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In Win-Now Mode, Twins Keeping Graterol in Bullpen

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#41 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 21 January 2020 - 11:08 AM

It's about what the body is conditioned to handle. Wainwright, prior to pitching as a reliever his rookie year, had thrown 160+ IP in the minors three times.

"Let the young man throw the ball" is simply not a blueprint the Twins can follow with Graterol. They need to be extremely thoughtful and careful about his usage and strain level. This is a vital asset to their future, no matter his role.


So how is he ever going to be stretched out to become a starter if they don't start now?

If he's dominant out of the bullpen this year, are you really going to send him back to the minors for two years so that he can build up his innings to start again?

I'm not buying the argument that he can always go back to starting later.

#42 jorgenswest

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Posted 21 January 2020 - 11:19 AM

Questions that come to mind...

Will he be able to really work on his change up as a reliever in the majors?
Will he get consistent work?
What went wrong with the Romero shift to the pen? Anything to learn there?
Who are we developing for the 2021 rotation?
Will his limited innings be more valuable in relief than starting?

I might have more confidence had Romero been a success.
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#43 Richard Swerdlick

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Posted 21 January 2020 - 11:37 AM

Great article. What a bullpen we are going to have this year !!

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#44 spycake

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Posted 21 January 2020 - 11:39 AM

 

Worked for Johan, it can work for Brusdar.

 

Santana spent 4 years, age 21 to 24, working primarily out of the bullpen, while starting more games each year.

 

His innings ramped up from 86 to 158 over that time.

 

Games started from 5 to 18.

 

When he moved over to full time starting at 25, he won the Cy Young.

 

Let him spot start once in a while. May as well be the beneficiary of that arm while he gradually increases his innings.

 

Johan's usage wasn't a development plan -- he was a Rule 5 pick. He threw 160 innings in the minors in 1999, then only 86 the next year in a full season of MLB. That wasn't really about development, or winning ballgames -- it was just hiding him on the roster.

 

2001, Johan was injured for much of the season, so he was limited to 43 innings. But he was still pretty mediocre at this point too.

 

2002, he had his breakthrough performance -- and he threw 163.1 innings for the year, combined minors/majors/postseason -- basically the same as the following year, 166.

 

So the Johan example doesn't really say anything about holding back Graterol for years, if he's actually healthy and effective. (At least not holding him back much.)

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#45 Nick Nelson

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Posted 21 January 2020 - 12:16 PM

 

So how is he ever going to be stretched out to become a starter if they don't start now?

If he's dominant out of the bullpen this year, are you really going to send him back to the minors for two years so that he can build up his innings to start again?

I'm not buying the argument that he can always go back to starting later.

I think we need to stop thinking about "reliever" in the traditional sense. Strategies are changing these days. Take a look at how the Rays have used Ryan Yarbrough over the past couple seasons (I think he was referenced earlier in this thread).

 

Last year Yarbrough operated primarily as a reliever in the first half, often throwing multiple innings, and then moved in to the rotation after the AS break. Finished around 140 IP (which is probably Graterol's cap). In 2018, 32 of his 38 appearances came in relief but he still threw 150 innings.

 

There's no reason to assume Graterol will be used strictly as a one-inning reliever. I suspect that (barring another SP addition) the Twins will run a number of bullpen games in the early going to fill the rotation gaps, with multiple guys throwing multiple innings. It's entirely plausible he could throw over 100 IP while being used strictly as a reliever. 

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#46 spycake

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Posted 21 January 2020 - 12:53 PM

 

I think we need to stop thinking about "reliever" in the traditional sense. Strategies are changing these days. Take a look at how the Rays have used Ryan Yarbrough over the past couple seasons (I think he was referenced earlier in this thread).

 

Last year Yarbrough operated primarily as a reliever in the first half, often throwing multiple innings, and then moved in to the rotation after the AS break. Finished around 140 IP (which is probably Graterol's cap). In 2018, 32 of his 38 appearances came in relief but he still threw 150 innings.

 

There's no reason to assume Graterol will be used strictly as a one-inning reliever. I suspect that (barring another SP addition) the Twins will run a number of bullpen games in the early going to fill the rotation gaps, with multiple guys throwing multiple innings. It's entirely plausible he could throw over 100 IP while being used strictly as a reliever. 

