Series Pitcher Preview: Minnesota Twins

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets will face Twins pitchers Vance Worley, Scott Diamond, and Kevin Correia this weekend. Here is a preview of what to expect from the trio.

The Mets will play a three-game series against the Twins this weekend, weather permitting. As of this morning, Target Field looked like this:

Although that's nothing a quick Minnesota snowfall can't fix. The Twins are 4-5 in this young season, having just been swept by the Royals this week. Expectations are not high for 2013; PECOTA predicts a 65-97 record. The Mets won't face new Twin Mike Pelfrey, who has struggled in two starts so far. Here are this weekend's pitching matchups:

Friday, April 12th: LHP Jon Niese vs RHP Vance Worley
Saturday, April 13th: RHP Matt Harvey vs LHP Scott Diamond
Sunday, April 14th: RHP Dillon Gee vs RHP Kevin Correia

Rick Anderson is in his 13th season as Twins pitching coach. He's been largely successful in the role, having coached Johan Santana, Brad Radke, and Joe Nathan, among others. Limiting walks and pitching to contact is his philosophy. Anderson was drafted by the Mets in the first round of the 1978 draft but only reached the big leagues with the 1986(!) Mets. He pitched well that season, posting a 2.72 ERA in 49.2 innings, but didn't make the postseason roster. He was dealt to the Royals in the spring of 1987 as part of the trade which brought David Cone to the Mets. Anderson struggled through two more seasons with the Royals before retiring prior to the 1989 season. Now some words about the Twins starters:


Vance Worley

#49 / Pitcher / Minnesota Twins

6-2

230

R

R

Sep 25, 1987



W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2013 - Vance Worley 0-1 2 2 0 0 0 0 11.0 18 8 7 0 2 5 5.73 1.82

Interesting tidbit: Worley got together with his fiancée, Maricel Vivas, with the help of former teammate Hunter Pence's Twitter account. Click here to read more.

What's the story? "The Vanimal" came to the Twins along with prospect Trevor May in the trade that sent Ben Revere to the Phillies. Worley pitched well in his two-plus seasons with the Phils, posting a 3.50 ERA over 277.2 innings with a 2.45 K/BB ratio. Pretty good for an unheralded prospect who had back-of-the-rotation projections.

Worley mainly throws a variety of fastballs. Both his four-seamer and two-seamer sit in the 88-92 mph range, and his cutter is slightly slower. His favorite secondary pitch is the cutter. He also features a curveball, slider, and changeup. Worley's stuff isn't overpowering; his swinging-strike rate is just 5.5% for his career (compare to a league-average rate close to 9.0%). Despite this, he's managed a respectable 7.58 K/9, mainly because he has been adept at generating called strikes. We'll see if he can maintain that ability going forward. Worley was the Twins' Opening-Day starter and has made two so-so starts this season. He gave up three runs in six innings on Opening Day against the Tigers, and was tagged for five runs on ten hits by the Orioles last weekend.

Against the Mets: Worley has appeared in nine games against the Mets, starting seven of them, and has a 5.17 ERA over 38.1 innings against our heroes. His most recent start against the Mets came last August 28th, when he gave up four runs on nine hits over 4.1 innings. Mike Baxter hit a home run off him in that game.


Scott Diamond

#58 / Pitcher / Minnesota Twins

6-3

190

L

L

Jul 30, 1986


Interesting tidbit: Diamond became the first Binghamton University baseball player to make the major leagues when he made his debut in 2011. Expect Gary Cohen to mention that a few times.

What's the story? Native Canadian Diamond was undrafted out of college but signed with the Braves before the 2008 season. The southpaw fared decently in their minor-league system but went unprotected in the 2010 Rule 5 Draft and was selected by the Twins. He made seven overall shaky starts for the big club in 2011 before enjoying a solid 2012, during which he tossed 173 innings with a 3.54 ERA.

Diamond is a prototypical Twins pitcher. He has great control and pitches to contact. His 1.61 BB/9 last season was best in the American League, and his contact rate was the second highest, behind only Henderson Alvarez of the Blue Jays. Diamond's fastball runs in the 87-92 mph range, averaging about 89 mph. His preferred, and best, secondary offering is a curveball, and he also mixes in a changeup. Diamond started the season on the disabled list following offseason surgery to remove a bone chip from his elbow, so his start against the Mets will be his 2013 big-league debut.

Against the Mets: Diamond has never faced the Mets.


Kevin Correia

#30 / Pitcher / Minnesota Twins

6-3

200

R

R

Aug 24, 1980



W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2013 - Kevin Correia 0-1 2 2 0 0 0 0 14.1 15 5 5 0 2 3 3.14 1.19

Interesting tidbit: Correia beat out Nick Swisher, Prince Fielder, Cole Hamels, and many others to be the first player from the 2002 MLB Draft (the "Moneyball Draft") to reach the major leagues. He made his debut for the Giants in July 2003.

What's the story? The veteran Correia signed a two-year, $10 million deal with the Twins in the offseason and is now in his 11th big-league season. That seemed like an overpay. He did make the All-Star Game once, in 2011 with the Pirates, but he's basically an innings-eater. This will be his sixth season as a starting pitcher, after spending the first five seasons of his career primarily as a reliever

Correia doesn't strike out many guys and walks relatively few, so that might explain the Twins' interest in him. Much like the two gentlemen already covered above, his fastball sits in the 88-92 mph range. In addition to his fastball, he throws a little bit of everything: a cutter, curveball, slider, and changeup. His arsenal isn't particularly intimidating; since 2011, only Bartolo Colon has a higher contact rate than Correia. He's made two starts in 2013, in aggregate throwing 14.1 innings while allowing five runs, with three strikeouts and two walks.

Against the Mets: Correia has enjoyed modest success against the Mets. He has a 3.01 K/BB ratio and 4.01 ERA over 51.2 innings against them. He faced the good guys last September 27th and was knocked around to the tune of six runs on seven hits over 4.1 innings. Ike Davis and David Wright took him deep that game, during which R.A. Dickey earned his 20th win of the season.

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