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Blake Parker Was *Not* "The Twins' Most Consistent Reliever"

Posted by ReinMan , 26 July 2019 · 2,401 views

blake parker minnesota twins relief pitching
Blake Parker Was *Not* "The Twins' Most Consistent Reliever" Greetings, Twins Territory.

While watching the FSN broadcast of Tuesday's 10-inning instant classic between the Twins and Yankees, i.e. what was shaping up to be called the "Miguel Sano game" before quickly being title-hijacked as the "Aaron Hicks Revenge Game", I was dumbstruck to hear Dick Bremer call Blake Parker "the Twins' most consistent reliever lately".

You've gotta be kidding me, I thought. Parker makes me nervous every time he's on the mound.
And especially today, against the Yankees.
(Followed by: 5-pitch walk, line-drive double, Monster Double, strikeout, Monster Double, yielding 4 ER in 1/3 of an inning, for an ERA of ... 108.00.)

We all have "a feeling about a guy" from time to time, where we can't exactly quantify what we're feeling, but where something seems to be true. And therefore, with this blog, I endeavor to take those "feelings" (either mine, or yours, dear reader - feel free to submit them to me!) and provide evidence that either substantiates or refutes them.

I'm not a sabermetrician by any means, but as a 23-year veteran math teacher, I'm pretty good at research, tracking down data, and mental calculations.

So, without further ado, let's dig into whether "Blake Parker was the Twins' most consistent reliever" before he... Got Yanked:

Dick Bremer backed up his statement by stating that Parker hadn't given up a run in his previous 5 outings. This is true; in fact, he'd only yielded 1 ER in his previous 10 outings!

But let's dig a little deeper into those 5 pre-Yankees appearances:

July 3 @OAK: Twins win 4-3 in 12 innings. Parker enters bottom 10 (clean), pitches the 10th & 11th.
2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K, 35 pitches, 20 strikes (57%).
10th: Walks Chapman on 5 pitches, walks Olson on 5 pitches.
(Creates a mess: 1st & 2nd with 0 out in extra innings on the road. Leverage Index swells from 2.25 to 5.29.)
Retires Davis on FC (1st & 3rd), retires Canha on FC (Chapman out at home), strikes out Laureano.
(Cleans up the mess he created.)
11th: Yields 0-2 single to right to Grossman, immediately throws a WP allowing Grossman to advance to 2nd.
(Creates a mess: runner on 2nd with 0 out. Leverage Index swells from 2.25 to 3.81.)
Strikes out Barreto, strikes out Herrmann, gets Semien to foul out.
(Cleans up the mess he created.)

July 13 @CLE: Twins win 6-2. Parker enters with 2 outs bottom 7, and also pitches the 8th.
With an inherited runner on 1st, gets Luplow to foul out to end the 7th.
8th: Strikes out Lindor, Mercado flies out, strikes out Santana.
(Calms things down. Leverage Index goes from 1.83 to 0.36.)

July 16 vs. NYM: Twins lose 3-2. Parker enters top 8 (clean), and also pitches to 3 batters in the 9th.
8th: McNeil flies out, Conforto lines a first-pitch single to right, walks Alonso.
(Creates a mess: 1st & 2nd with 1 out. Leverage Index swells from 0.94 to 1.92.)
Garver's passed ball allows runners to advance to 2nd & 3rd. Cano then grounds into the ridiculous double play at home and 3rd created by multiple Mets baserunning gaffes.
(Rescued by Mets stupidity.)
9th: Ramos grounds out. Smith grounds out. Walks Frazier and is relieved by Magill.

July 19 vs. OAK: Twins lose 5-3. Parker enters top 8 (clean).
Strikes out Davis. Grossman lines a single to left. Herrmann lines into a 3-6 DP.
(Gives up some hard contact, but faces only 3 batters.)

July 20 vs. OAK: Twins lose 5-4. Parker enters top 8 (clean).
Grossman flies out. Herrmann lines a single to center. Strikes out Profar. Semien grounds out.
(Not bad. Leverage Index starts at 2.17 due to the Twins' narrow 4-3 lead at the time, but never exceeds 2.89.)

5 outings: 1 clean (CLE), 2 other low-stress (OAK x2), and 2 where Parker created a big mess almost immediately and was lucky to escape with no runs allowed (I actually count this as 3, because it happened twice in the July 3 game).

So on 3 out of 6 innings, Parker takes a clean situation and makes everybody nervous.
I'm guessing Rocco and crew weren't interested in any more nail-biting induced by a veteran reliever who rarely pitches a simple, clean inning, and who has a 50% chance of filling the bases right after he enters the game.

VERDICT: You've gotta be kidding me feeling is justified. "Twins Most Consistent Reliever" statement is not.

  • nclahammer likes this

Jul 26 2019 09:34 PM
He made me nervous too. Early in the season it was too cold to grip his splitfinger. When it got warmer, he still didn't use it much. Hard to figure what was going on. A straight 91 mph fastball doesn't work real well at this level. On top of this his motion was hard to watch.
Jul 27 2019 04:04 AM

I wish him well with another team.

I'm glad the Twins are ridding themselves of these pitchers. Great stories and they did use them and sent them on. But, yes, Parker was not pretty on the mound. That he was able to close in the beginnings of the season is a miracle.


At some point, if a pitcher puts two men on base and not getting clean strikes, I would automatically pull him. Period. That's not what you bring them in to do. You have a deep bullpen and a regular shuttle with AAA Rochester


Blake Parker's demise was sad...and the Twins had to let him go! Parker was a two-month wonder...possibly a fluke at that. He had a 1.04 ERA on May 25th. True, he wasn't going to maintain that microscopic ERA. But, he gave up 2 runs on May 28th, which was a prelude of things to come! Parker had a 7.59 ERA in June. He did have a stretch of scoreless innings here and there. But too often, as the article mentions, Parker created messes, not pitching enough clean innings. He usually seemed on the verge of falling apart...not pitching like a guy who could be counted on in close games. Overall, Parker yielded too many walks (16 in 36 innings), home runs (7) and baserunners (52...34 hits, 16 walks, 2 HBP) to be a reliable option out of the bullpen!


The Twins have now moved 4 relievers to other teams. I know it's going to be a big price to pay...but, I hope the Twins make a couple of deals for quality arms for the bullpen and possibly the starting rotation. They'll struggle to make the playoffs and in the playoffs (if they make it that far) by standing pat! GO TWINS!!!  

Parker was up-and-down in July as well.