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Article: Trying to Get a Reed on Addison

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#1 Jamie Cameron

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Posted 15 June 2018 - 09:36 AM

Twins fans were thrilled when they signed Addison Reed this offseason on a two year deal worth approximately $16 million. Given the nature of the free agent relief pitching market in recent years, the Reed signing seemed not only to be a great get for the Twins, but a significant bargain given the deals that Rockies handed out to Bryan Shaw, Greg Holland and Jake McGee. The Twins, it seemed, had obtained a reliable reliever with a proven track record who could take on a high workload of high leverage innings and support Fernando Rodney at the back end of the bullpen.Wednesday night in Detroit was the culmination of a rough few weeks for Reed. Over his last 15 appearances (13.2 innings), he’s held a 5.27 ERA, 1.68 WHIP, and surrendered some key leads. Despite his season-long numbers being relatively in line with his career figures, any kind of digging into Reed’s numbers this season lead to an inevitable conclusion: he’s in rapid decline.

Peripheral Stats
Looking at the last 3 years lead to some worrying conclusions about Reed’s early season form with the Twins.
Download attachment: ReedGraphic.png
It’s worth pointing out that Reed and Ryan Pressly have been significantly over-worked by Paul Molitor this season in a similar fashion to Trevor Hildenberger in 2017. Both have taken significant steps backwards in the past few weeks. While Pressly’s peripheral numbers line up almost exactly with his current performance, the same cannot be said for Reed. While overuse is certainly a factor to consider with Reed, his effectiveness is also quite clearly decreasing. Reed has never been a ground ball pitcher, but everything he throws this year is getting hit in the air, with an increasing fly ball and HR rate, it has led to him being less effective, and more noticeably, in high leverage situations.

Let’s talk about WPA for a second. No it’s not a bougie craft beer, win probability added measures how much a given player increases or decreases their team's probability of winning. Reed has been especially brutal in high leverage situations. His figure of -0.62 is already two thirds of a win below league average. He has the 21st worst WPA in the entire league, right behind Blaine Boyer of the Royals (11.60 ERA). That is a problem for a pitcher Molitor frequently relies on as his ‘eighth inning guy’ who is constantly pitching in high leverage situations with the game on the line.

Velocity

Reed’s velocity has also been in steady decline over the last few years. In the last 3 years, Reed’s average fastball velocity has fallen from 93.2 mph (2016), to 92.8 mph (2017), to 91.8 mph (2018). While velocity isn’t everything, consider this; Reed’s fastball was worth 12.9 runs above average in 2017, through roughly one third of the season in 2018, it’s worth 0.5 runs above average. Reed’s decline in velocity, combined with a decreasing number of ground balls and no Byron Buxton, is hurting Reed’s 2018 effectiveness significantly.

Moving Forwards

It’s fair to say I’m picking on Reed in the middle of a rough patch. It’s also true that a stagnant Twins offense could have reduced his disappointing WPA by scoring more freely (or at all) against sub-standard opposing pitchers. The Twins bullpen in general has been poor in high leverage situations (not aided by very little margin for error). Moving forward I’d argue that Trevor Hildenberger should be pitching in as many close and late situations as possible. He the Twins’ leader in WPA at 0.37 (68th best in the league). Since struggling in the first month of the season, Hildy has been rolling. In May and June, he’s given up a .347 SLG and 3 ER in 20.2 IP. Reed can undoubtedly be effective contributor for the Twins over the next season and a half, but Minnesota would do well to move him to a less impactful spot in a bullpen which this year has very little margin for error.

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#2 Dave The Dastardly

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Posted 15 June 2018 - 09:43 AM

Clever headline and nice analysis.


#3 nicksaviking

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Posted 15 June 2018 - 09:56 AM

I think that diminishing velocity likely had a lot to do with why Reed looked like a steal despite his past results. If he was throwing 95-97 even with slightly inferior stats, he likely would have had other teams lining up to pay him more.

 

The Twins rightfully were applauded for making a ton of offseason moves, but nearly all were considered bargains. Now with all the data readily available to all teams it's not like the Twins can see something that other teams don't. I think the Twins are going to have to realize that waiting for bargains isn't the way to go, they're going to have to start overpaying for the guys who are truly difference makers.

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#4 LA VIkes Fan

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Posted 15 June 2018 - 10:06 AM

Let's be honest, Reed is one of the main reason we are 7 games under .500. He is 1-5 with 4 blown saves, no actual saves (really not important for an 8th inning guy), and 7 holds. You take back 3 of those 4 blown saves and the Twins are right under .500. 

