Potential Twins Bullpen Target: Seth Lugo, RHP, Mets
Image courtesy of © Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY SportsSeth Lugo, RHP, 29-years-old
New York Mets (33-34 in NL East)
Three more years of team control via arbitration.
2019: 2.51 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 11.69 K/9, 1.59 BB/9 in 32.1 IP
2018: 2.66 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 9.15 K/9, 2.49 BB/9 in 101.1 IP (5 games started)
What’s to Like?
Lugo is a good, not great, reliever that would fit in nicely as a bridge between the starters and eighth or ninth inning guys and could come at a relatively cheap cost. That said, he has effectively pitched a majority of the games in the eighth inning for the Met, so the potential is there for him to come in during a high leverage situation.
He is right around league average in his K rate, hard hit rate and xwOBA, and has been very good at limiting free passes as a reliever. As laid out in this article, he also has reverse splits by dominating lefties this year which is something the Twins bullpen is in need of.
Being eligible for arbitration makes him more valuable, and more expensive, than if he were a half year rental. That said, that could also benefit the Twins if he does well. The biggest area of concern would be Lugo’s strand rate with runners in scoring position. Per FanGraphs, he has a 69.4 percent strand rate overall which includes an 80.0 percent rate in “high leverage” situations and just a 9.4 percent (!!!!) rate with men in scoring position. With men in scoring position, his K/9 stays about the same (11.81) but his BB/9 more than doubles (5.06).
This could indicate that, with runners on, Lugo is dancing around the strike zone a little more trying to miss bats and get hitters to chase. Something a simple change in philosophy could cure in a matter of no time.
Regardless of the concerns, I do think this is one of the better, cheaper options for the Twins to pursue.
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