Jump to content

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

The Forums

Helfand: “early June start appears out of picture”

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 11:37 PM

Good Cuts.

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 11:15 PM
Mark Salas blocked the heck outta that plate.  

Recent Baseball America Milb Organization Rankings

Twins Minor League Talk Yesterday, 09:33 PM
Since I'm not giving everything away, assuming it's OK to just mention the Twins here. BA ranks the Twins 8th going in to the 2020 season...

Athletic article on the 2019 postseason baseball

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 10:11 AM
For those who have a subscription to the Athletic, there is a very interesting article I saw that was a deep dive into the 2019 postseaso...

Get to know each other

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 05:48 PM
I did this once about 2-3 years ago, but it was during the offseason and well, it's been a long time ago... Let's get to know each other...


Pitching Projects Pan Out in Minnesota

Posted by Ted Schwerzler , 17 February 2020 · 2,054 views

matt wisler anibal sanchez ryne harper matt magill minnesota twins
Over the past few seasons there have been more than a few guys signed that have drawn a groan from Twins Territory. What the initial analysis doesn’t take into account is that the Twins have generated a juggernaut in terms of infrastructure, and it's paid dividends in recent seasons. This time around, it’s Matt Wisler looking to generate a return.

Early on this winter the front office tabbed former Top 100 prospect Matt Wisler as being worthy of a major league deal. He combined to throw just over 50 innings in the majors last season, and the results generated a 5.61 ERA. Giving up nearly two homers per nine innings, the counting stats were hardly enticing. But then you take a look under the hood.

Wisler posted a 4.23 FIP and an even better 3.83 xFIP. His 14.9% whiff rate and 37% chase rate were career highs, and his 11.0 K/9 wasn’t far off from doubling his career averages. The longball has been an issue for a while, but it’s certainly plausible to see what the Twins like.

A season ago Wisler had his slider averaging nearly 84 mph (you guessed it, a career high) while flipping it a whopping 70% of the time. He’s abandoned the sinker, went to a four-seam, and became a two-pitch pitcher. In targeting Sergio Romo again for 2020, as well as bringing in Jhoulys Chacin, it seems pitching coach Wes Johnson is looking to tinker with slider-dominant arms.

Minnesota is not some sort of a magic cure for the average pitcher, but the infrastructure now in place has produced. Ryne Harper was a 30-year-old rookie when he put up a 3.81 ERA a year ago, and he may be on the outside looking in because of the overall strength shown by the current relief corps. Matt Magill turned sporadic Show time into two consistent years of big-league run. Although he fizzled down the stretch for the Twins, Magill is now in line to be the Seattle Mariners closer after a strong finish.

Things don’t always work out the way you plan. Anibal Sanchez was jettisoned after Lance Lynn was signed, and he went on to have a career year with the Atlanta Braves in 2018. Nick Anderson was never given a shot internally and now is one of the best relievers in baseball. The process being in place does not guarantee a no-fault result. What is true though, is that Minnesota can now be seen as a destination for arms to thrive.

Maybe Matt Wisler will be a slider-fastball pitcher that can’t keep the pill in the yard and the next step won’t be taken. In a bullpen that should be expected to be among the better units in baseball though, it’s worth finding out if he can’t be a dominant middle relief option and venture down that path under the tutelage of Johnson.

We’ve reached the point that assessment of acquisitions shouldn’t be based around what a player was before coming to the Twins organization, but instead what they will become after getting here.

For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz

  • h2oface, nclahammer and DannySD like this