Following Tuesday night’s 4-1 win over the Chicago White Sox, the Minnesota Twins designated right-handed pitcher Tim Melville for assignment. That opened up a spot on the 40-man roster, and it sure sounds like right-handed reliever John Curtiss will be getting the call, as MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger first reported which was shortly followed by a report from Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Source: John Curtiss will be have his contract selected from Triple-A Rochester to take Tim Melville's roster spot.
— Rhett Bollinger (@RhettBollinger) August 23, 2017
Source says RHP John Curtiss is headed to #mntwins. Has been dominant all year.
— Mike Berardino (@MikeBerardino) August 23, 2017
The Twins have yet to confirm the move, though Curtiss is expected to join the team in Chicago on Wednesday.
UPDATE: The Twins announced the move in a press release on Wednesday morning.
Curtiss has been absolutely brilliant in the Twins system this season. First, he tossed 25 innings for Double-A Chattanooga with a 0.72 ERA (two earned runs) with 12.6 strikeouts per nine innings and a WHIP of 0.96. He followed that up with a mid-June promotion to Triple-A Rochester, where it was more of the same with a 1.85 ERA, 12.2 K/9 and a WHIP of 0.86.
He hasn’t allowed a home run all season long, and did not allow one last year except for during his stint in the Arizona Fall league
The only really questionable number for Curtis is that he’s walked 4.0 batters per nine this season — slightly below that mark with the Red Wings and a bit above it with the Lookouts. Still, he’s held opposing batters to a .135/.233/.171 batting line this season — a .449 OPS against for right-handed hitters and a .362 mark for lefties. He also hasn’t allowed a home run all season long — and just one all last year, in the Arizona Fall League — as just six of the 23 hits he’s allowed this year have gone for extra bases (all doubles).
Curtiss hasn’t allowed a home run in a regular-season game in more than two years overall, dating back to Aug. 16, 2015 when he was a member of the Cedar Rapids Kernels.
Statistically, Baseball Reference has Curtiss inducing grounders at a 49 percent rate between both levels this season with a swinging-strike rate of 15 percent. That 15 percent mark isn’t exactly in the vicinity of the most elite relievers in the game when compared to big leaguers, but is still well above the MLB average for relievers this season (11.6 percent). With the potential for strikeouts and grounders, it would seem a lot hinges on his ability to show command. Prior to 2017, Curtiss was typically in the high-2.0s and low-3.0s for walks per nine innings — a reasonable figure to be sure.
Zone Coverage spoke with a scouting source on Curtiss, who had this to say about the 24-year-old righty:
“Tall and fall RHP. High 3/4s out of the stretch. Not consistent with balance. Wide shoulders, muscle build. Sits mid-90s most nights. He can dial it up to 97-99 at times. Doesn’t need to. It flattens out, leaving pitches up. Leverage and deception in delivery creates illusion that his FB is harder. Heavy bore on FB when he’s good. Lives down. Will need to work on changing eye levels. Doesn’t get swings and misses as frequent up. Struggles w/ control. Length in delivery the cause. SL took step forward this yr. high 80s/low 90s. Sharp break down. Not sweepy.“
The source added that Curtiss “has the attitude to close” but worries about consistency and inability to get swings and misses up in the zone. Ultimately, the source sees a quality set-up man or perhaps a second-division closer.