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Front Page: The Future Value of Luis Arraez

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 07:36 AM
Major League Baseball has rookies every season that are deemed as the next wave of stars. However, this rarely comes to fruition as plent...
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Magic Number Thread

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 07:36 AM
Why no magic number thread?     Why can't I post pictures?      BYTO was fun.    
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Front Page: Mission Accomplished: An Elite Twins Bullpen

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 07:32 AM
As the month of July came to an end, Minnesota Twins fans watched with anticipation hoping that their club was going to make the necessar...
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Front Page: Twins Game Recap (9/17): Twins Win Wild Game...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 07:25 AM
This game had pretty much everything you could ask for from a great baseball game. An historic home run, three different comebacks to tie...
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Front Page: Win Tickets To Meet Luis Arraez!

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 07:23 AM
Twins Daily is excited to announce we have partnered with FanHQ to get a lucky reader tickets to meet Twins rookie Luis Arraez. Just sign...
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What Fernando Rodney Experience?

For basically all of his 16-year MLB career, when Fernando Rodney has come into pitch it has caused fans of whichever team he is pitcher for to hold their breath. Between his mid-90’s fastball with sink and his changeup that is widely regarded as one of the best in the history of the game, Rodney has always had tremendous stuff. The problem with Rodney has always been his knack for giving too many free passes that clog the bases in high-leverage situations.
Image courtesy of © Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
When the Twins first signed Fernando Rodney last winter, it caused some concern among Twins fans. This concern wasn’t exactly unwarranted, given the fact that Rodney was about to enter his age 41 season, and he was coming off perhaps two of his most Fernando Rodney-esque seasons of his career.

Between 2016 and 2017, Rodney had a 3.80 ERA (3.45 FIP) with a 10.37 K/9 and a 4.70 BB/9. After last season, Arizona Diamondback fans couldn’t see him out of town fast enough. Part of Rodney’s problem in Arizona was perception. Rodney, got off to a terrible start in 2017, posting a 12.60 ERA through the month of April. However, from May 1st onward, Rodney was lights out to the tune of a 2.38 ERA and an opponents’ OPS of .442. Unfortunately for Rodney, relievers don’t throw enough innings to help salvage great overall numbers, as the lowest his ERA ever got was 4.17 towards the end of the season.

The “Fernando Rodney Experience” came just as advertised during his first month in Minnesota. In his first appearance as a Twin, Rodney gave up a walk-off home run to Adam Jones. His next seven outings after that were pretty rocky as well, with Rodney blowing three of his first five save opportunities mixed in with a couple excellent performances, giving Twins fans a full taste of what the “Fernando Rodney Experience” is all about.

This stretch ultimately cumulated in the Bronx when Rodney gave up a three-run walk-off home run to Gary Sanchez, giving the Yankees a 4-3 victory and completing a four-game sweep in the most Twins vs Yankees way imaginable.

Since then, Rodney has been lights out as the Twins closer. While the Twins bullpen has blown plenty of late leads over the past couple of months, Rodney has been a steady ship going 15 for 15 in save opportunities.

Not only has Rodney been perfect in save opportunities since April 28th, but he has also done his part in keeping the blood-pressure level of Twins fans to a minimum. In his 15 save opportunities during that stretch Rodney has been perfect in 11 of them. In the four times where he did allow someone to reach base, the game tying run never even made its way into scoring position.

Overall, Rodney’s numbers over that time have been excellent. In 19 2/3 innings pitched, he has an ERA of just 1.37 (2.70 FIP), with a K/9 of 9.61 and a BB/9 of 3.20. He has also holding opposing batters to a .134 AVG and an OPS of .395.

So, how has Fernando Rodney stayed at the top of his game despite his age being on the wrong side of 40? A big factor in Rodney’s success has been his improved walk rate. As has almost always been the case with Rodney, if he is able to keep his walk rate down at a respectable level, he becomes one of the best relievers in the game. However, when he struggles with his command, you get the, well, “Fernando Rodney Experience.”

This season, Rodney has had some of the best control of his career, as he is walking just 3.08 batters per nine innings, down from his career average of 4.39 BB/9. As it stands, this is the second best mark of his career, behind only his 2012 season when he walked just 1.81 batters per nine on his way to a 0.60 ERA over 74 2/3 innings.

