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Minnesota’s bullpen has been a mess to start the year, but Rocco Baldelli is going to need to rely on arms with some important up-coming series. Who is in the bullpen circle of trust?

1. Taylor Rogers
Much like in 2019, Taylor Rogers has been one of the few options Baldelli can trust in the late innings of games. At season’s start, it seemed like Rogers would be used in more of a set-up role with Colomé getting more of the closing opportunities. Until Colomé can figure it out, Rogers will be used as the closer and he has the team’s highest level of trust.

2. Hansel Robles
Robles was brought in to help add veteran depth to the bullpen and he has made a good impression so far this year. His xBA ranks in the 82nd percentile and his wOBA ranks in the top 7% of the league. One of the biggest changes for him this season is his pitch usage. From 2015-18, he used his changeup less than 10% of the time. So far in 2021, he has used his changeup over 50% with his fastball usage dropping from 45% in 2020 to 31% in 2021.

3. Tyler Duffey
Duffey has been one of the baseball’s best relievers over the last two seasons. In fact, MLB Network had him in their top-10 relievers entering the season. So far this year, he hasn’t looked like his dominating self as he ranks in the 24th percentile or lower in nearly every Statcast metric. Baldelli still shows trust in Duffey with the hope that he can make some adjustments moving forward.

4. Cody Stashak
Stashak is striking out batters at the highest rate of his career with a K% north of 36% that ranks him in the top 6% of the league. On the other hand, batters are barreling up the ball against him quite regularly. His 20 barrel% is in the bottom 1% of the league and it is 6.5 percentage points higher than his previous career high.

5. Jorge Alcala
Alcala might have the best raw stuff in the Twins bullpen and an argument can be made for him being given more high leverage spots as the season progresses. One of the toughest things for Alcala has been his inability to get left-handed hitters out on a consistent basis. For his career, lefties have a 1.178 OPS against him in 55 plate appearances. If he wants to earn more high leverage appearances, he needs to improve against southpaws.  

6. Caleb Thielbar
With Rogers moving into the closer role, Thielbar will be critical for when the team is facing lefties before the ninth inning. Since rejoining the Twins last year, he has posted a 2.53 ERA with 44 strikeouts in 32 innings.

7. St. Paul Train (Derek Law, Luke Farrell, Devin Smeltzer)
The Twins will likely continue to shuffle through players at the backend of the bullpen, especially if a player pitches multiple innings the previous day. These players aren’t going to be relied on for high leverage situations, so there doesn’t need to be a lot of trust in using them.

8. Alexander Colomé
Colomé’s start to the season has been disastrous. Until he shows signs of improvement, the teams should have little trust in him.

How would you rank the bullpen by level of trust? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

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Considering you've ranked them by trust. How about if we grade them ourselves:

 

1. Taylor Rogers: D (He has got the one save but he has been lit up like the 4th of July ever since. He's not durable and for some reason Baldelli forgets this every two weeks or so.)

2. Hansel Robles: B- (He's actually performed adequately. I don't think that Baldelli has marked him as his second most trusted; rather. I think he is trusted only slightly more than Alcala.)

3. Tyler Duffey: D (He showed signs of snapping out of it only to get hammered once again.)

4. Cody Stashak: F+ (I've always thought he was "living on a prayer" to be honest. He seems to be a mediocre pitcher with one decent season. The "+" has been given in the cases when he has some control over his pitches, which is only half the time nowadays.)

5. Jorge Alcala: C- (He hasn't been trusted at all and should be ranked last on the trust meter. He is rarely brought in during high leverage situations, which means he is rarely brought in because the Twins are perpetually in the process of being in high-leverage situations or converting comfortable leads into high-leverage situations. I'd like to see him more often if he is supposed to be the future. The lack of trust may actually have an effect on his confidence.)

6. Caleb Thielbar: D+ (He has good movement on his pitches, but everything I saw (granted it was limited) was up--not by design so hitters were swinging from their heels at his pitches. He certainly didn't look very effective to me.)

7. St. Paul Train WRECK (Derek Law, Luke Farrell, Devin Smeltzer): I'm not sure where Dobnak is in all of this, but I'll grade him as well.

Farrell, Law: F (I do have some sympathy however. Oddly, they were both put into very difficult circumstances. I'm not trying to make excuses for them but they were both put into tie ball games in the extra frame just because there were some lefties coming to the plate? That's rough.)

Smeltzer: C (We haven't really seen that much of Smeltzer so it is a little hard to grade him with confidence. I feel he is about a "C" meaning he can handle some situations well but not others. He's in the same category as Dobnak.)

Dobnak: C- (I was tempted to grad Dobnak more harshly but I really think he wasn't used in the way I would expect. Because Dobnak is really not a strikeout pitcher, coming into games with men on base is not really going to help him IMHO. I'd like him to come into games at the start of an inning.)

8. Alexander Colomé: D+ (Colomé was a complete disaster when he was the MAN; however, since that time, he has pitched surprisingly well. Since the season is sinking faster than the Lusitania, I'd be willing to try him as the closer once more.)

 

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9 hours ago, Aerodeliria said:

Considering you've ranked them by trust. How about if we grade them ourselves:

 

1. Taylor Rogers: D (He has got the one save but he has been lit up like the 4th of July ever since. He's not durable and for some reason Baldelli forgets this every two weeks or so.)

