Jump to content

Providing independent coverage of the Minnesota Twins.
Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

The Forums

Cleveland MLB team reportedly considering name change

Other Baseball Today, 12:25 AM
This is an AP article I lifted from the StarTribune web site.   https://www.startrib...sure/571623572/
Full topic ›

Take Landis Name off the MVP Award

Other Baseball Yesterday, 09:04 PM
Barry Larkin, former MVP, has been calling for removing the Kenesaw Mountain Landis name from MVP awards.Personally, until I read the art...
Full topic ›

Virtual Twins Baseball Megathread

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 09:27 AM
Moving forward this will house every game-thread in the comments below until real baseball hopefully comes back. I should have done this...
Full topic ›

Twins remove Calvin Griffith statue

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 07:53 PM
because TEAR EVERYTHING DOWN!
Full topic ›

Neal: Twins Radio Broadcast Team Will Not Travel

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 04:52 AM
https://www.startrib...ason/571529672/   LaVelle Neal also wrote that the Twins radio broadcast crew (including Cory Provus and Dan...
Full topic ›

Recent Blogs


Taylor Rogers Shouldn’t Be THE Twins Closer

If baseball can find a way to happen in 2020, our Twins have a lot more certainty in their bullpen than in recent years. Taylor Rogers was one of the few relievers we had confidence in for 2019 and he certainly earned his role as the closer. It may serve the Twins well to not be so fast to assign that role again however.
Image courtesy of © David Berding-USA TODAY Sports
Tyler Duffey had an unbelievable season in 2019 that often goes unnoticed outside of the Twins fandom because of his usage. That should change in the future. A 2.50 ERA was no accident with a 3.06 FIP and 2.94 xFIP. His K% nearly doubled to 34.4%. He took no prisoners, left-handed or right-handed, as he allowed a .588 and .601 OPS respectively. By all accounts, the numbers Duffey put up would be devastating in any role.

That being said, I think it’s fair to say that Taylor Rogers is still the best pitcher in this bullpen. One benefit of the analytics developing in baseball however is recognizing that the end of the game isn’t always the highest leverage role. In a close game, it may make more sense to use your best pitcher against the top of the lineup in the seventh or eighth. We saw that thought process early in 2019 with Blake Parker picking up saves until it was proven he couldn’t do it anymore. Rogers was the Josh Hader-esque fireman, and both he and the Twins thrived when another pitcher could be relied on to close out the game depending on how the game played out.

Taylor Rogers’ only struggles in 2019 appeared to surface when pitching in consecutive games, where he owned an ERA over 7. While we occasionally saw a save from another member of the bullpen, it was typically Rogers being relied upon in every save situation. Moving him into a more fluid role may allow him to avoid pitching in consecutive games as often, as he doesn’t have to be automatically given the ball in a 3-run game and risk suffering the consequences if he’s needed in a close game the following night.

Furthermore, Rogers being left-handed makes him somewhat non-traditional for being a closer. One of the main missing pieces on the roster headed into last winter was a left-handed reliever, as Rogers was expected to be saved for the end of the game. It’s a minor factor, but one that can be solved by not locking Rogers into the ninth inning. If Shohei Ohtani leads off the eighth inning of a 3-2 game, leave nothing to chance.

Is this a statement of Duffey passing Rogers on the bullpen totem pole? Should Rogers be “demoted”? In both cases, the answer is no. Many are still skeptical of Duffey’s 2019 despite his numbers looking legit. I think he made measurable changes by tweaking his fastball and throwing his curveball more and these changes should make him effective even if he regresses a bit. That being said, whether it’s the 7th-9th inning, who would you rather have on the mound against the best hitters in the opponent's lineup in a close game? If your answer is Rogers, you should be rooting for the Twins analytics team to look for a more fluid role for the Twins lefty.

Baseball analysis continues to advance and the traditional closer role may soon be left behind. Tyler Duffey and the rest of the bullpen give us an opportunity to fully buy in and create the matchups we want day in and day out. Taylor Rogers can still be a closer, he just shouldn’t be THE closer.