Additionally, Rodney has done an excellent job of maintaining his velocity as he has aged. Ten years ago, when Rodney was still a spring chicken at the age of 31, he was averaging 95.5 mph on his sinker. In 2018, that number has only fallen off slightly to 93.8 mph. This was due in large part to a surprising increase in velocity that Rodney experienced during his mid-30s, reaching as high as 96.9 mph in 2013.

Sure, as he continues to age, Rodney’s velocity will drop to a point where it is no longer an effective weapon, but for now he still has it. When you factor that in with his improved control, and a changeup that is as dominate as ever, Rodney is still a force to be reckoned with at the back end of the bullpen.

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15 Comments

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Kelly Vance
Jun 26 2018 06:20 PM

You gotta root for us geezers.

I have a shirt that says, "The older I get the better I was."

Ah nostalgia. 

Fernando can still bring it. Glad he is a Twin.

 

    • Jerr likes this

Whilst dragging refuse to a dumpster today I listened to a podcast about advanced kinesiology. They spoke of finding ways to compensate for the body's natural tendency to wear out and wear down over time, with the goal of maintaining top performance well past the age that we expect athletes to lose top performance. I wonder if Rodney is doing that sort of training. 

 

Or maybe he's just pumping steroids into his butt-tocks. Whatever it is, Rodney does appear to have Bo Jackson thighs. He must spend a lot of time pumping iron. I hope he's doing it the legal way. I didn't trust his stuff early in the season, but now he's on auto-snuff. I wonder what he did to cut down on the walks...

Spot on - folks be eating their words. His stuff is still top drawer.

Probably his best season since 2012.

 

Still... Hope that the Twins sell high at the deadline

    • Mike Sixel, gil4, h2oface and 3 others like this

He's been better than I had expected. I was always sort of "whatever" on the acquisition in the offseason, because I think the role of "closer" is super overrated and vastly overpaid. If it meant that better relievers got to pitch more in higher leverage situations rather than be held out to come in to finish the 9th inning, good. I figured if rodney was cooked, he'd be easy to walk away from.

 

Turns out, he seems to have plenty in the tank! Good for him. Looks like a very good signing. It'll be even better if he can teach his changeup to Romero...

His velocity has been better than expected right from the beginning even when results were poor.I thought he...if used solely in the closer role...would be the Twins no. 1 problem/issue this season.As it turns out, I would have been happy to be correct.

 

But it won't last forever, and we don't need him anymore this season...so, I'm with Thrylos, I hope we sell high.

    • gil4 and Doctor Wu like this

He's the first closer the Twins have had since perhaps Nathan that actually has closer stuff.

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Andrew Thares
Jun 27 2018 01:50 PM

 

He's the first closer the Twins have had since perhaps Nathan that actually has closer stuff.

Glen Perkins?

    • Danchat likes this

Good thing, they don't have much else to trade....

    • Doctor Wu likes this
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LA VIkes Fan
Jun 27 2018 01:54 PM

They guy's been lights out in a dumpster fire of a season. I* think we have an option on him for next year, too.Do we keep him and hope next year is better or trade him at the deadline. I say trade if we can get a B prospect in AA or higher or better, otherwise keep him. 

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Andrew Thares
Jun 27 2018 09:08 PM

 

They guy's been lights out in a dumpster fire of a season. I* think we have an option on him for next year, too.Do we keep him and hope next year is better or trade him at the deadline. I say trade if we can get a B prospect in AA or higher or better, otherwise keep him. 

Personally I think you trade him. At 41 the wheels could still fall off the wagon at any second. I would trade high while you can. Plus the 2nd year team option could help add a little bit to his trade value.

    • Mike Sixel and gil4 like this

 

Glen Perkins?

Thanks - forgot him

    • Mike Sixel and Andrew Thares like this

Rodney has indeed been "Lights Out" this month. Of course, now that we are all realizing that's the case, he is due to self-destruct at any moment. Well, let hope not. But yeah, if the Twins look out of the race at this time next month, trade him while he's got some value.

this didn't age well...

I will admit I was one of the NO sayers when it came to signing Rodney. He is currently at the top of his game or real close to it. It's an excellent time to trade him for a good prospect. The Twins are toast this season and even if they would somehow miraculously overtake the Indians they won't make it past the Red Sox, Yankees or Astros in the playoffs. Let's keep building!