Internal Relief Help Could Provide Second-Half Upgrade
Image courtesy of © David Berding-USA TODAY SportsLefty Duo
Lewis Thorpe, a left-handed pitcher, made one start for the Twins this year. Back on June 30, he held the White Sox to two earned runs on five hits while striking out seven. Thorpe is coming of a 2018 season where he was named Jim Rantz Award winner as the Twins Minor League Pitcher of the Year.
Thorpe’s pitching repertoire might be a good fit as a bullpen arm. His fastball sits in the low-90s and he mixes in a slider, a curveball, and a changeup. Throughout his five professional seasons, Thorpe has been used as a relief pitcher on three separate occasions. In the last week, Rochester used Thorpe in relief, but this was so Fernando Romero could be utilized as an opener.
Devin Smeltzer, another left-handed pitcher, has made three appearances with the Twins this year. Across 16 2/3 innings, he has a 3.24 ERA, a 1.02 WHIP and a 13 to 4 strikeout to walk ratio. Right before the All-Star break, Smeltzer was used as a relief arm after Kyle Gibson had started the game as an opener. In that appearance, he allowed one run on five hits in 4 1/3 innings.
Smeltzer doesn’t exactly fit the mold of power-throwing lefty. His fastball sits in the high-80s while his change up (82.9 mph) and curveball (76.4 mph) help to keep hitters off-balance. Out of his 216 big-league pitches, only three pitches have been barreled up against him. Since Smeltzer is more of a finesse pitcher, it might make more sense for Thorpe to be given the first crack at a relief role.
Other Names to Consider
Over the last couple weeks, multiple 40-man roster spots have been vacated. Adalberto Mejia, Andrew Vasquez, Mike Morin and Ronald Torreyes were all either outrighted or designated for assignment. Minnesota currently has three open 40-man roster spots and no clear indication of what the plan will be for these openings. Perhaps, the club could be looking at internal options to add to the bullpen.
Cody Allen, the former Indians and Angels closer, has been working his way through the Twins system. He made three appearances with Fort Myers and didn’t allow a run. Since joining Rochester, he has allowed two runs in three appearances with two strikeouts.
Over the weekend, Charley Walters of the Pioneer Press mentioned that the Twins could look at other internal options. “It’s not necessarily Triple-A pitchers the Twins are considering, either,” Walters said. “They could reach to Double-A and even high-A for help. Those would be pitchers with fastballs in the mid-to-high 90s-mph range.”
Edwar Colina is a player that could fit that mold as he was just promoted from High-A to Double-A. As a right-handed pitcher, he can hit triple-digits with his fastball. In 61 2/3 innings as a starter, he has a 2.34 ERA with a 1.10 WHIP. Also, he has a 61 to 15 strikeout to walk ratio. He made his Pensacola debut on Tuesday as he allowed two runs on four hits in four innings.
Other than Colina, Jorge Alcala, who has pitched all year with Pensacola, could be a relief option. His fastball can hit into the high-90s, but there have been some struggles in his first taste of Double-A. He has a 6.15 ERA and a 1.51 WHIP in 89.1 innings. His 9.8 K/9 is good for a starter and the Twins could hope to take advantage of his strikeout ability.
It seems more than likely that the Twins will be adding a relief piece or two in the weeks ahead. Could any of these arms help the Twins in the second half? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
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