— Latest Twins coverage from our writers
— Recent Twins discussion in our forums
— Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
— Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here

  • dbminn and nclahammer like this

  • Share:
  • submit to reddit
Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

17 Comments

Photo
howieramone2
May 30 2020 07:41 PM
If it's not broken, don't fix it. I can't be the only one on the board that coached.
    • mikelink45 and DocBauer like this

If it's not broken, don't fix it. I can't be the only one on the board that coached.


Like and agree. But it's not that simple in today's game. Rogers earned the right to be the closer. But originally, early in the season, veteran Parker was OK in his role as traditional closer and Rogers was used more in high leverage situations. As things changed/developed, May and Duffey really came on and Rogers assumed a more traditional closer role.

Advanced analysis and statistics have taught us that WINS and SAVES don't necessarily mean/indicate what we once thought they meant. I get that. I understand that. But at the same time, while a SP might pitch great and get screwed out of a win, or even end up with a loss despite a great performance, a consistently good SP may also gain a win or 2 or 3 to make up for it on a decent, competitive team.

The life of a RP, however, is volatile. You can blow everyone away and do your job 4 times out of 5 and still have mediocre numbers due that that 5th appearance. Despite "easy" saves, I still find the role of a closer to be VERY relevant. IF your SP is of any quality, and your team is of any quality, you are still looking at most games with your SP going 5-7 IP. How does your team respond offensively? How does the rest of your pen respond?

IMPO, the 9th inning guy is still very important. Unlike other sports, there is no real substitution in baseball, other than PH or the occassional double switch component. And yes, with all of that, how often does the closer really get a cheap 7-9 hitter save opportunity? Couple that with a quality bat off the bench.

So what Cody is saying is, if you have May and Duffey available, and the 8th inning has your opponent's heart of the order up, maybe you let Taylor be your FIREMAN and let someone else pitch the next inning. THAT I can agree with.
    • mikelink45, Trov, dbminn and 1 other like this

LaTroy Hawkins had an amazing career, but could not close - check out the recap of the 2000s that has been on TD.We have a player who can handle the pitching and the mental aspects - leave him be.  

    • Trov and Doctor Gast like this
Photo
Andrew Thares
May 31 2020 10:14 AM

 

If it's not broken, don't fix it. I can't be the only one on the board that coached.

I'm not particularly a big fan of this way of thinking. Maybe a better phrase is, if something can be improved, why not try to improve it?

 

The "If it's not broken, don't fix it" way of thinking is what caused the Twins to suck for most of the 2010s. Under Terry Ryan, the Twins way of doing things was the same as it had been to create the good 2000s teams, so in an essence it wasn't broken. So, when most of the rest of the league was focused on improving their way of operating, the Twins fell way behind the curve, rendering their way of doing things broken.

Photo
Nine of twelve
May 31 2020 10:45 AM

I've heard many people say that having a reliable and consistent closer makes it easier for the entire bullpen to succeed because relievers pitch in similar situations each time, learn what works for them in those situations, and exploit that. This makes sense to me. However, for that to succeed probably four good relievers are required, one to close and three to set up. For a team that has that luxury it would be best for the closer to be right-handed (as Cody alluded to in the OP) or, more accurately, to do as well against right-handed batters as against lefties.

That said, nothing should be carved in stone. A good manager using that system will sometimes bypass the closer or bring the closer in early if indications point that way during a given game.

Photo
Kelly Vance
May 31 2020 11:23 AM

I've coached it both ways.I have to say, neither way is better than the other.It all comes down to the situation, and the skills and mental make up of your pitchers.You go with what works, so there is some trial and error involved. 

 

If I have 3,4,5 coming up in the 7th and I have two relievers ready, I will use the better one to pitch to the heart of the lineup. If its the 8th.But if its only the 7th inning, you may see those 3,4,5 hitters come up again. Maybe in the 9th. If its the 8th inning,there is less chance of that..

 

It also depends on the box score that day. 3,4,5 hitters can slump. If they are 0 for 10 to that point, maybe you don't worry about them so much and save your best guy to close. So, it may depend on the situation and the players.

 

Some pitchers are better starting an inning than coming in with runners on. I make a different call if the other team gets a couple of guys on base. Then I want the guy who is psychologically better in the pressure situation. Which brings me to this...

