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Don’t Look Now but the Twins Bullpen is Pretty Good

Posted by Andrew Gebo , 02 May 2019 · 1,490 views

It’s certainly no secret that a strong bullpen is a common trait among championship teams. The Kansas City Royals made back-to-back World Series appearances, in 2014 & 2015, winning it all in 2015 on the backs of a very strong bullpen. The likes of Wade Davis, Kelvin Herrera and Greg Holland were a major part of their success.

The team that beat them in 2014, the San Francisco Giants, also posted a stellar bullpen. Led by their “Core Four” (Jeremy Affeldt, Javier Lopez, Sergio Romo, and Santiago Casilla) they were able to win three titles in five years. While they had had other key members such as former ROY & MVP Buster Posey and Postseason legend, Madison Bumgarner, the impact of ther bullpen cannot be overlooked.

Now, since this is a Twins site I should probably talk about the Twins. Going into the season the bullpen was supposed to be downfall of this team. They were only going to go as far as the bullpen would let them. This was not an illogical expectation. Strong bullpens are a foundation of really good teams (see above). However, after a month and some pocket change into the season their bullpen is having all the laughs at that early season rhetoric.

For the purpose of this blog post let’s all just close our eyes and pretend Mejia hasn’t pitched in 2019. I usually close my eyes when he pitches anyway so it’s all the same. With the exception of Mejia, the Twins have gotten stellar performances from a numbers of guys in their ‘pen.

Per FanGraphs, here is how some of their relievers have performed so far this year.

Trevor Hildenberger - 10.1ip, 3.48 ERA
Taylor Rogers - 13.2ip, 1.98 ERA
Blake Parker - 9.1ip, 0.96 ERA
Trevor May - 10.2ip, 3.38 ERA
Ryne Harper - 11.2ip, 2.31 ERA

I do realize it’s only early May and there’s still a lot of baseball left to play. I’m not saying Rogers will have a sub-2 ERA over the course of the full season. Would be awesome if he does but let’s be real about all this.

Now with all this said, I would like to see them add another quality arm or two at the deadline. The guy that jumps to mind right now is lefty Will Smith of the Giants. They’re not going anywhere and they have a surplus of quality bullpen arms. Until then, however, let’s recognize and appreciate what this group has done so far this year.

Thank you for reading!

  • howieramone2 and Tom Froemming like this



If they can add two more dynamite arms to this mix. We have Moya and then Reed (either) in the wings. Right now, looks like the Twins may have a rotating spot or two in the 'pen.

 

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Andrew Gebo
May 02 2019 03:57 PM
I agree. While they’ve pitched well so far it obviously doesn’t hurt to add another quality arm or two. It’s just a mater of at what cost. The Indians gave up a top 50 prospect for Brad Hand. The Cubs gave up Gleyber Torres for Chapman and the Indians gave up Clint Frazier for Andrew Miller. The Twins pen isn’t so terrible where they need to sell the farm for an elite arm. That’s why I like Will Smith.
Go get Will Smith now.
Also...have to take Harper's ERA with a big grain of salt there...he's allowed almost all of his inherited runners to score...not a good look for 2019.
    • h2oface likes this

16th in ERA at 4.20 and 13th in FIP at 4.12.Both have been improving lately as well.2nd in ERA for the last 7 days (2.57) and 11th in the last 14 days (3.99).

 

Should be a good group going forward.Keeping the big 4 healthy will be key.It's a good sign that our "weakness" is league average or better.

 

Also...have to take Harper's ERA with a big grain of salt there...he's allowed almost all of his inherited runners to score...not a good look for 2019.

 

8 out of 12. (all getting charged to his teammates) .Hildenberger has let in 5, but he is 5 of 19 and 26.3% inherited runners scored, which is not bad (except, perhaps, the reality of it in the games he lets them score). But Hildenberger is on the rise and the ERA has been climbing steadily lately.

 

16th in ERA at 4.20 and 13th in FIP at 4.12.Both have been improving lately as well.2nd in ERA for the last 7 days (2.57) and 11th in the last 14 days (3.99).

 

Should be a good group going forward.Keeping the big 4 healthy will be key.It's a good sign that our "weakness" is league average or better.

 

Are you throwing Mejia (more?) out too? Or is this with all relief pitching, as the other teams are. After all, they probably have at least one reliever they would like to not count as happened, too.

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South Dakota Tom
May 05 2019 11:42 AM

Many suggest adding two relief arms, and I'm here to suggest that is not the best plan.The team absolutely needs to gear up for a long season, and if we added a Will Smith and another stalwart, it would make it difficult if not impossible to utilize the last spots of the pen as an open gate between AAA and the major league club.

 

One of two things could happen - all 7/8 of the relief corps could perform admirably and we'd not need to dip into the pool of also-rans.On the other hand, adding two non-optionable arms to the bullpen could result in a minor leaguer being shut out from helping the team (should one or more minor-league arms start throwing lights out), or it could result in wearing out the bullpen if we hit 2 or 3 short starts within the rotation of 5.We play so many consecutive games for the next month, it scares me to count on long starts to ensure that the pen doesn't get over-utilized. 

 

I know it sounds counter-productive to denigrate a major-league caliber bullpen 1-8 but the value in having a couple of moving parts who can pitch a few innings and then go back down to AAA and be replaced by fresh arms strikes me as even more valuable.

    • birdwatcher likes this