If they are citing "physical routine" as a reason here, then I suspect they may not be planning to push Graterol for that many innings / that long of outings out of the pen, which would presumably pose the similar physical risks as starting. Keep in mind, Yarborough was a college draftee debuting in MLB at age 26, with 157 IP in the minors the previous season. (And he wasn't much of a prospect anymore either, which meant less risk for the Rays using him in this manner.)


#47 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 21 January 2020 - 12:56 PM

I think we need to stop thinking about "reliever" in the traditional sense. Strategies are changing these days. Take a look at how the Rays have used Ryan Yarbrough over the past couple seasons (I think he was referenced earlier in this thread).

Last year Yarbrough operated primarily as a reliever in the first half, often throwing multiple innings, and then moved in to the rotation after the AS break. Finished around 140 IP (which is probably Graterol's cap). In 2018, 32 of his 38 appearances came in relief but he still threw 150 innings.

There's no reason to assume Graterol will be used strictly as a one-inning reliever. I suspect that (barring another SP addition) the Twins will run a number of bullpen games in the early going to fill the rotation gaps, with multiple guys throwing multiple innings. It's entirely plausible he could throw over 100 IP while being used strictly as a reliever.


I can buy that in theory, but have the Twins ever used a reliever in such a fashion?

Also, with Hill and Pineda out to start the year, why not let Graterol start until Pineda comes back, then move him to the pen?

#48 4twinsJA

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Posted 21 January 2020 - 12:59 PM

5 starters were only Twins pitchers with over 70 IP last year. Will need to get creative for Graterol to get 100+ IP in bullpen this year. I like opener option, either Graterol as opener or paired to follow opener. Pitch every 5 games, limit to 3-4 IP/ 75-80 pitches. Does it make sense for 2 pitchers to pitch 3-4 innings every 5 days and get 110-120 IP for year or for 4 pitchers to get 50-60 IP for year using traditionally from bullpen?

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#49 jimbo92107

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Posted 21 January 2020 - 01:21 PM

As long as this plan is the product of intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, and not the desperate lurchings of panicked pants wetters, then I'm okay wid it. Just don't do to this guy what they did to Trevor May. 

 

Graterol is a good kid that can flip the ball up there at decent speed. I think he trusts Twins management to chart a smart course for his career. Let's hope that trusting Twins management isn't a foolish move, as it sometimes has been in the past. 

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#50 KFEY93

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Posted 21 January 2020 - 01:32 PM

 

This is the best case scenario in MHO! Hopefully by the playoffs he can be that Big Bad Bull in the back of the pen. The fella that comes out and both teams know the game is over, Mariano Rivera style.

Kid has a long way to go before he can even be close to considered that reliable. As in years and years of consistency. 


#51 by jiminy

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Posted 21 January 2020 - 01:33 PM

If he can work on his secondary pitches between appearances, fine. I don't think he'll reach his ceiling until he does that. But providing useful innings now, while working on his changeup etc. on the sidelines, could keep his options open to still start later.


#52 LylesCrocodiles

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Posted 21 January 2020 - 01:50 PM

There is certainly a way to use him as a reliever and as a starter/reliever/opener/primary in 2020. I just want the plan to include Graterol getting a chance to earn late season starts. Even to be a 3-4 inning opener. And the only way to do that is to have him pitch for multiple innings when he does appear this season. Let’s see what he can do. Why limit his opportunities if he shows he’s your best option at developing a future 1-2 SP?

#53 jkcarew

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Posted 21 January 2020 - 02:01 PM

Somehow there is the impression that "innings limits" is what got Graterol into the predicament he's in. And that simply "stretching him out" is the solution.

 

No. Last year, the organization was more than willing to stretch Graterol out. But he broke down...just like he did the year before, except even earlier. It's simply not wise...not realistic to think you're getting much more than 100 innings out of Graterol...regardless of what you "want" him to be. So...how best to use the 100 innings this year...that's the question. Starting?...maybe get him to 120 innings?..some of which undoubtedly would be in the minors? That could be very useful in the first-half of the year, to be sure. Or put him in the mlb bullpen, maybe 'open' him a few times, and worry about the possibilities of converting him to a starter in a theoretical future year?

 

Given the current window/opportunity, it's hard to argue with a plan that makes those innings available to the major-league club throughout the year...and maximizes the likelihood that they're available in the post-season, as well.

