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Samuel Deduno completes WBC breakthrough with title game victory

Mar 19, 2013, 11:37 PM EDT

Samuel Deduno Getty Images

Yan Gomes, the only major leaguer Brazil has ever produced, opted out of the World Baseball Classic to help his chances of making the Indians.

He won’t.

Melky Mesa, a veteran minor leaguer in the Yankees system, was all set to be part of the Dominican Republic’s left-field committee. Then Curtis Granderson got hurt. Presented with a slight chance of winning a bench job, he skipped out on the WBC.

And then the Yankees signed Brennan Boesch and Ben Francisco.

It would have been hard to blame Samuel Deduno for opting out of the WBC. Although he was the Twins’ second most successful starter while going 6-5 with a 4.44 ERA last year, he was bumped from the 40-man roster over the winter and went unclaimed on waivers. He opted to re-up with the Twins on a minor league deal, which put him in a battle with Cole De Vries and Liam Hendriks for the fifth spot in the rotation.

But instead of staying in camp and fighting for a spot in the traditional fashion, Deduno decided to represent his country and hope to stay in the race while away. To say it worked out would be a huge understatement. If he hadn’t already, Deduno clinched his rotation spot with five scoreless innings against Puerto Rico in Tuesday’s championship game. Overall, he allowed just one run and posted a 17/5 K/BB ratio in 13 innings over the course of his three starts.

It was a tournament MVP-quality showing for the 29-year-old Deduno, who was originally signed by the Rockies in 2003. He briefly reached the majors with Colorado in 2010, but the team dropped him from the roster the following winter. He went on to appear in two games with the Padres in 2011 before getting his first real opportunity last year. While he was moderately successful for the Twins, the 57/53 K/BB ratio in 79 innings scared everyone off when he was available on waivers over the winter. Fastball movement has long been Denudo’s biggest asset, though it’s contributed to his problems with walks. He also has a nice curve. Some have thought that package would play better in relief, but it didn’t materialize when the Padres tried converting him in 2011.

Deduno seems to have taken a step forward now. Instead of aiming for the corners, he’s just throwing to the catcher’s mitt and let his fastball cut and dive as it will. He still doesn’t have much of a changeup, and he likely will be undone by walks from time to time. However, there have to be several teams kicking themselves for not taking him on for a measly $500,000 over the winter.

  1. pillowporkers - Mar 19, 2013 at 11:57 PM

    As a Twins fan, thank you MLB, we need all the pitching potential/help we can get. Let’s not get too carried away with the WBC, though. It’s a rather short-term window. 13 innings of work is hardly a “everything is great now, we have our new ace” material.

  2. ningenito78 - Mar 20, 2013 at 12:27 AM

    Future News: Twins SP Samuel Deduno suspended 50 games for PEDs.

  3. byjiminy - Mar 20, 2013 at 2:05 AM

    Everything is great! We have our new ace!

    Okay maybe not by other team’s standards, but he could be the Twins’ ace. And win or lose, he’ll be a lot of fun to watch.

  4. henryjones20 - Mar 20, 2013 at 3:21 AM

    ningenito78: wow u really r a hater huh? get a life bro! or should I say little boy.

  5. jsally430 - Mar 20, 2013 at 8:35 AM

    as a die hard twins fan I see a replay of fransico liriano

    • Bill Parker - Mar 20, 2013 at 10:03 AM

      He’s not *nearly* as good as Francisco Liriano.

  6. Detroit Michael - Mar 20, 2013 at 9:53 AM

    I disagree with the blog post’s last sentence.

    57 K / 53 BB in 79 IP in the majors last year. There was a pretty big reason why Deduno was a free agent last winter who commanded only a $500,000 salary.

    13 innings pitched against uneven competition in the spring doesn’t affect teams’ long-term prognosis very much, I’d guess.

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