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Bullpen Options



First let me say I realize that this article will probably disappoint most fans because I am going to list out all of the internal options the Twins have versus trading away prospects. One of the biggest reason I feel this way is that for all the groaning I read in the comments section about our bullpen, it has been really good for a vast majority of the time. Some of the fungible pieces that the Twins have rotated thru the bottom of the bullpen such as Austin Adams, Chase DeJong and Andrew Vasquez have given up a lot of runs. Those 3 alone have given up 12 runs in only 3.2 innings. Taking just those 3 out gives the bullpen a 3.59 ERA. The top10 pieces in the bullpen which I list as B Parker, T Rogers, T May, R Harper, M Magill, M Morin, T Duffey, F Romero, T Hildenberger and Z Littell have combined for an ERA 2.92 of over 130.1 innings. They have allowed 119 hits and 40 walks for a whip of 1.22 and struck out 133. Those are all excellent numbers. It shows we don't need to rush into a deal and give away prospects for relievers. Reason number 2 is my list below. These are all internal options who should be given a chance.


1. Cody Stashak

Cody is domination AA right now and is deserving of a promotion to AAA any day. He has 35Ks against just 3 walks in 23 innings and only has allowed 14 hits. Cody basically pitched the entire season last year in AA also with excellent numbers. He's ready for AAA and could soon be ready for the majors. The prospect handbook says his FB sits in low 90s with good life and has a good CB and changeup.


2. Kohl Stewart

The Twins may have the same idea as me when it comes to trying some of these starters have been decent but not outstanding at AA and AAA and see if they can squeeze just a little better stuff out of them by moving them to the bullpen. Zack Littell came up and looked really good last night. The same could happen for Stewart. Stewart numbers have been OK as a starter at AAA, 71.1 IP between last year and this with an ERA of 4.13 on 75 hits allowed and 28 BB. His K/9 is 7.95. His FB sits in low 90's but he can hit 96,97. Only having to pitch an inning or 2 should allow those upper 90's FB to become more consistent.


3. Lewis Thorpe

Thorpedo has looked very good in his last 3 outings. In his last 16 innings he's given up 5 runs on 15 hits with while his K/BB is 19 to 1. His FB sits 92-94 but he could also get a bump by moving to BP. He also would provide a second lefty.


4. Brusdar Graterol

I think there is a very good reason that the Twins are limiting his IP so far this year. In looking at the boxscores it looks like Graterol has been on an 80 pitch limit in games. This has limited his IP to an average of 5 per game. I think the Twins have every intention of Graterol pitching at Target Field later this season. That could be in a 5th starter role to replace Pineda or replacing someone that is injured. Or he could take the Johan Santana route and get his feet wet in big leagues as a reliever. Out of the bullpen Graterol would most likely sit at 99/100. His changeup and slider are good pitches. He would be a dynamic weapon out of the pen in Sept and Oct. We know speed plays up when the weather turns cold in Oct. I doubt it is fun to hit a 100MPH FB when it is 45 degrees in Minneapolis in Oct.


There are other starters who this might work for such as Jorge Alcala and Devin Smeltzer. A few other relievers who might be options are Jovani Moran, Tom Hackimer, who has been lights out this year and was recently promoted to AA and Jake Reed.


Moving a few of these starters to the bullpen for a playoff run is not a permanent switch. I absolutely Brusdar starting games next season but if he can help us compete in the playoffs this season by pitching out of the pen I am all for it.


With all of these options I would love too see a few of them get a shot before we start shipping out prospects to rent a reliever.


With all of this said I am still absolutely hoping the Twins sign Kimbrel. Not just make a run but outbid everyone for his services. After next weekend it costs us nothing but money. Even if you have to go 3 years and almost 60 mil it is worth it. The Twins have very little salary on the books in the next 3 years. They can absolutely afford to pay Kimbrel 18 mil a year for the next 3 seasons and still make a run at Gerrit Cole in the offseason.


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Kimbrel could make a lot of money over the next 5 months. Two questions: 1) Will he sign a 1 year deal? 2) Can he get in top pitching shape by August, since he has missed the first third of the season?

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