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WARNE: How Can the Minnesota Twins Address their Relief Woes?

Brandon Warne



This is an excerpt from an article which originates at Zone Coverage. Click here to read it in full.


It’s not hard to find people with the opinion that the Minnesota Twins need to make a move to address their bullpen.


Those people aren’t exactly wrong, either.


As of this writing, the Twins are ninth in the AL with a bullpen ERA of 4.73. They’re also ninth in WHIP (1.39) and 11th in strikeouts per nine innings (8.3).


Each of those numbers, on their surface, are not terribly exciting. But consider the plight facing the current AL reliever — the average marks right now of each of those is 4.51, 1.34 and 8.7.


The Twins are more or less average when it comes to unadjusted stats, and even better when they’re adjusted.


Peeking at Fangraphs for adjusted figures paints a bit more of a favorable picture. Twins relievers have combined for 1.0 fWAR, the fifth-best mark in the AL. In other words, they’ve pitched better in some higher-leverage spots, while outings like Chase De Jong and Andrew Vasquez’s against the New York Mets have sullied otherwise decent results from this bunch.


But no matter how it’s sliced, it’s still not indefensible to suggest the Twins could use some more help out in the bullpen.


Some of that help showed up on Friday in the form of Matt Magill, who was activated off the disabled list to take the roster spot of Kohl Stewart, who was returned to Rochester after his start in Houston on Wednesday night.


Curiously, the Twins also outrighted Chase De Jong off the 40-man roster, leaving an open spot with no real move on the immediate horizon. The smart bet is that a reliever will eventually fill that role, but let’s take a look at how the Twins could end up making an addition in the bullpen in the near future.


Promote internally


Two relievers who could easily get the call who aren’t currently on the 40-man roster are Mike Morin and Jake Reed. Morin has big-league experience with the Angels, Royals and Mariners — 3.32 FIP in 174 innings — and a baseball contact recently told Zone Coverage that he was the “best pitcher for Rochester right now.”


Morin has not allowed an earned run in 9.1 innings with the Red Wings with nine strikeouts, two walks and a WHIP of 0.86. Morin turns 28 next week.


Reed has no MLB experience, but has been terrific in Triple-A the past four seasons: 2.16 ERA, 8.9 K/9 and 1.13 WHIP in 100 innings with the Red Wings.



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It is kind of early to make any greay judgements on the Twins bullpen, or many other facets of the team.  With about a third of their schedule against 2 of the worst teams in baseball it is hard to have a clear picture. They have had only one blown save.  The pitchers used in high leverage situations have all performed except for Mejia. .  The back end is not as lights out as one would like.  The front end is not as deep as one would like. Almost every team has that problem.

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Looking at the bullpen its the last 2 spots that have dragged us down. I think Mejia will be fine. We just need to find someone to adequately fill the last slot and we will be fine. We have lots of internal options at this point and as much as I would like to sign Kimbral, He costs a lot more than should be spent for that last slot. Even if he is bringing another elite arm to the pen.

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I would imagine that the Twins will promote some internal options such as those mentioned above before looking outside. However, especially with Fernando Romero not running away with his originally-expected key role in the 'pen and Mejía struggling, the depth in the organization is modest. There are guys that could come up and are worth a look, but it's hard to imagine those guys pushing the needle too much.


Sooner or later, I believe the Twins will look to the trade block for relief help, but it could still a bit early for that yet. However, the Twins have the prospects to land a good pitcher. The sooner you make a move, the better. These games count.

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The bullpen is 6th in MLB for holds and tied for 1st with just 1 blown save. They also come in at 5th overall in terms of WAR.


The ERA of 4.63 is ranked 20th for the season but getting better. In the last 2 weeks, we are 15th with a 4.08 ERA more than a half a run per game better.

This is a good unit that has had a couple poor early performances in the bottom.  I wouldn't say we have bullpen "woes". Two bullpen pieces are injured and we still have Duffey, Vasquez, Romero etc in AAA as depth.  As long as the big 4 stay healthy, this is a good group.


I don't feel this bullpen needs addressing. Especially considering it's May 1st and only 4 of them have pitched more than 10 innnings.

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