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Article: Game Thread: Twins@Red Sox, 6/26@6:10pm CT

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 12:12 PM
One of the great thinkers of our time… Eddie Vedder once said: “The best revenge is to live on and prove yourself”. Take that Cleveland!...
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Is Gibson back?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 12:08 PM
After seeing Saturday's game, I'm as convinced as ever that Kyle Gibson has the stuff to be a dominant ace in the major leagues. What's m...
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Twins DFA Melotakis

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 11:59 AM
I was a bit surprised by this move.    Twins designate both Wimmers and Melotakis.   https://www.mlbtrade...-melotakis.htm...
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Article: Twins Minor League Report (6/25): Romero Rocks,...

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 11:40 AM
This time of year can get very busy in the Twins farm system. The rookie league teams are starting to get up and running while the full-s...
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Fangraphs (and other national publications) on the Twins

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 11:36 AM
I'm just going to post here whenever they do an article on the Twins.   Today, they have one on Trevor May (noting some changes in s...
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Heat Check: What To Expect From Chargois

During his first taste of the big leagues this year, JT Chargois averaged 96.6 MPH with his fastball, according to PitchFX. The number of qualified MLB relievers with a higher mark? Thirteen.

What can we learn from looking at the rest of the game's hardest-throwing hurlers?
Image courtesy of Rick Osentoski, USA Today
Here's what the list of hottest MLB heaters among relief pitchers in 2016 looked like:

1. Aroldis Chapman (100.4)
2. Arquimedes Caminero (97.9)
3. Dellin Betances (97.7)
4. Craig Kimbrel (97.3)
5. Carlos Esteves (97.3)
6. Edwin Diaz (97.3)
7. Ken Giles (97.2)
8. Kelvin Herrera (97.1)
9. Matt Bush (97.0)
10. Nate Jones (96.8)
11. Hunter Strickland (96.8)
12. Matt Barnes (96.7)
13. Pedro Baez (96.7)

Among these 13, four were closers by the end of the year, and rather dominant ones at that. Chapman, Betances, Kimbrel and Giles each averaged at least 14 strikeouts per nine innings, which is really something. Among the other nine, only three finished with anything less than a sterling ERA: Caminero (3.63), Barnes (4.05) and Estevez (5.24).

We can differentiate these three from Chargois pretty easily, in that they don't have the backgrounds as outstanding college closers nor the spectacular minor league track records. But all of their 2016 seasons did share a common trait, and one that is relevant with regards to Minnesota's rookie fireballer: they all struggled with control.

Caminero, Barnes and Esteves all averaged at least four walks per nine innings, and that's a rate that makes it tough to succeed. Of course, Chargois put up a 4.7 BB/9 rate this year, so it isn't too surprising he ended up with a lackluster 4.70 ERA.

But unlike so many of the hard throwers that have come through the Twins system in recent years as the club has increased its focus on bullpen velocity – from Jim Hoey to Alex Meyer to Pat Light and beyond – there isn't a ton of reason to believe Chargois will be haunted by control issues long-term.

In 39 appearances this year with Chattanooga and Rochester prior to his call-up, the big righty handed out only 13 free passes over 47 innings. His walk problem in the majors seemed mostly related to nerves; Chargois issued six walks over his first six MLB appearances, then only six more in 19 appearances the rest of the way. In his last 12 games of the season he posted a 9-to-1 K/BB ratio while throwing a significantly higher percentage of strikes.

Unsurprisingly, Chargois was also lights-out during that final stretch, allowing only one run on six hits over 10 innings. His strong finish is the single biggest spark of hope for the Twins bullpen heading into 2017. Obviously this unit needs to improve drastically in order for the team to be competitive. Chargois dominating at the back end for an entire season would play a big part in fueling a major turnaround for the relief corps. He also serves as a key insurance policy in the ninth with the status of Glen Perkins in flux.

For a Twins pitching staff that two years ago had only one single fastball register at 97 MPH or above, Chargois is a revelation. As long as he can stay healthy and keep the ball in the zone, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that he will be a devastating weapon in the late innings.

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15 Comments

He turned his control around this year. And you pointed out the very clear line between what Chargois did before September and then after September 1st. It was like night and day. Maybe he relaxed. Maybe something clicked. But it was great to see.

 

What's exciting for me is that there are more like him (hopefully) coming. If Burdi can ever get healthy, he's equally filthy. Jake Reed will be 95-98 with great movement on two pitches. Melotakis will be in 2017 where Chargois was in 2016. They aren't going to push him too fast. There'll be some things he'll have to do in AA/AAA before they call him up, but he can hit up to 97 and left-handed. Hildenberger doesn't throw as hard, but he's a sidewinder with three pitchers and impeccable control. Add those guys to Pressly, and maybe Trevor May... they don't have to go out and get too crazy. But when will those guys be ready the way we think Chargois is now? We shall see.

    • glunn, BK432, Mike Frasier Law and 8 others like this

 

He turned his control around this year. And you pointed out the very clear line between what Chargois did before September and then after September 1st. It was like night and day. Maybe he relaxed. Maybe something clicked. But it was great to see.

 

What's exciting for me is that there are more like him (hopefully) coming. If Burdi can ever get healthy, he's equally filthy. Jake Reed will be 95-98 with great movement on two pitches. Melotakis will be in 2017 where Chargois was in 2016. They aren't going to push him too fast. There'll be some things he'll have to do in AA/AAA before they call him up, but he can hit up to 97 and left-handed. Hildenberger doesn't throw as hard, but he's a sidewinder with three pitchers and impeccable control. Add those guys to Pressly, and maybe Trevor May... they don't have to go out and get too crazy. But when will those guys be ready the way we think Chargois is now? We shall see.