 

It's too early to give up on Reed, but he can't continue to be the 8th inning guy. He has to go back to lower leverage innings and try to figure things out. I wonder if they got Belisle to handle those innings after his performance last year. 

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#5 Platoon

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Posted 15 June 2018 - 10:13 AM

It's very easy to say that Reed (and Pressly) are suffering from Molitor Abuse. As will Hildy if Molitor switches his focus to him. Then again it's easy to say that Reed is simply losing it. But it's more likely a combination of the two. An astute MOY would realize that one good Reed outing is better than two bad ones. This pattern of overuse is not recent, driven by the need to remain in 'the race'. He burned out relievers in 2015 also, in the race for the first draft choice. I think that the high pitch counts for SP, and the 100 pitch plateau is causing a lot of stress on bullpens, making decisions on how to distribute innings more complicated, and more impactful. And the implications of the decisions even more obvious.
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#6 Thrylos

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Posted 15 June 2018 - 10:22 AM

Velo is one thing, movement is another.If you look at the pitchf/x movement data, his fastball has flatten out this season, which makes it less effective, and I suspect is partially the reason for the decrease in GB.

 

As far as overuse goes, the previous 2 seasons he appeared in 49 and 48% of his teams' games respectively.So far this season he has appeared in 49% of the Twins' games.Not that different usage in the past.

 

Also, if you look at the past in 2016 he had an xFIP of 2.89, SIERA of 2.56, in 2017 3.85 FIP and 3.35 SIERA, which both are about where his ERA is at 2018.xFIP and SIERA being leading indicators (and sitting at 4.83 and 3.97 respectively right now) does not bode well for Reed.Maybe that reflects the size of the contract his signed, because he is more like a 6th or 7th inning pitcher.

 

The problem however is, the still he likely is the best pitcher in this pen, and that is no small reason why the Twins' pen is 11th in the AL in ERA, 13th in FIP, and 12th in WPA,tied for second for the most BS and L, just a game behind the leader in that category...

 

The pen has an 11-16 record, the rotation 18-20.And Reed has an 1-5 record.And, unlike for starters, L for relievers is a more meaningful metric.

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#7 jimbo92107

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Posted 15 June 2018 - 11:32 AM

It's the age-old story. Velocity x Command = Effectiveness. As V goes down, C better go up, or E will go down rapidly. Unfortunately, over Time, both V and C tend to go down, unless you add a new pitch, Pn. This gives

 

((VC)Pn)/T = E

 

Clearly Reed's V and C have been suffering, along with over-use, U+. Thus

 

((VC)Pn)/(T+U) = E

 

Age-old story.

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#8 RatherBeGolfing

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Posted 15 June 2018 - 12:11 PM

 

 

 

The problem however is, the still he likely is the best pitcher in this pen

 

This right here. This is why this is a problem. We just don't have enough bullpen depth where we can sit someone like Reed for a while and throw others out there to eat up some innings.

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#9 AceWrigley

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Posted 15 June 2018 - 12:25 PM

I think we do have enough bullpen depth, its just that some of it is in Rochester.

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#10 Shaitan

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Posted 15 June 2018 - 12:43 PM

Eh, pitchers go through hot/cold streaks. Not worried. (Though Molitor doesn't have to have him pitch 5 of every 7 days in tight situations as he works through it.)


#11 Tomj14

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Posted 15 June 2018 - 12:55 PM

 

I think we do have enough bullpen depth, its just that some of it is in Rochester.

I am not sure it is a depth issue.

Molitor needs to realize that the starters as a team are averaging less than 5 2/3, and he needs a plan every night for the bullpen to pitch 3 to 5 innings. IMO he doesn't go into the game with that plan and reacts to the game situation and puts Pressley and Reed in almost every game. Then Duke and Hildy fill the gaps.

Why have not have a plan for Magil to pitch the 5th and/or 6th in games Odorizzi and Romero start or something other than the starter gets in trouble in the 5th bring in Pressly to finish that inning start the 6th, matchup up Duke and Hildy for the 7th, Reed 8th every game and hope Rodney saves the game.

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#12 Franz

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Posted 15 June 2018 - 02:04 PM

During Reed's last outing, the 4-run eighth inning against Detroit, his fastball was clocking in at 89-90 mph while his slider was at 84-85. Not much difference in velocity between those pitches. Perhaps if Reed is losing fastball velocity, he needs to work on more separation between those pitch speeds to keep hitters off balance?

 

Does he have anything besides fastball/slider??

