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2017 Minnesota Twins Report Card: Alan Busenitz

Posted by Brandon Warne , 27 December 2017 · 1,823 views

minnesota twins alan busenitz
This is a series of evaluations that will be done this offseason on every player that closed the season on the 40-man roster for the Minnesota Twins throughout the winter until each player has been evaluated. The plan is to start with Mr. Belisle and move all the way through the pitchers, then to the catchers, infielders, outfielders and finally those listed as designated hitters on the club’s official MLB.com roster. That means we’ll wrap it up with Kennys Vargas sometime before the season starts.
  • Name: Alan Busenitz
  • 2017 Role: Flame-throwing righty who earned Paul Molitor’s trust, and later-inning work, as the season went on.
  • Expected 2018 Role: Role will depend on how many bats he misses; could be a setup man or could just be another guy.
  • MLB Stats: 1.99 ERA, 4.20 FIP in 31.2 innings; 6.5 K/9, 2.6 BB/9, 0.98 WHIP, 0.1 fWAR, 0.7 bWAR.
  • MiLB Stats: 1.78 ERA, 2.15 FIP in 35.1 innings at Triple-A Rochester
  • Contract Status: Arbitration-eligible after 2020, free agent after 2023

2017 Lowdown:

Busenitz came on the scene with the Twins as the lesser-known commodity in the deal that sent Ricky Nolasco and Alex Meyer to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and returned Hector Santiago. To that point, Busenitz was a hard-throwing 26-year-old righty with no big-league experience, though he got a late start as a college draft pick (senior sign) from Kennesaw State University.

Not only that, but he played five years of college baseball, which is exceptionally rare. He spent two years at Georgia Perimeter College, then three with the Owls because his 2012 season was abbreviated by Tommy John surgery. Still, he’s a pretty great story. In his first year at Georgia Perimeter, he had a 4.37 ERA and a WHIP of 1.54. In his first two seasons at Kennesaw State — before getting hurt — he had a combined ERA that was close to 7.00 and a WHIP of nearly 2.00.

But Busenitz made his way up the Angels system, pitching in relief for all but eight games in a brief stop at Double-A Arkansas — and not a good one, as he posted a 6.75 ERA. Even his minors numbers at most stops aren’t exceptionally strong. He blitzed the low minors like most 20-somethings should, but that first snag at Double-A Arkansas wasn’t that long ago (2015).

He barely pitched at Triple-A in 2016 in the Angels system, and it went poorly to say the least. He allowed 11 earned runs in 13 innings (7.62 ERA) while opposing batters hit .308/.383/.462 against him. It’s not surprising he lasted just a month and a day before he was shipped to Double-A — though it was in Chattanooga, as he was then traded to the Twins.

Like he has with pretty much every challenge in his career, Busenitz thrived in his second go-round at Triple-A, twirling a 1.78 ERA over 35.1 innings before the Twins gave him his first MLB call.

He certainly didn’t disappoint with the Twins, either, posting a 1.99 ERA over 28 appearances spanning 31.2 innings. Now it’d be easy to point out that Busenitz had a FIP of 4.20, thanks in large part to an unsustainably low BABIP (.212) and a high strand rate (86.6 percent), and he also didn’t do much strikeouts-wise with his blazing fastball, fanning just 6.5 batters per nine despite averaging 95.7 mph on the heater.

Please click through to Zone Coverage here to read the rest of this story!

  • nicksaviking, h2oface, Sconnie and 1 other like this

Dec 28 2017 07:57 AM

I like Busenitz, I was surprised all year that his stuff didn't translate to more strikeouts, I think we see a big jump in that in 2018.

    • tarheeltwinsfan likes this
Dec 28 2017 08:26 AM
I hope we see the jump. If not, he still is a reliable back end reliever with options to move back and forth from AAA as needed.
    • caninatl04 likes this
Liked what I saw but felt like he started to struggle with outs and inherited runs his last couple of weeks. Of course, there is also an expected learning and adjustment curve to be expected. I think he's got a chance to be pretty good.

Is it bad that this is the guy I trust most in the Twins bullpen?


that .420 FIP could really haunt - agree with BW, ability to translate success and heat into Ks is critical for Busenitz success.