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How Many 2017 Twins Can You Name? (out of 52)

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Go Bold: Trade for Gerrit Cole

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Go get Verlander

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http://www.espn.com/...astros-audition   Best possible combination of help in 2017 and help in the next couple years, right where th...
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Busenitz Looks To Provide Relief

UPDATE: Twins Daily learned that Alan Busenitz (with Alex Wimmers) will join the Twins on Saturday.

I don’t think anyone reading this would be taken aback if I were to say that the Minnesota Twins bullpen has been a bit shaky to this point this year. Not all of them. For the most part, Brandon Kintzler, Taylor Rogers and Tyler Duffey have been quite good. After that, there have been some moments, but a lot of inconsistency.

While there’s been a rotating door into the Target Field bullpen, there are some guys in the minor leagues who warrant an opportunity. Chief among them just might be a hard-throwing right-hander in Rochester who appears to be ready.
Image courtesy of Joe Territo/Rochester Red Wings
Alan Busenitz has been terrific since coming to the Twins organization at last year’s trade deadline. Everyone is familiar with the trade in which the Twins sent Ricky Nolasco and Alex Meyer to the Angels in exchange for Hector Santiago. Few recall that the Twins received hard-throwing right-hander Busenitz from the Angels as well.

While the Twins bullpen has been a mess, Busenitz has been a consistent contributor late in games for the Red Wings. On the season, he has worked 29.1 innings in 19 games. He has a 2.15 ERA, a 0.85 WHIP, 9.8 K/9 and just 2.8 BB/9. Opponents have hit just .165 off of him so far this year. While he’s just 6-1 and under 200 pounds, he is blessed with a strong arm. He’ll often reach into the upper-90s with a fastball. He also has a very good breaking ball.

It is the usage of the breaking ball, he says, that has really helped him take a step forward in 2017 and credits his Red Wings pitching coach. “I’ve been working with Stu (Cliburn) on throwing the curveball more for a strike. I used to throw it more for swings and misses, but then I would fall behind.”

Being able to get ahead with a secondary pitch was important for the 26-year-old from Georgia. And, as you can see from his 2017 stats, he is still able to miss enough bats.

While Twins fans are clamoring for bullpen help, Busenitz is just working hard down in Rochester, waiting for his turn. In fact, he says, he hasn’t really given the thought of being called up too much thought.

Asked what it would mean to receive that call to the big leagues, Busenitz said, “I don’t even know. It’d be a whole lot of emotion.” He continued, “Probably, first and foremost, my wife would be pumped because that would mean we could move forward even faster on building a house. That’s what she’s after. That would be the first thing on her list.”

It would be a day even bigger than the day that he got drafted. That was a busy day for Busenitz.

“It was a good day all the way around. My wife’s sister was getting married that day, and then I got drafted so everybody was all excited. As I remember, I was kind of nervous because I didn’t know if I was going to because I wasn’t really even a prospect or anything. Next thing I know, I get a call. I was half watching but it was during the wedding. My cousin called me, and I was like, “Who drafted me?” I didn’t see who it was. He was like, “The Angels.” So, it was pretty funny. A good time.

On August 1st last year, Busenitz was sitting in a hotel room in Sacramento when his phone rang. On the other end was the Angels minor league director. “He asked me how my day was, and then said, ‘Oh, you’ve been traded.’ A day later, I was in a different uniform.”

He spent a few weeks in Chattanooga, adjusting to the new organization. He ended last year in Rochester which is where his 2017 season began.

Busenitz did pitch in one game for the Twins in spring training this year, but maybe his time is coming soon to pitch for the Twins in the regular season.


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But Busenitz isn’t the only relief pitcher working in Rochester, biding his time until he get that call.

Trevor Hildenberger has been our minor league relief pitcher of the year the last two seasons. His 2016 season ended about a month early with some elbow soreness. He began 2017 in Rochester. In 19 games, he has worked 27 innings. He is 2-1 with four saves. He has a 2.33 ERA, a 1.15 WHIP and opponents have hit just .235 off of him.

Randy Rosario came up directly from AA, in part because he is on the 40-man roster, and in larger part because he pitched great throughout May. Lookouts closer John Curtiss did not allow an earned run all season until Tuesday night when he gave up two earned runs. He is 2-0 with 12 saves. He has a 0.75 ERA, a 1.00 WHIP, 12.8 K/9 (but 4.5 BB/9). Opponents are hitting just .145 off of him so far this year.


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Brandon Kintzler, Tyler Duffey and Taylor Rogers have been mainstays of the Twins bullpen all season. Matt Belisle and Craig Breslow have been there all year, but it’s fair to say each has had their struggles. So has Rule 5 pick Justin Haley, who has also seen plenty of time on the disabled list. Adam Wilk and Chris Heston have been claimed and pitched in the Twins bullpen. Ryan Pressly, Alex Wimmers, Buddy Boshers, Drew Rucinski and Michael Tonkin have all split their seasons between AAA and the big leagues. Even Jason Wheeler made a couple of appearance.

