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Plan to reduce minor league teams

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 03:06 PM
https://www.nytimes....ue-changes.html   https://www.baseball...r-league-teams/   It would appear that MLB must be thinking the...
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Front Page: Hot Corner Consideration: Potential Third Bas...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 02:58 PM
Inside the Twins’ meeting rooms this winter, plenty of discussion will be focused on starting pitching. However, third base should be a s...
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Front Page: Dealing with Wheeler Gets Minnesota an Ace

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 02:52 PM
This offseason the Minnesota Twins chief focus is going to be on acquiring impact pitching. The front office has suggested as much, and w...
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Front Page: Can the Twins Become the New Astros? Part 2

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 02:15 PM
After looking into the similarities in the use of analytics, technology, and communication in both the Twins and Astros organizations in...
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Front Page: Three Critical Developments in Tyler Duffey...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 02:10 PM
Despite having a clear need in their bullpen, the Twins spent last offseason focusing on offensive upgrades. Their only addition was fung...
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Recent Blogs


The New Bullpen Market Efficiency?

Coming into the season, I think it is fair to say that most Twins fans were underwhelmed at best with what the front office did to address the bullpen. With the trade deadline fast approaching fans are anxious for the team to upgrade a few relief arms. Assuming the Twins do add a few arms, is it possible that Derrek Falvey and Thad Levine have actually created a new efficiency in creating a bullpen?
Image courtesy of © David Berding-USA TODAY Sports
Aside from adding Blake Parker, who seemed like a rather marginal upgrade, the Twins really didn’t do much to address the bullpen during the offseason. Instead they extended Jorge Polanco and Max Kepler and made several key offensive additions). Rather than adding any big-named, high-priced relievers, the Twins have chosen to roll with minor league free agent signings and their own internal candidates.

In some cases it worked remarkably well (as expected with Taylor Rogers and somewhat surprisingly with Ryne Harper), others have been serviceable but haven’t quite taken the step forward that we would have hoped (Trevor May), and some have been a disaster (Fernando Romero and Trevor Hildenberger). The Twins have relied upon the Rochester/Minneapolis shuttle and found some useful pieces, most recently in Zack Littell. Tyler Duffey has also been pretty good for the most part and Devin Smeltzer, Kohl Stewart, and Sean Poppen have provided some useful outings, both starting and in relief.

The bullpen is currently sixth in the American League in ERA and first in WPA (Thanks Taylor Rogers!). Although the Twin’s bullpen has been surprisingly effective this year, I don’t think anyone would argue that they couldn’t use at least one more late-inning shut-down reliever along with a quality middle reliever, preferably a lefty.

However, not jumping in to make a big off-season reliever signing or two is looking more and more prudent.

A quick glance at the stat lines of the top free agent relievers will show how inconsistent the signings were, Well, outside of the Yankees, unfortunately. In general, signing free agent relievers seems to be a crapshoot, as the past couple of seasons have shown. Even with the somewhat suppressed contract amounts of the last two seasons, staying clear of the FA reliever market was shrewd in that Twins avoided the burden of being committed to a potentially ineffective reliever for multiple years. This of course saves the Twins money, but more importantly it keeps them from feeling an obligation to continue running out an ineffective reliever because of money owed, as it is much easier to cut a player who isn’t tied to a large salary (as we’ve seen recently with Matt Magill and Mike Morin). It also makes it more palatable to take on added salary in a trade, whether starter or reliever.

This brings us to the potential beauty of the Twins’ plan, if it is in fact their plan. If they do decide to add relievers through trades they have a much better idea of what they are getting than they would through free agency. The Twins are obviously closely monitoring potential trade targets and are aware of how relievers have pitched recently. Although there is always the risk that a player could regress for the remainder of the regular season and/or in the postseason, the odds are certainly lower than that of an off-season acquisition. Plus, relievers who have some years of team control left tend to be younger and therefore less likely for regression than more volatile, older free agents through the remainder of their time with the Twins. Waiting gives the Twins the advantage of seeing the direction in which the potential trade target is trending. They have the luxury of going after the hot hand(s).

The Twins are in a great position to make some trades. With a stacked farm system, the Twins can afford to part with a few quality prospects to go after a high-quality reliever or two with some years of team control left, and/or go after upcoming free agents without giving up any top prospects. Falvey and Levine have done a nice job of building the farm system and definitely place a high value on prospects. They undoubtedly have a notion of which prospects are untouchable and seem unlikely to needlessly give away prospects. The front office seems keen to keep the best long- term interests of the team intact (as they should), but with a first place team they are almost obligated to strengthen the pen through some trades.

Whether or not this is something the front office cleverly plotted out or just fell into. That is, staying away from free agent relievers, testing/developing internal options, and waiting to make a trade or two (or three) appears ingenious in hindsight. We’ll find out soon enough.

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11 Comments

This article will look brilliant, when and if our front office does go big.

    • Sconnie, DocBauer, Tom Froemming and 1 other like this

Dear Twins Front Office,

 

Your "New Bullpen Market Efficiency" is not going to last a 162 game season plus playoffs

 

I'm getting a little worn out.

 

Please bring in some reinforcements.

 

Much Love and Respect,

 

Taylor Rogers

    • SQUIRREL, rukavina, mikelink45 and 3 others like this

They have been flat out lucky. Entering the season with no proven closer. Staying in first place thru the end of July with no proven closer, one lefty arm (who has become the closer) and little rhyme or reason on who does what in any situation.

 

If the Twins were a .500 team, the bullpen would be brilliant.

 

 

    • D.C Twins likes this

Would you, as a fan, rather the Twins win a World Series once every ten years, and suck the other years? Or........... qualify for the playoffs 5 of the ten years, and never win? 