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#13 Fritzderkat

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Posted 15 June 2018 - 02:11 PM

After watching him the past couple of weeks I've come up with a nickname: Additive Reed: He makes their offense go.

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#14 Jacksson

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Posted 15 June 2018 - 02:37 PM

In Reed's most recent failure, his FB was at 90.
In Pressly's last bad outing he blew away the first batter - striking him out on 3 pitches that featured 97 MPH Heat. For whatever reason, he then went to curves and sliders which the opposition teed off on. Whether it was Pressly calling off the catcher's signs or the catcher calling a bad game: when you are throwing at 97 you keep feeding them that until they show that they can hit it. Don't back away from your best pitch trying to be cute.
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#15 h2oface

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Posted 15 June 2018 - 02:37 PM

Trevor Hildenberger just recently gave up another 2/2 inherited runners scored to add to the 7/7 stretch at the beginning of the year....... which is not thst far behind us.... to make 9 that I can remember without looking them up to see if there is more. 

 

Inherited runners scored, to me, is the most important stat to indicate the effectiveness of a reliever. It is, after all, supposed to be relief, and not let the runs be charged to someone else, and I still look OK with the other stats. I certainly don't think Hildenberger is the long term answer, but he is what we have.

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#16 stuck0

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Posted 15 June 2018 - 03:20 PM

Correction: Rockies signed Shaw, McGee, and Wade Davis this off season (not Holland).


#17 ashburyjohn

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Posted 15 June 2018 - 03:36 PM

Inherited runners scored, to me, is the most important stat to indicate the effectiveness of a reliever. It is, after all, supposed to be relief, and not let the runs be charged to someone else, and I still look OK with the other stats. I certainly don't think Hildenberger is the long term answer, but he is what we have.

MLB average so far this year is 32% of inherited runners score (last year 30%). The Twins team-wide are at 42% (last year 28%) - down at the bottom of the majors but tied with a few others. Hildenberger at 65% and Pressly at 42% are the main culprits. Reed's at 25% for the season.

 

It's kind of a crude stat, combining runners' locations and numbers of outs, but still indicates where some of our pain is coming from. A league-average rate would account for about 10 fewer runs, or pro-rated to a full season around 25 if we continued like this. By a common rule of thumb, that would be 2.5 losses - but given all the close games we've had, the leverage is for more than that. Maybe it's just Small Sample Size at this point in the season, but the trend needs to stop.

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#18 mikelink45

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Posted 15 June 2018 - 05:14 PM

I think that there is an issue with managing the new system - relief pitchers were not regularly schedule from inning 5 on and while a few bullpens have accumulated the arms to handle that demand, there are not enough to go around.I do not envy Molitor.If we need at least four RP per game, Taylor, Belisle, Magill, Duke, Pressly, Hildenberger, Rodney, Reed, and Pressly.We do not want to overuse them so which ones do we use.Put four together and then another four and then another four. No one is going to pitch 9 so we have to keep calling on them.Yes we have good arms in the minors, but to do it right we have to keep calling them up and sending them down.This era has created a problem, but no answer.I do not blame Molly for this. 

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#19 Jham

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Posted 16 June 2018 - 03:22 AM

I think that there is an issue with managing the new system - relief pitchers were not regularly schedule from inning 5 on and while a few bullpens have accumulated the arms to handle that demand, there are not enough to go around. I do not envy Molitor. If we need at least four RP per game, Taylor, Belisle, Magill, Duke, Pressly, Hildenberger, Rodney, Reed, and Pressly. We do not want to overuse them so which ones do we use. Put four together and then another four and then another four. No one is going to pitch 9 so we have to keep calling on them. Yes we have good arms in the minors, but to do it right we have to keep calling them up and sending them down. This era has created a problem, but no answer. I do not blame Molly for this.


But you just suggested a solution: take advantage of your player options to extend the number of available arms in your pen. We have a number of available major league capable arms who can be shuttled in and out and kept fresh. Problem is when they're called up, Molly doesn't use them anyway. More often them not, it seems they're sent back down to get some work rather than switch out for a fresh arm.
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#20 The_Phantom

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Posted 16 June 2018 - 05:41 AM

This isn’t a complicated issue at all. Molitor strictly adheres to the magic 100 pitch count notion, even if a starter is at something like 5.2 IP and only allowed one run. He very, very rarely stretches the starters beyond that. Whatever batter faces the 100th pitch, that’s the last batter the starter sees. So our bullpen, especially Reed, is horrendously overtaxed.