Is Pat Light developing a knuckle ball or something?  Or does he not qualify because his 98 was actually 93.

Is Pat Light developing a knuckle ball or something?  Or does he not qualify because his 98 was actually 93.


I too was going to throw Pat Lights name out there. I wonder if he was suffering from the same nerves as Chargios and also just needs a little more time to settle in.
    • HitInAPinch likes this
Between Burdi, Reed, Hildenberger and Melotakis you have to feel pretty optimistic about the future of the pen, along with Chargois. Burdi has a question mark next to his name at this point due to health. But if anyone is due a little favorable luck at this point, it's surely him.

Light, Baxendale and even Jones are others who could figure in. I'm still wondering about a veteran or make good comeback younger vet to help on the back end and help stabilize things initially rather than just thrusting Shaggy or someone in the closer role.

I also wonder about FA or low cost trade options looking for another Abad type to rebound, or convert from troubled starter to valuable RP.

 

Is Pat Light developing a knuckle ball or something?  Or does he not qualify because his 98 was actually 93.

 

Light certainly fits into the equation. We/I shouldn't give up on him base on his poorMLB performance in 2016.

    • HitInAPinch likes this

 

He turned his control around this year. And you pointed out the very clear line between what Chargois did before September and then after September 1st. It was like night and day. Maybe he relaxed. Maybe something clicked. But it was great to see.

 

What's exciting for me is that there are more like him (hopefully) coming. If Burdi can ever get healthy, he's equally filthy. Jake Reed will be 95-98 with great movement on two pitches. Melotakis will be in 2017 where Chargois was in 2016. They aren't going to push him too fast. There'll be some things he'll have to do in AA/AAA before they call him up, but he can hit up to 97 and left-handed. Hildenberger doesn't throw as hard, but he's a sidewinder with three pitchers and impeccable control. Add those guys to Pressly, and maybe Trevor May... they don't have to go out and get too crazy. But when will those guys be ready the way we think Chargois is now? We shall see.

 

I'd add Duffey's for sure and maybe even Jay's names to the list.

 

This has the bones of a good bullpen for the considerable future.  Hopefully the likes of Kintzler and Boshers/Abad/Boyer/Thompson/insert-garbage-heap-pickup go away and never come back, allowing these players to develop.  

 

Back in the day (and several teams still do this successfully) the pen was a development assignment for pitchers who were deemed not yet just ready for an MLB rotation.  Pitchers like Jay or Romero or Jorge could contribute in the pen for a couple of years starting from 2017, for example.  This is what they should have done with Berrios last season.  Get them up, expose them to MLB hitters and MLB noise and MLB ballparks, but ease them in.  Let them have success and confidence before you throw them in to start and be responsible for the whole game outcome.

I don't know why a RP needs a TON of time in teh minors, especially with how all the rest of MLB is getting younger and younger......there was no reason for Rogers not to be up in 2015, when they NEEDED bullpen help, for example. I hope we see nearly all those young arms this coming year, they only have so many pitches in their arms......

    • Dantes929, Platoon, Vanimal46 and 3 others like this

I'm getting a little prospect fatigued with the awesome RP names in the minors.... They had injuries or ineffectiveness, but they aren't spring chickens anymore. Most everyone is in the 24-27 age range. So yes, let's get all of these guys up this coming year, so we can figure out if they were worth waiting for or not. 

    • Mike Sixel, frightwig, rghrbek and 1 other like this
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Nick Nelson
Oct 26 2016 08:16 AM

 

I too was going to throw Pat Lights name out there. I wonder if he was suffering from the same nerves as Chargios and also just needs a little more time to settle in.

As mentioned in the article, Light is a guy whose control concerns are far more severe than Chargois. He averaged 5.7 BB/9 at AAA. It wasn't an isolated nerves thing. 

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Halsey Hall
Oct 26 2016 10:04 AM

Not a mention of Perkins in the replies, so maybe some figure the way I do, that Perkins is done.He's currently hanging around Ft Myers, working out and fishing.

Perkins should work out a buy out.....if he wants to be able to use that arm in 20 years, IMO.

 

The Twins should assume they get nothing from him, and if does, gravy!

No one thinks Perkins is done, but I don't think anyone is putting his name in ink in the bullpen, much less the closer role. 

    • howieramone2 likes this
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Parker Hageman
Oct 26 2016 12:46 PM

For me it isn't the velo for Chargois -- although that's great too -- it's that movement he gets. That is going to be tough to square up.

 

    • Nick Nelson and by jiminy like this
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ALessKosherScott
Oct 26 2016 03:14 PM

It's tough to say that a 4.7 MLB BB/9 rate is an outlier for a guy who averaged 3.5 in his minor league career. Maybe he's not Hoey. But then again, it's not like he's had pinpoint control coming up. 

 

I'm going to let this one play out.

    • frightwig likes this

 

For me it isn't the velo for Chargois -- although that's great too -- it's that movement he gets. That is going to be tough to square up.

 

 That was a fun gif! I watched it over and over. Thanks!

 

I wish the "condensed games" on mlb.com were edited that way. Seeing only the last pitch of an at bat just doesn't work for me. But seeing the whole pitch sequence back to back would be awesome. I haven't tried their condensed games in the past few years but the last time I checked there was only the final pitch of the at bat and no sound. You got no sense of the game at all. The condensed NFL games include sound, edited so you get a complete sentence of play by play; even with that it cuts it to 30 minutes from 3 hours. With baseball, you could show every pitch from windup to catchers mitt in about a second each, and then in the decisive pitch, you could add sound, and it still would probably only take a half hour.


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