 

I go with the first option. I don't know why the guys that were never Twins' guys until they got paid to be, are guys that anyone believes really care. Why is it a secret what the FO's MO is? They are not really dedicated from their heart, anyway. They are bought and sold on the market place, to the highest bidder. They would leave in a heartbeat for a bigger payday. Convince one of the richest owners of a MLB team to spend on his hobby, and I believe they care. What else is there in professional sports, but to win a championship? It ain't about the prospects and the farm. It is about winning a championship.

    • adorduan likes this
Looking at the recent roster moves, there seems to be something cooking. While I have no idea what it is, as a general principle I would much rather see the Twins keep good prospects and part with some of JP's money. But since I have few principles remaining, I guess one less won't matter. :)
    • LA VIkes Fan and Doctor Wu like this
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Tom Froemming
Jul 21 2019 06:29 AM

As Patrick points out, the linchpin in this plan is that they need to make additions sometime over the next 10 days. But, to back up his overall sentiment on a day after the bullpen was a dumpster fire, here are some numbers on how the Twins have protected leads.

 

W-L when entering with a lead

6th: 43-7 (.860) -- lg. avg. is .844

7th: 44-5 (.898) -- lg. avg. is .874

8th: 49-3 (.942) -- lg. avg. is .920

9th: 53-1 (.981) -- lg. avg. is .962

 

So last night was the first time the Twins have blown a lead in the ninth inning. The bullpen has done a good job overall, but I agree that this all hinges on how they make alterations at this point. 

    • SwainZag, LA VIkes Fan, mikelink45 and 3 others like this
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diehardtwinsfan
Jul 21 2019 06:34 AM

 

This article will look brilliant, when and if our front office does go big.

I think they'll do something this week (or next).. but to the OPs point.. not many FA signings have worked. Sadly, Parker is one of the better options... Other than really Ottavino, most of have been disasters.

 

http://twinsdaily.co...half-way-point/

 

 

    • ashbury, DocBauer and Patrick Wozniak like this

I am always scared by pitcher FAs, especially relievers.When we buy relievers who have just had a great season we might also be buying someone who has already used up his arm.Look at who we have had as FA and trade reliever signings who have appeared in the big leagues last year and this:

Blake Parker this year - nothing special, just an arm and an inflated anticipated value.

Zack Duke

Austin Adams

Oliver Drake

Alan Busenitz

John Curtiss

Addison Reed

Tyler Kinley

Matt Belisle

 

And starters - 

Lance Lynn

Michael Pineda

Jake Odorizzi

Martin Perez

 

I vote for starters over relievers based on past success 

 

As Patrick points out, the linchpin in this plan is that they need to make additions sometime over the next 10 days. But, to back up his overall sentiment on a day after the bullpen was a dumpster fire, here are some numbers on how the Twins have protected leads.

W-L when entering with a lead
6th: 43-7 (.860) -- lg. avg. is .844
7th: 44-5 (.898) -- lg. avg. is .874
8th: 49-3 (.942) -- lg. avg. is .920
9th: 53-1 (.981) -- lg. avg. is .962

So last night was the first time the Twins have blown a lead in the ninth inning. The bullpen has done a good job overall, but I agree that this all hinges on how they make alterations at this point.

part of this has been a very good rotation. Average 5.2 innings per start puts them 6th in mlb, with the 4th best ERA. Baldelli has been able to limit exposure and effectively manage work loads.

He wont be afforded that luxury so well in the post season.
    • DocBauer likes this

As Patrick points out, the linchpin in this plan is that they need to make additions sometime over the next 10 days. But, to back up his overall sentiment on a day after the bullpen was a dumpster fire, here are some numbers on how the Twins have protected leads.
 
W-L when entering with a lead
6th: 43-7 (.860) -- lg. avg. is .844
7th: 44-5 (.898) -- lg. avg. is .874
8th: 49-3 (.942) -- lg. avg. is .920
9th: 53-1 (.981) -- lg. avg. is .962
 
So last night was the first time the Twins have blown a lead in the ninth inning. The bullpen has done a good job overall, but I agree that this all hinges on how they make alterations at this point.


Thank you, Patrick, for a great article! And thank you, Tom, for these statistics.

Points:

1] I was as upset as anyone the FO didn't bring in at least 1 big pen arm. Smart or lucky...I'm going with smart...they did the right thing initially.

2] Over a 6 month season, there will be highs and lows. If not, 110-120 win seasons would be a norm. You win and lose with all facets of the game: offense, defense, starting pitching and relief pitching. You don't have one of the best records in all of baseball near the end of July, even with a recent rough patch, with 1 or 2 of those areas being terribly insufficient.

3] The statistics above show that the Twins protection of leads from the 6th inning on are above league average. And to this point, they have lost one...ONE...game in the 9th inning. This is not because the offense has pounded every team in to submission. In fact, the past few weeks, it's been quite the opposite.

For the second half, for crunch time, for playoff time, the pen needs an arm or two. The FO has handled the pen about as perfect as it could be handled to this point. And it has absolutely not been the dumpster fire some want to make it out to be. Necessity is meeting opportunity here as the deadline approaches. Will the FO continue to be smart?

    • Sconnie and Patrick Wozniak like this
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LA VIkes Fan
Jul 21 2019 11:10 AM
Well said. Some of us are a little panicked about adding bullpen pieces as fast as possible, myself included. I think that's because this season seems to represent an opportunity that we haven't seen lately. We just need to sit back and hope that the FO can execute on their plan, whatever that plan may be.

Speaking of which, I think I saw that Magill has been traded to Seattle for cash considerations. Does that mean that Seattle now has the ability to move a bullpen piece like say Roenis Elias? I know he gave up the winning home run to Mike Trout last night but giving up a home run to Trout is hardly a sign of anything wrong. I would love to see Elias in a twins uniform this week.

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