 

There is a lot to be said with having to play only an 8 inning game (not really, but think Yankees with Rivera closing it down in the 9th, almost always).I have used a closer to pitch the last inning. One year I stuck to that all year. Great results because my closer had the closer'smental make up. His walk on song was the James Bond theme. The fans loved it. 

 

Rogers has that more than Duffy and May, in my opinion. Rogers doesn't get rattled. Those other guys do, especially May. And May has that tendency to give up the occasional homer.

 

One other thing, players relish having the closer role. It is like being named a team captain. You rise to the role. And once "promoted" to closer, a pitcher feels that is his job. That's where we find ourselves now with Rogers. But he would accept the fireman role in games where it is warranted.I am sure of it.

 

And how about Romo?He has been a closer and a set up guy. And he has a different style that mixes it up before a lefty closer comes in. Giving hitters two different looks at the end of a game is worth more than a passing thought

 

Twothings I know, Rocky will do the right thing.and Taylor will be all in for it.  

Photo
howieramone2
May 31 2020 11:42 AM
TR immediately took a mid-market team on a full rebuilt. That is by far the biggest reason for our lack of success in the 2010s. With all the teams recently and/or currently rebuilding, tanking etc., I don't understand why we have so many on the board who continue to be confused on TR's role.

Taylor Rogers was reeeeally good in his bridge roll. Does he have the overwhelming stuff to be a great closer? Not quite. Hard slider, fastball. Sit on the slider, try to catch up to the heat. That's a pretty simple plan if Rogers is the closer. His heater is maybe a tick above average, so hitters will definitely sit on the slider. That could threaten to make his repertoire too limited. 

 

Contrast that with Trevor May. Hard heater, and he can pick corners with it, or learn to. Also has a hard curve, mostly a "show me" pitch to slow the bat down a bit. More like a traditional closer.

 

Contrast that with Tyler Duffy. Used to have an extreme curve ball, mediocre heater. Now has a respectable 96 mph heater, and has dropped the curve for a hard slider. Also can pick corners with the heat, but Duffy can still surprise with his big bender now and then, and it can still be an out pitch. If Duffy can maintain his new-found velocity, then he has more tools than May to be a closer. I would certainly want to test that out.

Having the most effective pitchers pitch in the highest-leverage situations should be the design of the bullpen, not holding your lights-out guy in reserve to finish off a 2 or 3-run lead in the 9th inning. 

I would have liked to have seen a bit more detail. First Duffey was not good early in 2019, then he became amazing.  How were Rogers splits?  I know he is great but that should factor.  W so many right handed batters we should know.

 

I know it's an age old argument (well from the early 2000's until now), if we have the bullets, shouldn't the best pitcher pitch the highest leverage situation?

 

Always lots of debate on this.

 

I think we need a little more of Duffey pitching to trust him super late...I do think he has turned the corner but we have to make sure he is real, not a lot of detail but if a reliever is going strong, ride them.  As always.

Photo
Doctor Gast
Jun 01 2020 06:48 AM

Always have liked Duffy, he`s evolved into pitcher that he is now. I think he`ll continue to evolve. That said, I think he still needs to prove that he can maintain that success. Early last year Baldelli never announced his closer but Rogers proved that he could handle that high leverage role & he earned that role. But he also showed that he didn`t have the stuff to pitch consecutive games. That`s why I suggested Hill to be used to be used in high leverage games to limit his pitch count until he`s fully readyto go full blast in the post season. But going into the post season we need to have someone able to duo w/ Taylor Rogers because he won`t be available every game, hopefully Duffy can be that guy

 

I would have liked to have seen a bit more detail. First Duffey was not good early in 2019, then he became amazing.  How were Rogers splits?  I know he is great but that should factor.  W so many right handed batters we should know.

 

I know it's an age old argument (well from the early 2000's until now), if we have the bullets, shouldn't the best pitcher pitch the highest leverage situation?

 

Always lots of debate on this.

 

I think we need a little more of Duffey pitching to trust him super late...I do think he has turned the corner but we have to make sure he is real, not a lot of detail but if a reliever is going strong, ride them.  As always.

I agree, it's a struggle to fit the necessary information in an article! There are some interesting splits to take into account. 

 

Taylor Rogers 1st half - 1.82 ERA

2nd half - 3.68 ERA

 

Tyler Duffey 1st half - 3.49 ERA

2nd half - 1.53 ERA.

