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Baseball Is Getting Really Expensive

Other Baseball Today, 02:41 PM
That pain you've felt in your wallet attending games over the last few years is real. And that is one reason people are staying away from...
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Front Page: Eddie Rosario's Actual Value Is an Offsea...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 02:37 PM
I shouldn't be surprised anymore. I really shouldn't.Baseball's award voters have overemphasized traditional baseball-card numbers like w...
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Front Page: Should the Twins Be In on Cole Hamels?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 02:35 PM
Cole Hamels is one of the best starting pitchers on the open market and teams are definitely looking into him. It is rumored that 13 team...
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What do we think Twins payroll REALLY will be?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 02:33 PM
I'm not looking for a lot of drumbeating here on what it SHOULD be. I'm wondering what we think it will be when the dust settles this off...
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Front Page: Holiday Gift Ideas for Baseball Fans

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 02:29 PM
You have a baseball fan in your life, and the holidays are barreling down on you like Jason Kubel getting sent home by Scott Ullger even...
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Potential Twins Bullpen Target: Ken Giles, RHP, Blue Jays

From 2014 through 2017, Ken Giles was one of the most dominant relievers in major league baseball, pitching for both the Philadelphia Phillies and the Houston Astros. Now pitching for the Toronto Blue Jays, the 28-year-old right-hander might be the perfect addition to the backend of a Twins bullpen that is in need of a shutdown arm or two.
Image courtesy of © Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Some of you might remember during that great postseason run by the 2017 Astros, one piece that wasn’t firing for them was the backend of their bullpen. A big part of this was due to the fall of Ken Giles, who was rocked for 10 runs on 12 hits and five walks in 7 2/3 innings pitched in the 2017 postseason. Those struggles carried over into 2018, and led to the Astros decision to demote him to AAA before ultimately trading him to the Blue Jays in part of the package that sent Roberto Osuna to the Astros. Giles didn’t have a lot more success with the Blue Jays than he did the Astros, and finished 2018 with a 4.65 ERA. However, it wasn’t all bad in 2018, as Giles did have a much better 3.08 FIP, that was aided in part by his extremely low walk rate of just 3.3 percent.

Now in 2019, Ken Giles seems to have regained the form that helped him become the dominant backend of the bullpen reliever that he was during his first four seasons as a big leaguer. Among qualified relievers, only Ryan Pressly, Brad Hand, and Shane Greene have a better ERA this season than Giles’ 1.08. Some of the more in-depth metrics support that this is the real Ken Giles, and that 2018 was more of a fluke/bad luck season. In addition to his 1.08 ERA, Giles sports a 1.17 FIP, which is topped by only Kirby Yates’ 1.14 FIP among qualified relievers. If you look at the Statcast metrics over at Baseball Savant, it backs up the case that Giles is back to his dominant form even more. So far this season, Giles has allowed opposing hitters to hit at a .207 clip, compared to his expected batting average allowed of .188. Giles has also been better from an expected wOBA perspective, as Giles .247 wOBA allowed is actually slightly higher than his .243 xwOBA.

A big part of Giles' success has come from regaining his ability to strike people out. During his dominant stretch from 2014 to 2017, Giles struck out 33.7 percent of opposing hitters (which ranked 9th among all relievers with at least 100 IP over that time). In 2018, that number fell to just 25 percent. However, in 2019, Giles has gotten his strikeout rate back up to 42.4 percent, which ranks third among qualified relievers this season. A big part of this can be explained by Giles getting back to using his slider more often. Here is a graph showing Giles' slider usage rate over the past few seasons.

Attached Image: Ken Giles Slider Pitch Percent.png

(Chart via Baseball Savant)

As we can see, Giles threw his slider far less often in 2018 than he had been previously, which could help explain his dip in performance. In 2019, Giles’ slider usage is back up to 49 percent, which is the highest rate of his career. It becomes even more clear that this has had an impact when we look at the next chart that shows us just how much better Giles is with his slider than his fastball.

Attached Image: Ken Giles wOBA by Pitch Type.png

(Chart via Baseball Savant)

A big part of what makes Ken Giles slider so effective is how often he gets opposing hitters to swing and miss at the pitch. So far this year, opposing hitters are whiffing at 61 percent of Giles' sliders that they swing at. That is the highest rate of any pitcher who has thrown at least 100 breaking balls this season. It is also apparent that Giles started throwing his sinker again in 2018, but he is still rarely using it (under four percent of the time) so I wouldn’t put much stock in that pitch for now.

One concern the Twins could have for Giles is regarding his health, as he was placed on the IL last week with elbow inflammation, but he was reinstated onto the active roster on Thursday, so they will have some time to evaluate if he is truly healthy before they are forced to make a decision on him.

Giles is currently making $6.3M in his second year of arbitration and will be under team control through the 2020 season if the Twins were to trade for him. If you are wondering what it would take to pry Giles away from the Blue Jays, I assume they will be demanding a package in return that is similar to what the Twins received in the Ryan Pressly trade with the Astros a year ago.

See Also
Sam Dyson, RHP, Giants
Brad Hand, LHP, Indians
Oliver Perez, LHP Cleveland
Robert Stephenson, RHP, Reds
John Gant, RHP, Cardinals
Alex Colome, RHP, White Sox
Seth Lugo, RHP, Mets
Greg Holland, RHP, Diamondbacks
Sean Doolittle, LHP, Nationals
Kirby Yates, RHP, Padres
10 Relievers Minnesota Could Target

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8 Comments

Giles should be the number 1 target, IMO.

    • diehardtwinsfan, Jham and caninatl04 like this

As long as his injury isn't bad, I would be looking very closely into getting Giles. I think he's far enough removed from the fiasco in Houston to be a concern.

    • diehardtwinsfan likes this

Assuming he's healthy he should be the #1 target.

    • caninatl04 likes this

Giles and Stroman package would be nice, then go get Will Smith after that.

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diehardtwinsfan
Jun 22 2019 05:33 AM

Agreed with everyone else (minus the Stroman part)... he should be one of our top targets.

If all we have to give them is what we got for Pressly then I do this deal yesterday
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The Billy Goat
Jun 22 2019 01:50 PM

The relievers that I'd like to see them get are Giles, Diekman, and Tony Watson.Giles and Diekman can also help out next year when the Twins are still contending, and Watson could be great as a LOOGY in the playoffs.Coupled with the addition of Perez or Pineda to the playoff bullpen, this could be a group that is able to slow down opposing offenses without mortgaging their future.

Agreed he should be a top target. I also like his experience in the AL. Also very much in if his trade package is approximately the value given for Pressly.

Watson was also mentioned and I like that idea a lot

Can someone refresh my memory on Giles and his attitude or incident? I've heard it referenced but cant recall.

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