2. Hansel Robles: B- (He's actually performed adequately. I don't think that Baldelli has marked him as his second most trusted; rather. I think he is trusted only slightly more than Alcala.)

3. Tyler Duffey: D (He showed signs of snapping out of it only to get hammered once again.)

4. Cody Stashak: F+ (I've always thought he was "living on a prayer" to be honest. He seems to be a mediocre pitcher with one decent season. The "+" has been given in the cases when he has some control over his pitches, which is only half the time nowadays.)

5. Jorge Alcala: C- (He hasn't been trusted at all and should be ranked last on the trust meter. He is rarely brought in during high leverage situations, which means he is rarely brought in because the Twins are perpetually in the process of being in high-leverage situations or converting comfortable leads into high-leverage situations. I'd like to see him more often if he is supposed to be the future. The lack of trust may actually have an effect on his confidence.)

6. Caleb Thielbar: D+ (He has good movement on his pitches, but everything I saw (granted it was limited) was up--not by design so hitters were swinging from their heels at his pitches. He certainly didn't look very effective to me.)

7. St. Paul Train WRECK (Derek Law, Luke Farrell, Devin Smeltzer): I'm not sure where Dobnak is in all of this, but I'll grade him as well.

Farrell, Law: F (I do have some sympathy however. Oddly, they were both put into very difficult circumstances. I'm not trying to make excuses for them but they were both put into tie ball games in the extra frame just because there were some lefties coming to the plate? That's rough.)

Smeltzer: C (We haven't really seen that much of Smeltzer so it is a little hard to grade him with confidence. I feel he is about a "C" meaning he can handle some situations well but not others. He's in the same category as Dobnak.)

Dobnak: C- (I was tempted to grad Dobnak more harshly but I really think he wasn't used in the way I would expect. Because Dobnak is really not a strikeout pitcher, coming into games with men on base is not really going to help him IMHO. I'd like him to come into games at the start of an inning.)

8. Alexander Colomé: D+ (Colomé was a complete disaster when he was the MAN; however, since that time, he has pitched surprisingly well. Since the season is sinking faster than the Lusitania, I'd be willing to try him as the closer once more.)

 

I gave this comment the 'sad' icon.  That isn't because I disagree with the comment, rather, I agree and the status of the Twins bullpen is just plain 'sad.'

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Watching the Twins bullpen woes continue, night after night, I can picture Rocco spewing out the famous words of Richard Gere in An Officer and a Gentleman....."I got nowhere else to go!"

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Wow, if Duffy is our 3rd most trustworthy reliever we are in some deep do–do. He has been awful. While I'm not sure whether these rankings are what you think management does think or what you think management should think, I would definitely put Alcala ahead of Duffy as a reliever in whom we should have some faith and trust. I see it as:

A good quality backend reliever – we don't have any of those.

A Small gap

Rogers - Close, but no cigar. Who knows, maybe he could become that good quality reliever he once was.

A pretty good sized gap

Robles - B- guy who is not that trustworthy but might return to form.

Alcala - B- guy now but might improve if given more opportunity.

The Grand Canyon 

Duffy - A great example of why you do need to get in shape even to play baseball. Think low carb diet.

Colome - Come on, he can't be this bad based on prior years, can he?

Theilbar - Meh. Mediocre and doesn't really belong on a good team (so he probably does belong on the Twins).

The Mariana Trench 

Everybody Else.

 

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When I saw the title I thought you were ranking how you trusted each pitcher, not the order you trust them compared to each other.  I would agree with your rank, but I have zero trust for them right now.  I assume every pen guy will blow whatever lead we have. 

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I appreciate the OP very much. I'm just not sure how to rank vast disappointment and complete breakdown. The thing is, how could EVERYONE be having a disappointing/poor season all at once?

Rogers has his velocity back up and has shown some wicked stuff. But then be grooves one or someone inside-outs a good pitch and you hand slap your forehead.

Robles has largely looked OK, but has been inconsistent.

How does Stashak suddenly have huge K numbers but no control? And he's always been a solid control pitcher previously.

Relatively young and no injuries, what cliff did Duffey jump off of. For that matter, Colome has never been about pure velocity and doesn't seem to have lost any. So how are either of these guys so bad all of a sudden?

I get Alcala is still developing. But how can his velocity and slider...both wicked...be so bad against LH hitters?

I didn't dislike the Colome signing at all when it happened. But I still would have paid a little more to keep May instead. IMO, the Twins didn't see anyone giving him $7M. I know I didn't, and I even really like the guy. I think the Mets may have been the only team that would have done it, and they did.

But here's the rub, other than May, everyone else the Twins let walk has been hurt or aweful. There is an easy list to compile of about 6-8 additional arms they could have signed, or were in on, and all of them are hurt or pitching poorly!

Someone please remind me, all of this taken in to account, how the FO screwed up? Who should they have onboard they don't now? And again, how has EVERYONE seemingly collapsed at once?

Someone, please, bring in a KFC bucket sacrifice to break thjs curse!

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8. LaTortuga. He doesn't waste time. Has a variety of speeds. Spectre of eephus haunts batters.

9. Ball girl or bullpen catcher or peanut vendor.

10. Can we just use a tee? Or find a little league coach to lob them up there?

11. Colome, I guess.

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