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Ted Schwerzler


There’s been no larger point of contention for the Minnesota Twins in 2019 than the bullpen. While the starting rotation has dealt with ebbs and flows, it was the relief corps that constantly faced criticism. After acquiring Sergio Romo and Sam Dyson at the deadline, the group improved. Brusdar Graterol has now debuted, and both Trevor May and Tyler Duffey have stepped up. It’s a September call up that could be among the most beneficial though.


Midway through the summer of 2018 Paul Molitor’s best and most trusted relief arm was Trevor Hildenberger. The side-armer owned a 2.80 ERA and .661 OPS against through his first 42 appearances a season ago. Unfortunately, those came in the Twins first 79 games. By all measures, Molitor had run him into the ground, and things went drastically off the tracks from there.


Hildenberger blew his first save on July 15 last year. He made 31 appearances from that point forward totaling a 9.64 ERA and 9.95 OPS against. Opposing batters teed off on his pitches and it carried over to the 2019 season. Starting the year in Rocco Baldelli’s pen, Trevor owned an 8.36 ERA through 14.0 IP before being optioned to Triple-A Rochester. The ineffectiveness continued there, and he was eventually put on the shelf.


Fast forward a few months and back to full health, Minnesota’s former high leverage on was on the track back to the bigs. Across eight post IL appearances (12.1 IP), Hildenberger owned a 0.73 ERA and .315 OPS against. He struck out ten batters and walked one while giving up just a single run on six hits. That’s obviously an incredibly small sample size, and almost half of that work came in the Gulf Coast League, but if we want encouraging signs then this is it.


There’s a lot we don’t yet know, and Baldelli doesn’t have much runway to figure things out. We can assume that Hildenberger will get something less than 15 innings the rest of the way to prove his value. What we do know is that this is a guy who has gotten it done for the Twins in the biggest of spots previously. Adding that type of arm to a Postseason run could be something substantial, and completely out of the question even a month ago.


With a lineup as good as Minnesota has, they’ll never find themselves out of a game. Now having significant options on the mound, they also find themselves in a much better position to make a run into October that had some serious uncertainties prior to the trade deadline. Adding pieces from outside of the organization was always going to happen. Arms emerging from within, and especially those who have previously shown a strong ability, is a testament to hard work and internal development.


If Hildenberger is truly back for Minnesota, that’s something everyone can get on board with.


For more from . Follow @tlschwerz


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Hildenberger shouldn't be anywhere near a 2019 playoff roster.  Give him some very low leverage outings to see if he has adjusted his frisbees to a league that has him figured out, but that's about it.

Yeah, I'm not sure that's accurate. This is a guy who previously was a very good reliever. He needs to prove it, but I'd give him every opportunity the next month to do so.

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There have been a number of side arm and submarine pitchers who have had quality careers. That doesn't mean Hildenberger will be one of them.


I hope he is. I hope he figures it out and the "good" Hildenberger we have seen in the past becomes the guy we see going forward. But for 2020 as I see no way he suddenly becomes a fixture for the post season this year.


Whether it be mechanics or teams adapting, the truth is we've seen a pair of, roughly, half seasons, where he has looked very good and a pair of half seasons where he just looks awful.


One way or another, I'm betting he is back next ST. But push is going to come to shove in 2020 as far as his Twins career. But September will only be an audition as to his return next year.

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Hildy is a lovable gimmick pitcher. And generally (statistically) gimmick pitchers have a short shelf life. Sooner or late that flat floater has to cross the plate. All pitchers need to hit spots, but his style allows for a very small margin of error.

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Here's hoping Hildy gets his career back on track. Here's hoping he can pitch in a few low-leverage situations this year to get some confidence back as well.


Here's also hoping the Twins wait until 2020 Spring Training to even consider letting Hildy contribute to this team in a serious way.

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