Name: J.D. Durbin
DOB: February 24, 1982
The Twins made J.D. Durbin their second round selection in the 2000 draft, and since he was drafted, his career has had numerous highs and lows. He has been to the Promised Land, making his way to Minnesota as a 22-year old in 2004, but has also been bit by the injury bug in numerous years. With no options left, it will be up to Durbin to make the Minnesota Twins roster in 2007.
After being drafted in 2000, Durbin made two appearances for the Gulf Coast League Twins, and struck out four in two innings of work. In 2001, Durbin was assigned to Elizabethton of the Appalachian League, and was nearly unhittable in the team's rotation.
Durbin appeared in eight games for the Twins, starting seven, and posted an impressive 1.87 earned run average. He held the opposition to a .190 batting average, and struck out better than a batter per inning.
In 2002, Durbin got his first taste of full-season baseball, joining the starting rotation in Quad Cities. He started 27 games that season, winning 13 contests, while posting a 3.19 earned run average. He once again struck out better than a batter per inning, but allowed 14 longballs on the season.
The then-21 year old made 28 starts in 2003, making his way to New Britain from Fort Myers. He made 14 starts at each level, and struck out 139 batters along the way. It was in this season that Durbin really put himself on the map, and would lead to a memorable 2004 season. He won a combined 15 games in 2003, setting himself up for the biggest year of his career to date.
In 2004, Durbin worked his way from the Eastern League, to the Major Leagues, though he did have surgery to repair a torn labrum along the way. After dominating the Eastern League in his second go-around, Durbin made only seven starts for Rochester before being recalled to the Minnesota Twins. He appeared in four games for the Twins, making one start, and posting an earned run average over 7.00.
In 2005, Durbin was back in Rochester, and suffered from shoulder tendonitis. He did not make it back to Minnesota during the season, and ended the year making 19 starts for the Red Wings. He struggled, posting a 4.33 earned run average, and it was a real setback in his development.
This past season, Durbin was on the way back to Minnesota, and could have been in their rotation had it not been for another injury. He missed the last two months of the season with a nerve problem in his right bicep, adding another injury to his total. He is out of options, so this spring is a big one for the right-hander.
Repertoire: Fastball, Curveball, Changeup
Fastball. Durbin as some of the best gas in the Twins farm system, and can still get his heater in the mid-90s. He dubbed himself "The Real Deal" once, due to his ungodly fastball, and his ability to strike people out. He has had some arm problems in his career, but he can still rock back and fire a nasty fastball. He can spot his fastball wherever he wants, and he throws so hard, that it leads to him giving up plenty of home runs.
Other Pitches: The International League managers said he has the best curveball in the league, and it is a pitch that is definitely above average. He still needs to work on his changeup, but his curveball is a great compliment to his fastball. His curveball is a power curve, and is very deceptive when it comes out of his hand. If he can hone his changeup better, than he will have one of the better three-pitch arsenals in the entire organization.
Pitching: Durbin has started to take his career serious during the past few years, and has really turned himself into a gamer. He loves to toe the rubber, and really gives it his all when he is on the mound. He also is starting to have great confidence in all of his pitches, and not just the fastball that made him one of the best pitching prospects in baseball a couple of years ago. He also can spot his curve and fastball wherever he wants, making him tough to hit when he is on.
Projection: Durbin has always been considered a starting pitcher, but he may have to make the move to the bullpen. He has the ability to be a starter, but the increased injuries are forcing people to question his durability. Still, he could still be a starter in the Major Leagues, and is currently trying to nail down a roster spot in the Twins pitching staff. I think he could be a starter in the Major Leagues, but the safe money is him being a middle reliever in the show.
ETA. N/A. Durbin could be in Minnesota this April, or he could not be in the organization at all. He is out of options, so he is going to have to prove his worth this Spring. He has been struggling lately, and if he cannot nail down a roster spot, then the young righty could wind up in another organization. He is a power arm, and hopefully he can find a spot with the Twins this Spring. If he goes somewhere else, he could still be in the Major Leagues in 2007.