The Twins front office is tossing darts, trying to find a successful combination, some guys who can be reliable. Several have had their opportunities, and it’s likely we will see more.

Hildenberger and Busenitz are both 26-years-old all ready, and their minor league numbers tell us that they are ready for an opportunity. Curtiss is 24, so a bump to AAA should be coming for him soon, and then potentially to the big leagues. Rosario will be back at some point, and Mason Melotakis is another guy who is in AA, probably needing a move up to AAA.

Moving deck chairs is a phrase that Jeremy Nygaard and others have used as it relates to working on the fringes of the big league bullpen (and the back of the 40-man roster). There are some guys whose AAA success should warrant an opportunity soon.

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47 Comments

I agree

Ugh....when I first saw the headline, I thought he had been called up already :(

 

I wish I knew what the Twins thought he still had to work on to be a better option than ...uh....50% of our current bullpen.

    • ThejacKmp, Oldgoat_MN, mikelink45 and 2 others like this

Nice article, Seth. I hope to see Busenitz very soon as a Twin.

    • mikelink45 and David HK like this
Sooner or later, reality will and must meet later. I only hope later meets reality sooner. Sooner shouldn't be an unrealistic rush, or you may regret it later. But if sooner doesnt appear to be too soon, then sooner is clearly better than later because later can sometimes become too late.
    • brvama, Oldgoat_MN, 70charger and 6 others like this

Busenitz was under the radar, at least for me. I did not expect him to post the numbers he's been posting this year.

Hope to see him in MLB soon. And, of course, I hope that goes well!

Man, we could really use some bullpen help...

    • sploorp likes this
I don't get why he hasn't gotten a chance yet. Nice article on not just Busenitz, but several relievers that are doing very well. (Some like Busenitz are not yet adoppted
    • David HK likes this

When I looked at last night's milb box scores last night (since there was no article on TD...) I saw Busey's and Hildy's lines and thought some vague thoughts that then, moments later, showed up fully formed, with pictures, on the TD website.  Timely job, Seth.

 

Love the quotes about waiting to get called up before steaming ahead on house plans.  Makes me think about the fine financial margins some of these guys are on.  Every day in the majors is huge.  In this case, probably worth what, a square foot of house?

    • Oldgoat_MN likes this

Sooner or later, reality will and must meet later. I only hope later meets reality sooner. Sooner shouldn't be an unrealistic rush, or you may regret it later. But if sooner doesnt appear to be too soon, then sooner is clearly better than later because later can sometimes become too late.


Wow, Doc, had to read this 3 times to separate all the "sooners" and "laters." Looks like a start of a good country song. Anyway, quite profound.

 

Ugh....when I first saw the headline, I thought he had been called up already :(

 

I wish I knew what the Twins thought he still had to work on to be a better option than ...uh....50% of our current bullpen.

 

Yeah, the headline got me as well.

 

I went there straight from the main page, so I didn't have the context of what Forum (Minor League) the discussion was in.

Moving deck chairs on the Titanic

Wow, Doc, had to read this 3 times to separate all the "sooners" and "laters." Looks like a start of a good country song. Anyway, quite profound.


Having fun while trying to make a point.

Maybe on the country song part. But I didn't mention anything at all about momma, or trains, or trucks, or prison...or getting drunk. (And a big high 5 and a cyber beer for anyone who gets that reference).
    • brvama, Oldgoat_MN, IndianaTwin and 2 others like this

We have no evidence this FO will call up RPs from the system. Indeed, all the evidence shows otherwise. I don't get it. 

    • David HK and D.C Twins like this

Moving deck chairs on the Titanic


Going to have to disagree here. Guys deserve chances. Guys who seemingly might be getting it together deserve second chances. Shuffling deck chairs is doing both with guys who just can't get the job done.

We don't really know what Busentiz can do yet. He was barely mentioned when acquired and hasn't even been talked about much until lately. Curtiss, Reed, Chargois, Burdi if ever healthy, Jay if he also can ever get healthy, Melotakis, etc, are guys we are familiar with. Busentiz's stuff and numbers indicate he deserves consideration. He may not be a pup, but he's also not old.
    • Danchat likes this
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howieramone2
Jun 16 2017 08:31 AM

 

We have no evidence this FO will call up RPs from the system. Indeed, all the evidence shows otherwise. I don't get it. 

Rosario. Chargois and Burdi, may well be here, but are injured. No doubt you will see some shiny new things before much longer. 

