Twins call up pitcher Devin Smeltzer for first start

The Minnesota Twins called up left-handed pitcher Devin Smeltzer from the Rochester Red Wings. The call up of Smeltzer to make his first major league start was prompted by Michael Pineda‘s placement on the 10-day injured list with a knee injury.

Twins call up pitcher Devin Smeltzer for first start

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – MAY 27: Michael Pineda #35 of the Minnesota Twins delivers a pitch against the Milwaukee Brewers during the first inning of the interleague game on May 27, 2019 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Smeltzer was originally drafted by Los Angeles Dodgers in the fifth round of the 2016 draft. He started the 2019 season with Twins double-A affiliate the Pensacola Blue Wahoos before being promoted to tripple-A  affiliate Rochester Red Wings.

In four starts with the Red Wings Smeltzer pitched 24 innings, recorded 15 strikeouts,  a 1.82 ERA with a 1.095 WHIP.  The left-handed pitcher gets fastball velocities of 90-93 routinely and is noted for being fearless and aggressive on the mound.

While in the Dodgers’ minor league system Smeltzer was being developed as a relief pitcher. In the July 2018 trade that sent Brian Dozier to the Dodgers , Smeltzer was one of the players sent back to the Twins in compensation. In a conversation with Twins Vice President and Chief of Baseball Officer, Derek Falvey, he asked to be moved to a starting role and he’s been rising since.

The Twins call up of Smeltzer will push him into tonight’s starting spot and pushing back the start of the rest of the rotation two days with the off day on Wednesday before heading to Tampa Bay for a four game series. This will result in the Twins rotation getting an extra two days of rest which could be beneficial.

At this time it’s difficult to say if Smeltzer will stay with the Twins when Pineda comes off the injured list. Pineda has had a mixed beginning of the the 2019 season posting 5.34 ERA in 11 starts after his return from Tommy John surgery. Smeltzer will have two option years remaining so the Twins are free to send him back down and recall him at a later date.