 

People don't realize that Duffey was the better pitcher in the second half as his tweaks to his pitch mix really settled in and Rogers began to get roughed up on occasion after being relied on more for multi inning saves and consecutive days. 

 

I don't believe in leverage numbers necessarily, but in 2019 Duffey was actually fantastic in high leverage (.156/.229/.219 in 9.1 innings). Those splits are always about sample size, but I'd be interested to see how he fares in a larger one. 

 

I know it's easy to distrust Duffey after all these years, but I really do trust in the measurable changes he's made to his pitch mix and I don't think anybody can argue that he's worse than Blake Parker who we trusted in that role for half of last year. In the end I wouldn't say it's the end of the world if Rogers is still closing out every game, I think it's just about optimizing and trying to snag another win or two which could easily be huge.

 

LaTroy Hawkins had an amazing career, but could not close - check out the recap of the 2000s that has been on TD.We have a player who can handle the pitching and the mental aspects - leave him be.  

This was the exact situation I was thinking of.I am not one that says we need to save our guy for the 9th.I am very on board with using your top arm in 7th or 8th if the situation calls for it.However, just because May or Duffy has performed well in 7th or 8th does not mean they will do as well in the 9th.Some guys just cannot handle it on the mental side.Throw them in bases loaded in 7th and they shut it down, but put them in no one on in 9th and they fail.Some times the mental part of the 9th is too much for great pitchers to handle. 

Duffey wasn't an effective firefighter in the playoffs. He needs to rebuild my trust.

Duffy is vastly overrated by way too many people on this forum, at least in my opinion. Sure, he was solid last year. Solid. Not amazing. He was 5-1 with a 2.50 ERA. That's pretty much what you want from a middle reliever. So whoop-dee-do, he didn't suck - that doesn't mean he's Ryan Pressley all of a sudden. And let's not forget, the Twins were putting him in very low-leverage situations quite often last season because of his terrible past. Remember that? It was only in 2018 when he pitched to the tune of a 7.20 ERA. And before 2018 he was also, frankly, terrible.

 

Duffey has shown he can be awful and has a few seasons to prove it. He's shown he can be solid, but he's only done that once. Nothing tells me he's elite or even in the conversation of elite relievers.

 

Rogers is far and away the best bullpen arm we have and should get the ball in the 9th when the pressure's on. Not even a question.

 

Duffey wasn't an effective firefighter in the playoffs. He needs to rebuild my trust.

That was a super small sample size but you could then argue to bring in Taylor Rogers in those spots Duffey saw in the playoffs if you believe he's the better reliever. 

 

Duffy is vastly overrated by way too many people on this forum, at least in my opinion. Sure, he was solid last year. Solid. Not amazing. He was 5-1 with a 2.50 ERA. That's pretty much what you want from a middle reliever. So whoop-dee-do, he didn't suck - that doesn't mean he's Ryan Pressley all of a sudden. And let's not forget, the Twins were putting him in very low-leverage situations quite often last season because of his terrible past. Remember that? It was only in 2018 when he pitched to the tune of a 7.20 ERA. And before 2018 he was also, frankly, terrible.

 

Duffey has shown he can be awful and has a few seasons to prove it. He's shown he can be solid, but he's only done that once. Nothing tells me he's elite or even in the conversation of elite relievers.

 

Rogers is far and away the best bullpen arm we have and should get the ball in the 9th when the pressure's on. Not even a question.

Actually the Twins basically did to Duffey what the Astros did to Pressey and the parallels are pretty funny. Duffey went on a 26 inning scoreless streak and we saw Pressley set a record 31 inning scoreless streak. The answer to both of their success was throwing a breakingball more, which means that if you believe in the changes Pressley made, it's pretty hard to shoot down Duffey. 

 

Tyler Duffey had a higher K% than Pressley did in 2019 and their BB% are almost identical as well. I think baseball fans have a tendency to underrate their own players just because they see more games from them and ultimately see more than just their highlights. If the Twins had cut Duffey after the 2019 season and he did this for another team, fans would be absolutely irate because Duffey's development is a fraction of a step below what we saw with Pressley and he's 2 years younger.