 

 

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#54 Doctor Gast

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Posted 21 January 2020 - 02:01 PM

 

One result of committing Graterol to the bullpen this year would be the increased chance that Romero will not be in the Twins' bullpen, making him by far the most likely to be included in any trade the Twins make. Young, mid-nineties velocity, some experience and on his last option. I would think many clubs would want to take a flyer on him.

 

As for Graterol, the velocity is nice, but he doesn't get as many swings and misses as other guys who don't throw it as hard (SSS, I know). I like that the team is playing to win, but I wonder if eliminating a possible ace for this decade is worth having his stuff in the bullpen this year.

You reminded me of another reason to hold off a little on Graterol. I think a change of scenery might be good & well for Romero, who has a lot of potential, but as long as he`s a Twin he should have every opportunity to prove himself, his last year & increase trade value or maybe he could break out


#55 DocBauer

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Posted 21 January 2020 - 02:19 PM

Count me as those disappointed he won't be starting. I felt if his stuff, secondary stuff especially, looked good out of ST, he could/should be in the mix for an opener/primary role and then transition him the smartest way possible to whatever role and IP made sense.

If his stuff didn't look quite right, then let him continue to work on his secondary stuff at Rochester and bring him up when necessary/ready.

I applaud the aggressive nature of the FO to use their greatest talents. And I guess, even though Johnson speaks of him coming out of the pen, we don't really know what that will entail. He could easily be used in a "primary" or mid/long relief mode initially
This allows him to stretch out and work on/use his secondary offerings without putting too big of an IP demand on him.

As someone else said, I just hope they have a real plan for him and not just stick him in the pen for single IP stints.
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#56 Alex Schieferdecker

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Posted 21 January 2020 - 02:25 PM

I'm definitely one of those people who is terrified at the prospect of his arm falling off. This course of action seems smart to me, both for the team and the player. Graterol is already an impact arm in the bullpen. He can get major-league innings, while working up his stamina by throwing multi-inning relief appearances.

 

Every year, you reevaluate and see if he's ready to start. But if not, it's no sweat, he's already very useful to the team, and there's no shame in a career as an elite reliever.

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#57 DanFordWasTheMan

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Posted 21 January 2020 - 02:47 PM

Hi all, been a long-time reader and figured I should break the seal and post some, too. Apologies in advance for any bad formatting.

 

I personally like the Graterol bullpen move, especially the clarity of it given the past Twins' tendency to waffle, which I never believe helps young players.

 

Beyond the Santana comparisons, I think of Sale's transition. Yes, he was a reliever turned starter, but it's not unthinkable to believe the innings trajectory and path couldn't be similar. 

 

Age 21 season: 23 innings as a rp, 1.93 ERA

Age 22 season: 71 innings as a rp, 2.79 ERA

Age 23 season: 192 innings as a starter, 3.05 ERA, All-Star and 6th in CY voting

 

We'd all be pretty happy--and patient--for that path, I'd imagine.

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#58 Diesel

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Posted 21 January 2020 - 02:51 PM

In 1974, Mike Marshall threw for over 200 innings out of the pen for the Dodgers. NOT saying the Twins should do that, but it is possible for Graterol to push 100 innings
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#59 Gary_Wayne_Guy

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Posted 21 January 2020 - 03:00 PM

 

Great move to maximize what we can get out of him this year. Also demonstrates they are in win-now mode and not worrying about service time considerations with a guy they know can help them win right now. Would not mind seeing him get some “opener” time early in the year while we wait on Pineda to return so he can get 2-3 inning stints on a regular schedule, and then later in the year a late inning bullpen role.

 

^^This.I would really like to see Graterol used as an opener early and often to get some inning load.At some point would like to see him as a starter, but this year lets use him in the pen.Let him get 2-3 inning stints for first few months and once Pineada is back use him as a high velo arm at the back of the pen.

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#60 Ruven

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Posted 21 January 2020 - 06:18 PM

What do I know? Nobody is going to take my word for what should be done. But Earl Weaver, who knew a thing or two about building up a team and player development, said the best place for a young pitcher you expect things from is long relief.

Putting that into a modern usage context, I think Earl would say the best place for a young stud is first man out of the bullpen, typically in the 6th nowadays in an Odorizzi game. And if the kid throws a good inning give him another, and another if he can handle it.

That’s what I would do with Graterol.
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