March 31, 2017

Shocker: After terrific spring, Byung Ho Park sent to minors

Of all the Twins during spring training, Byung Ho Park was by far the standout player on the team. He hit, he hit with power and drove in runs, resulting in a .353 batting average, six home runs (he hit another one Wednesday) and 13 RBI.

Despite those numbers, most of which were accomplished in March, Park will return to Triple-A Rochester. That decision is reverberating in Twins land. In Park’s place, the Twins decided to keep not one, but two more pitchers, according to various reports. Starters Tyler Duffey and newcomer Adalberto Mejia were thought to be competing for the fifth spot in the rotation. Mejia won the job on Thursday, but the Twins also decided to keep Duffey and add him to the bullpen, giving them eight relievers, according to MLB.com.

Park deserved to make the team, and I hope he gets that shot soon, but it’s hard to argue that the Twins don’t need all the pitching they can get. They had the worst pitching in the American League last season, a significant factor in the club losing 103 games.

Twins Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey, recently profiled by the New York Times, shared his pitching vision for the team:

“There’s an organizationwide desire to shed that label, the pitch-to-contact term,” Falvey said about the Twins. “So there’s a lot of energy around embracing some new programs to make sure we are talking about velocity development and how we get strikeouts and some elements to finish pitches. I think it’s the right fit now, because the organization is open to that conversation.”

Some reaction to the Park decision:

 

COMMENTS

Hi, I’m Rolf Boone and I love the Twins.

I became a fan of the Minnesota Twins after a friendly wager in the early 1980s. I survived Ron Davis, the meltdown in Cleveland, Phil Bradley at the Kingdome and then marveled at a rising generation of stars and two World Series wins in 1987 and 1991. Brad Radke made the 1990s bearable, while Kirby Puckett’s eye injury, exit from the game and eventual death made it almost too much to bear. The new century ushered in more talent — Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau — and consecutive seasons of playoff baseball, followed by consecutive seasons of losing baseball. A winning season returned in 2015. So here we are. Go Twins.