 

Rosario. Chargios and Burdi, may well be here, but are injured. No doubt you will see some shiny new things before much longer. 

 

people have been typing that for weeks. And yet, we don't. Belisle and Breslow should not be on a contending team's roster, imo. 

    • D.C Twins likes this

The minor leagues are where we need to look and I will be happy when the FO turns off the waiver (dumpster) wire and starts finding out who we have in our own system. At 26 we should get players up or out.  Reading the minor league summaries I cannot figure out why Rosario is the only one given a chance. 

    • Mike Sixel, Danchat and D.C Twins like this

 

people have been typing that for weeks. And yet, we don't. Belisle and Breslow should not be on a contending team's roster, imo. 

Yeah, and what's the point in waiting?  Specifically in the case of Breslow, he's only pitching short relief in low-leverage situations anyway, which would be the perfect opportunity to ease in and evaluate younger arms.

    • Mike Sixel, kab21, Danchat and 2 others like this

I saw Busenitz pitch about a month ago against the IronPigs in a game that the Red Wings lost 0-9 and he was really good.93-96 mph fastball and he was pounded the strike zone.His secondary stuff is a change up and a curve ball that both sit at 82-84 and they are out pitches.The change has so much movement that really looks like a cutter at some point.

 

I think that he can help the Twins this season, but they need to subtract someone.Belisle and Breslow are the likely candidates for that, but I think that the Twins are giving them a very long leash...  

 

On the depth chart, I see him behind Turley and Chargois (when he is ready), so that's that too...

    • kab21, Danchat and DocBauer like this
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Dave The Dastardly
Jun 16 2017 09:44 AM

 

Having fun while trying to make a point.

Maybe on the country song part. But I didn't mention anything at all about momma, or trains, or trucks, or prison...or getting drunk. (And a big high 5 and a cyber beer for anyone who gets that reference).

David Alan Coe turned me on to country. I'll take that beer. Just don't call me by my name.

    • DocBauer likes this
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LA VIkes Fan
Jun 16 2017 10:12 AM

I've been trying to figure out why the FO seems so insistent on keeping Belisle, Boshers (who to be fair, has pitched pretty well), and Breslow around instead of the guys on the farm. Do you think any of the wait has to do with the FO trying to find a way to trade Belisle and Breslow for some value rather than DFA them? I assume they are long out of options. I know that Molitor would like some veterans in the pen but even he has to recognize that a more reliable arm would be an improvement. We may have to wait until July for things to change. 

    • Danchat and D.C Twins like this

 

Do you think any of the wait has to do with the FO trying to find a way to trade Belisle and Breslow for some value rather than DFA them? I assume they are long out of options.

Your assumption is correct -- players with 5+ years of service time can't be sent to the minors without their consent, which is extremely rare (Anibal Sanchez consented this year, I suppose just to get more innings).

 

I can't imagine they are holding onto any trade delusions about those two any more.  I'm guessing they still think Belisle can help, but even the Twins haven't been using Breslow for multiple innings or in any kind of leverage situations, which is basically saying he's not of any value on the field.  They must like his off-field contributions, though?

 

I've been trying to figure out why the FO seems so insistent on keeping Belisle, Boshers (who to be fair, has pitched pretty well), and Breslow around instead of the guys on the farm. Do you think any of the wait has to do with the FO trying to find a way to trade Belisle and Breslow for some value rather than DFA them? I assume they are long out of options. I know that Molitor would like some veterans in the pen but even he has to recognize that a more reliable arm would be an improvement. We may have to wait until July for things to change. 

 

why the heck would anyone trade for Breslow or Belisle? If that is what they are waiting for, um, good luck.

They could get rid of Breslow today. He is the 25th man and really isn't contributing anything of significance to the roster.

    • Mike Sixel likes this

 

Going to have to disagree here. Guys deserve chances. Guys who seemingly might be getting it together deserve second chances. Shuffling deck chairs is doing both with guys who just can't get the job done.

 

I agree. This is an evaluation year for Falvey and Levine... That includes people that are and have been here. It appears they'll get some opportunity and give the FO more data points. At some point that will shift. Tonkin and Santana got about six weeks. Some of the others got less. Eventually these guys will get an opportunity.

    • HitInAPinch likes this
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LA VIkes Fan
Jun 16 2017 11:08 AM

I think they brought them in with the hope that they would pitch decently and be a tradable asset in July. Belisle had other suitors so they weren't completely crack addled in thinking he could have value and Breslow was more of a flyer with the new arm slot, etc.but left handed relievers have value and he was good until asked to pitch more often and in more high leverage situations. It may be that the thinking is that they will be able to get 5-7 good appearances form them and flip them for a High A lottery prospect. Good luck with that. I think that may be part of the hold up.   


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