Condrey to 15-Day Disabled List

Well, maybe this is why Clay Condrey was having such a rough spring.

The Twins announced today that Condrey will start the season on the 15-day disabled list with soreness in his right elbow, and that FarmVille-loving RHP Alex Burnett will join the team for Opening Day. I have to say that I’m a bit surprised by this move since I thought that Ron Mahay was the first choice to replace anyone in the bullpen, but I’m definitely pleased to see that the Twins decided that Mahay needed some more time before he would be game-ready. Plus, I felt that if Condrey did start the season on the DL, then it would make more sense to replace him with a fellow righthanded pitcher rather than a lefty like Mahay.

So, what can we expect from Burnett? He is only 22 years old, and was a starter during his first three years in the minors. However, the Twins transitioned him into a full-time reliever last year, and according to Aaron Gleeman* he morphed from a potential #4 or #5 starter into a shut-down reliever. Burnett’s K/9 skyrocketed, while his ERA and WHIP dropped considerably, which confirmed that the Twins made a good decision.

* I would have used Seth Stohs’ information, but it was easier to find Aaron’s on his website and I shouldn’t receive Seth’s new Prospect Handbook until Saturday.

Even without your latest perceptions of Clay Condrey (assuming you have a negative perception of him), I feel that this move either keeps the bullpen stable or possible even strengthens it. Burnett likely will take over Condrey’s role as middle reliever, but I feel that Farmer Al* will have a better chance to be an impact pitcher in the bullpen than Condrey. He probably won’t be given many high leverage situations, but I do feel that he’ll do enough positive things to leave a good impression on Gardy and the coaching staff.

* Does anyone take offense to this nickname? I’m just referencing his love of FarmVille.

Despite Burnett’s numbers, Double-A is the highest level he had previously reached, so it’s very possible that he’ll end up overmatched in the majors. But, as I just said, he shouldn’t be handed too many high leverage situations, which means that even if he does have some trouble in the majors, it will only come in games where one team is winning by 5+ runs. Of course, Burnett has more talent than Clay Condrey, so I could be completely wrong with this prediction. No matter how he pitches, I have to assume that he will be sent back down to the minors once Condrey is healed, so Burnett should enjoy his time in the majors while he can. Provided that he pitches well, he’ll probably be at the top of the list of potential replacements if another bullpen injury occurs, though. Even if he doesn’t pitch well, he’s done so well in the minors that I have to believe that he could easily redeem himself for any bad outings he may potentially have. I see Burnett becoming a pitcher we’ll be familiar with over the next few years at the very least.

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