Minnesota Twins: Why Kevin Correia's Early-Season Performance Can't Be Trusted

Chris Schad@@crishadContributor IIIApril 29, 2013

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - APRIL 28: Kevin Correia #30 of the Minnesota Twins delivers a pitch against the Texas Rangers during the first inning of the game on April 28, 2013 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Kevin Correia has been one of the early surprises for the Minnesota Twins in the 2013 season. The journeyman starter was signed to a two-year deal over last winter, and drew comparisons to Jason Marquis due to his purely National League track record in 10 major league seasons.

Twins fans might recall that the Marquis experiment in 2012 didn't go as planned (he was released by the team in late May), so why wouldn't they be concerned that Correia would have the same fate?

Instead of being the American League's impersonation of a human tee, Correia has gone 3-1 with a 2.23 earned run average in his first four starts. In addition, he's gone at least seven innings in every start. That was something he did just three times in 2012 with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

With the hot start, does this mean that Correia is the ace the Twins have been looking for?

I wouldn't count on it.

Over the course of his career, Correia has been known to go from extremely hot to extremely cold with little notice. This chart detailing his month-to-month statistics shows that trend.

March/April 14-11 3.82 1.26 124 69 202.2
May 5-10 4.50 1.32 80 48 146.0
June 10-11 4.48 1.38 110 57 164.2
July 12-11 5.57 1.59 139 76 190.2
August 11-17 4.62 1.48 151 86 233.2
September/October 11-6 3.72 1.30 123 50 164.2

According to the chart, a regression for Correia is due within the next month. A fall like that would be similar to another Rick Anderson project in Ramon Ortiz.

Ortiz made his Twins debut during the 2007 season and was electric in April. In five starts, he went 3-1 with a 2.57 ERA for a team expected to compete for a division championship.

However, the regression came quickly for Ortiz when he posted a 0-3 record with a 10.48 ERA during the month of May. That brutal stretch led to a demotion to the bullpen and a trade to Colorado in August 2007.

With a $4.5 million salary due in 2014, the Twins didn't make a major financial investment in Correia. That means that if the expected happens, he'll be sent out of Target Field faster than a Nick Blackburn fastball.

Such a situation could potentially topple the Twins' rotation, turning them from a surprising .500 team to the doormat they were expected to be in early March.