Despite the best attempts by the offense, Deduno is getting this team in the win column with his far-improved performance.
Now if Deduno bombs in his next few starts, I take full responsibility. I also sent Mike Pelfrey to the DL and Joe Mauer into his only slump of the season by writing glowing reviews of them, so Deduno can’t last more than two innings in his next start. My bad, guys.
Jim Sannes covers baseball and the Minnesota Twins weekly for numberFire. Contact him on Twitter @JimSannes.