Friday, June 09, 2006


So, Rochester reliever Pat Neshek didn't get the call to replace Matt Guerrier on the Twins roster (while Matt's out with a broken thumb). That call went to Kyle Lohse, who had been serving time in AAA as punishment for a bad attitude and probably would have been buried there until Terry Ryan could find a taker for him, if not for this turn of fortune. However, Neshek hasn't been left empty-handed. Kyle was thoughtful enough to leave his Red Wings cap with Pat--which you can now win, if you can answer a special trivia question. Good luck!

It's too bad for Neshek that he didn't get called up this week to show what he can do, but I don't think it will matter much to him or the organization in the long run. He's a righthanded reliever with a funky delivery who has posted a 2.05 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, and an eye-popping 73 strikeouts to 12 walks in 44 innings. However, reports indicate that while he has dominated righty batters this season, he has been vulnerable to getting hurt by lefties. Through June 6, lefty batters had hit .273/.310/.491 against Neshek, in contrast to the sickly .133/.198/.204 line by righty batters.

Minor league relief pitchers usually come with a limited ceiling, anyway; the kids with the best stuff are developed as starting pitchers. If a young pitcher is put in the bullpen because he lacks the stuff to get through a minor league order more than once, what can you expect to happen when major leaguers get a read on him? If Neshek particularly needs his manager to carefully pick favorable righty-righty matchups for him, he also would seem poorly suited for middle relief duty or the Twins manager, who likes his relievers to start a fresh inning and go on to finish the frame whenever possible.

Meanwhile, the club still needs to showcase Kyle Lohse for a trade, or figure out a way to get some value out of him and his $4 million contract. I could see him either doing very well in a middle relief/set-up role, or else possibly redeeming himself as Boof Bonser's replacement in the rotation. Redeeming himself at least long enough to grease the wheels of the trade machinery, perhaps. And when either Lohse is traded or someone else gets hurt or needs remedial work in the minors, Neshek may yet get his audition for the big time.


Post a Comment

<< Home